Miss S'pore 'feels like a superstar'

FRIENDLY: Miss Rathi Menon (above left) with other Miss Universe pageant contestants. - PHOTO: AFP

FRIENDLY: Miss Rathi Menon (above left) with other Miss Universe pageant contestants. - PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/RATHI MENON

With 88 beautiful women from across the globe vying for the coveted Miss Universe title, a heated competition is to be expected.

But forget cat fights, backstabbing and strained ties.

Miss Universe Singapore Rathi Menonsaid it has been a friendly affair so far among her fellow contestants.

In fact, they are often generous with advice and are always willing to help their fellow contestants. 

The 1.73m-tall beauty recalled her experiences getting ready backstage for the preliminary round, which took place on Wednesday.

"When I was practising the catwalk, Miss South Africa, Miss Spain and Miss Serbia told me things like, 'Smile more, I love that smile of yours,'" said Miss Rathi, 24.


"Miss Slovak Republic helped me with my pose. She gives valuable advice because she has been modelling for years and runs a modelling agency."

Miss Rathi, a pharmaceutical technician at Mount Pleasant Vet Centre, arrived in Miami on New Year's Day to settle in before the rehearsals and other pageant activities kicked in.

The tight security around the contestants was something she had to get used to.

"We're split into groups and there is high security at all times. I truly feel like a superstar and am enjoying the attention and limelight," she said.

While in Miami, she shares a hotel room with Miss Ukraine Diana Harkusha, 20, whom she describes as bubbly, cheerful and neat.

Miss Rathi said the biggest challenge of sharing a living space with a fellow contestant is skirting around their luggage - at least eight in total - as they make their way around the room getting ready for the day.

"This has definitely tested my organisation skills. I'm usually quite neat, but this is harder because you have to remember what is in which luggage because of the limited space and time you have to get ready. Miss Ukraine is a lot better at it than I am," she said.

Apart from the competition experience, she singled out a highlight of the trip - a prized selfie with US mogul and Miss Universe Organization co-owner Donald Trump at a golf event.

"He is so cool, friendly and nice. He came to see us during a friendly golf competition among the girls. When I posted that photo, everyone back in Singapore went crazy," she recalled.

With the finals happening tomorrow (US time), Miss Rathi can hardly contain her excitement.

She cites Miss Venezuela, Miss USA and Miss Philippines as her favourites, adding that the Asian competition this year is strong.

Her hopes for tomorrow (US time)?

"I'm happy to be on stage, and I think I stand a good chance. Of course, I'm hoping for the best, but I will be happy with the final decision," she said.