Miss Universe Singapore 2017: Cara Neo
She is not just an entrepreneur and business owner, but also a full-time professional mermaid.
Cara Neo, 25, founded Singapore's first mermaid school and has an underwater alter ego named Syrena, who performs at events.
But things have not always gone so swimmingly for Cara, who had a few near-fatal experiences in pools and the ocean when she was younger.
Her fear of drowning stayed with her till she was an adult, but all that changed when she visited Hawaii last year, where she was in the ocean every day shooting for her portfolio.
During one dive, she heard the "rich, resonant sound" of whale song through the water.
She told The New Paper: "From where I was underwater, I absolutely forgot I was holding my breath, and just basked in (its) assurance and beauty... (It) ultimately banished the vestiges of my fear.
"My experiences drove me to place a huge emphasis on water safety and (building) confidence in children and adults."
Cara will be opening a princess academy by the end of the year.
She said: "I am happiest when I have the opportunity to interact with children and to instil in them a sense of awe through creative and imaginative play.
"I count myself incredibly blessed to have a career I can pursue with all the passion of a hobby, and I never want that to change."
My passion is to promote the importance of investing in our children. As an entrepreneur and business owner whose primary focus is children, I believe we need to raise our future generation to think creatively, speak innovatively and love boldly.Cara Neo
What is the cause you want to fight for in Miss Universe Singapore 2017?
My passion is to promote the importance of investing in our children.
As an entrepreneur and business owner whose primary focus is children, I believe we need to raise our future generation to think creatively, speak innovatively and love boldly.
This year's theme is "Vie for a Beautiful Cause". What does charity mean to you?
The word "charity" has an interesting etymology as it is derived from the Latin word "caritas", which means love.
To me, this is what charity work boils down to - stepping out of your comfort zone to meet the needs of others through radical and selfless love.
I previously collaborated with St Andrew's Autism Centre and Rainbow Centre to help meet the needs and wants of children with special needs.
Which influential living person would you like to meet?
(US motivational speaker and author) Lizzie Velasquez. Her TED talk, How Do YOU Define Yourself, is a life-changing one that I recommend all young women watch.
I cannot imagine the hurt she must have experienced when she found herself featured on a YouTube video titled "The Ugliest Woman In The World".
I am endlessly inspired by how she fought back against all the negative voices and established herself as her own person.
Many young women struggle with self-image issues - and we do not even have to contend with a congenital disease that radically affects physical appearance like Lizzie does. She is a testimony of the immense inner strength and beauty we are all capable of (possessing), in the face of any odds.
Who do you cherish the most?
My parents. My mother was accidentally administered a wrong injection when she was pregnant, which had dire repercussions for developing foetuses.
Doctors urged my parents to abort me because it was likely I was going to be born with missing eyes, limbs or some of my senses.
Amazingly, my parents did not give up on me and believed I should have a chance at life.
They went ahead with the decision to have me, fully prepared to lead and love me even if I was born imperfect.
WATCH THE FINALE
The Miss Universe Singapore 2017 finale will be held on Oct 11 at Resorts World Sentosa Convention Centre, West Ballroom.
Expect a sumptuous five-course dinner with entertainment and wine.
Individual tickets are from $400, and a table of 10 is from $3,888.
To buy tickets, visit tnp.sg/mustickets
Creative director: Yeoh Wee Teck
Stylist: ZH Tan
Hair: Apgujeong Hair Studio
Make-up: Cosmoprof Academy
Manicure & pedicure: Beaute Hub Nails
Photographer: Benjamin Seetor
Resorts World Sentosa shoot
Photographer: Phyllicia Wang
Location: Adventure Cove Waterpark
Swimwear: K.Blu Swim
Singapore Turf Club shoot
Photographer: Ng Sok Eng, BerryHappy Photography
Dresses: Style Lease
Writer: Charmaine Soh
Videography: Dalene Low, Sim Jia Yi
Additional photography: Dalene Low
Project manager: Sheralynn Shen Jega, Khoo Yap Meng