Jade Seah on Miss Universe Singapore 2006: 'I really had fun that night'
Actress-host Jade Seah dishes all about her Miss Universe S'pore experience and expletive controversy
As a Singapore Management University undergraduate, Jade Seah experienced ups and downs at the Miss Universe Singapore (MUS) 2006 contest.
But if she hadn't stuck it out, the host, actress and fashion influencer wouldn't have finished first runner-up, snagged the subsidiary title of Miss Photogenic and learnt lifelong lessons.
The winner that year was art director Carol Cheong.
Seah, 33, told The New Paper: "The last days leading up to the (finals) were the worst. I am only thankful that for that year, they wanted our mothers to walk with us for one segment, so they were with us at rehearsals.
NOW & THEN: Jade Seah, who took part in the Miss Universe Singapore pageant in 2006 (above), wanted to quit the night before the finals. PHOTOS:TNP FILE
"I had succumbed to the pressure to be super thin and was eating very little that last week."
She added: "The night before (the finals), I was tired. I wasn't having fun any more and I didn't get why I was doing this in the first place. I wanted to quit.
"My mother told me I'd come this far, why not see it through as I had only one more day to go. She reminded me that I'm not a quitter. I don't have to win, but I have to see my decisions through."
This year, Singapore's most prestigious pageant is back in a big way, with new presenter Singapore Turf Club and new imaging partner Canon Singapore on board.
For the first time, TNP will be the pageant's official media partner and co-organiser with the Miss Universe Singapore Organisation.
The winner will receive $10,000 cash and a Canon camera worth $1,000. Registration is now open to women aged 18 to 27.
MUS was also where Seah caught the attention of Mediacorp bigwigs.
"It gave me my start, but the rest boils down to hard work, timing and a little bit of luck," she said.
Mediacorp called her in for an audition a few months after MUS, when she was working at advertising, marketing and public relations agency Ogilvy & Mather after graduating.
She said: "I never planned on being in this line... I read four scripts for them and they offered me a full-time contract.
"It was a difficult decision, venturing into this unknown territory, but I was young and decided to try it for fun for two years. And two years became many years."
During that period, Seah faced her first big test. While hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics news programme Today In Beijing on Channel 5, she was heard saying an expletive live on air after she incorrectly pronounced an athlete's name.
Netizens had a field day flaming her.
Seah recalled: "That incident was the most terrible thing... and I definitely got punished for it. But it made me stronger.
"Criticism will always sting a little - I'm only human - but criticism, especially from people who don't even know me, will never break me."She weathered the controversy, recalling her mother's advice before the MUS finals.
"When the going gets tough now, I just look for the end of the tunnel and it always helps me get through," she said.
The MUS experience also taught Seah, who married banker Terence Lim last year, not to take herself too seriously.
"After I decided I would carry on with the competition, I really had fun that night (at the finals)... I didn't think about who was watching or how I looked. I was just myself. I did my thing and I had fun," she said.
"I now carry that into all decisions. The goal is to be happy, so I try to enjoy all that I choose to do and not worry about the rest."