Miss Universe Singapore 2016: Poojaa Gill
She is no newbie to the modelling scene. Poojaa Gill was a finalist in The New Paper New Face 2006 at the age of 15 and went on to bigger titles like Miss Tourism Queen 2007, Miss Asia Pacific World 2014 and Miss Eurasia 2016.
She was also a finalist on Season 2 of reality TV modelling series Asia's Next Top Model, which she counts as her proudest achievement so far.
Poojaa enjoyed a teen sprinting career at Singapore Sports School but a subsequent back injury halted that dream.
What is one cause you would champion if you become Miss Universe Singapore 2016?
I would help raise awareness for children with autism because having lacked the knowledge before, I was quick to jump to conclusions. People need to know that autistic children have their own set of abilities and with proper guidance, they can realise their potential.
What is your greatest strength?
My never-say-die attitude.
What is the biggest challenge women face today?
Having to juggle work and family. Even as women become more educated and build their own careers, they are still expected to run a household and do more than their male counterparts.
When your sprinting dreams fell through, how did that affect you?
I fell in love with track and field when I was nine. When I was 12, I represented Singapore in Australia, winning my first international gold medal.
Three years later, I trained with the Sports School and suffered a serious back injury that stopped me from competing. It shattered me as it was really difficult to watch my teammates train and not be able to join them.
Which travel destination has been most special to you?
I went to Hong Kong alone late last year. It was a last-minute trip and I explored the city all by myself. I realised that I learn a lot more about myself when I have the courage to travel alone.
See more at facebook.com/thenewpaper
Miss Universe Singapore 2016 will be crowned on Oct 16, 7pm, at Grand Copthorne Waterfront. To buy a pair of tickets to the dinner and finale with performances, visit https://eventreg.asiaone.com/register/mus2016finale.
Creative director: Yeoh Wee Teck
Photographer: Jonathan Choo, using the Canon 1D-X
Writer: Constance Goh
Page design: Ho Yan Hao, Kelvin Chan
Make-up: Cosmoprof Academy
Hair: Monsoon Group
Stylist: ZH Tan
Cover: Bikini by Silvian Imberg (www.silvianimberg.com)
Centrespread: Dress can be rented from Covatella (www.covatella.com)
All pages: Jewellery by Paqarina Jewellery (www.paqarinajewellery.com)