Singaporean wins international pageant for plus-size beauties

S'porean make-up artist wins Ms Top of the World Plus Size 2016. Her message? Embrace your curves

BEAUTY QUEEN: Miss Fiona Tan emerged victorious in the Miss Top of the World Plus Size pageant this month. She said she used to be ashamed of her weight but learned to love her body and be comfortable in her own skin.

It was her first beauty pageant and Singapore's Fiona Tan Si Min was crowned Ms Top of the World Plus Size 2016 in Latvia, beating nine other contestants from around the world.

She was also the only Asian contestant in the competition, and emerged victorious over second-placed Ms Lulia Morgunova from Georgia, and third-placed Ms Tatjana Mackevica from Latvia.

Miss Tan, a 29-year-old make-up artist, told The New Paper she was proud to be able to represent Singapore on an international platform.

She said: "In Asia, you get more comments directed at your size.

"It was not easy to come all the way to here to take part in this competition, so I took this very seriously and tried my best in every criteria."

The plus-sized beauty pageant was held over four days earlier this month in Latvia. Contestants were judged based on different segments each day. (See report above.)

Miss Tan had been approached by a friend who knew the national director of event management company Eplanet Singapore, which was in charge of picking Singapore's representative. The friend asked her to audition for the pageant.

She said: "I was shocked when I heard I was chosen. I love fashion and there was a chance to influence people."

She shared that has been overweight since she was eight, but she was always confident about herself.

BEAUTY QUEEN: Miss Fiona Tan  emerged victorious in the Miss Top of the World Plus Size pageant this month. She said she used to be ashamed of her weight but learned to love her body and be comfortable in her own skin. PHOTOS: PHOTOIF


She said: "I'm comfortable the way I am, why should I listen to what people say about me?"

Miss Tan recalls her father giving her a hard time about being overweight as well as making her exercise. She also grew up with her relatives and friends constantly commenting on her size.

Said Miss Tan: "It was out of concern and care, but it's hard to swallow because people kept saying that to my face."

When Miss Tan was 21, she made the drastic decision to go through with liposuction in Thailand.

She said: "I got super conscious of my own body, so I decided to do something that will make me lose weight."

Over three months, Miss Tan went from 94kg to 72kg. But instead of feeling satisfied, she felt as though she had "lost her personality".

She said: "I was unhappy, it all happened so fast... I felt like I lost myself. I didn't know how to dress well, or stand out. It felt so silly, because there are people who want to lose this much weight."

Looking back, Miss Tan felt she could have chosen healthier methods. Now, she weighs 102kg and fully embraces her body.

She said: "Don't let anyone dictate your life, you should be able to feel comfortable in your skin, embrace your curves.

"Don't try to force yourself to look a certain way."

Miss Tan is on holiday in Europe and has plans to write a book.

She said: "I want to help empower plus-sized women in the world and to share my experiences as well.

"It doesn't matter where you're from, it's good to be groomed, but you don't have to be constantly pressured to change yourselves for society's expectations."

FASHIONISTA: Miss Fiona Tan, who loves fashion, also designed the gowns she wore in the competition, including this green number with purple blooms.


Mr Tan Hock Seng, 58, Miss Tan's businessman father, said: "I'm very proud of her, she tried and she succeeded. As a father, I'm very impressed.

"And I knew she put in a lot of effort into this pageant, so I must take my hat off to her."

Mr Tan acknowledged that he had been very strict with her and would force her to go jogging with him at MacRitchie Reservoir.

He said: "But at the end of the day, there's no point in forcing her to slim down if she's not happy. As long as she's happy, I'm happy too."

New Facebook measures to prevent suicide in Singapore

Facebook has introduced a helpline for potential suicide victims.
NEW MEASURE: Facebook's helpline for potential suicide victims. PHOTO: FACEBOOK

Singaporeans now have a new weapon in the fight against suicide: their Facebook accounts.

Facebook Safety announced new suicide prevention measures for the social network site this month.

Under the new measures, Facebook users can flag posts that might indicate suicidal or self-harming thoughts.

Facebook will contact the author of the posts, asking them if they are okay, before referring them to local counselling helplines and offering stress-management strategies.

In Singapore, Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) is Facebook's partner in this effort. It is among the more than 50 organisations worldwide that have partnered with Facebook to implement these measures.

Experts say that this move is especially good in Singapore's context where the younger generation is tuned into social media.

Ms Christine Wong, executive director of SOS, told The New Paper (TNP): "Suicide prevention requires the effort of all members of the community, both online and offline.

"Social media is a powerful tool to reach out to the younger generation, letting them know that it is okay to seek support and help when in need."

Young people are especially at risk of suicide.

Nearly 20 per cent of suicides in 2014 were committed by someone 29 or under.

Dr Elmie Nekmat, Assistant Professor in Communications and New Media at the National University of Singapore, welcomed the move.

He said: "Reaching out to someone in distress through social media might help pull them out of their pain and make them think about how to help themselves.''

NEW MEASURE: Facebook's helpline for potential suicide victims. PHOTO: FACEBOOK
Reaction among young Singaporeans were mixed.

Claire Soh, 19, a student, said: "It would be comforting to see that someone cares about you and wants to provide some options."

But NSman Kenji Chan, also 19, told TNP that he felt Singaporeans were too impersonal online to share information that might indicate suicidal tendencies.

Our best is yet to come, says Iceland joint-coach

Giant-killers Iceland eye hosts France next after England scalp

ICE, ICE, BABY: Iceland captain Aron Gunnarsson leading the celebrations with their fans (above) after the upset.
ICE, ICE, BABY: (Above) Iceland captain Aron Gunnarsson leading the celebrations with their fans after the upset.
“Every obstacle now is going to look smaller.” — Iceland joint-coach Heimir Hallgrimsson (above)



(Wayne Rooney 4-pen)


(Ragnar Sigurdsson 6, 
Kolbeinn Sigthorsson 18)

Beware, France.

After Iceland pulled off one of the greatest shocks in European Championship history by beating England yesterday morning (Singapore time), joint-coach Heimir Hallgrimsson believes there is more to come.

Their stunning 2-1 defeat of England in the last 16, which led opposition coach Roy Hodgson to resign, sets up a mouth-watering clash with hosts France in the quarter-finals.

"We've been improving slowly and... this was our best game yet, but we still haven't shown what we can do," said Hallgrimsson. "Hopefully, our best game is yet to come."

After falling behind to a fourth-minute Wayne Rooney penalty, Iceland levelled almost immediately through Ragnar Sigurdsson and struck again in the 18th minute with a Kolbeinn Sigthorsson shot.

While they were forced to defend deeper in the second period, they still had chances, with Man-of-the-Match Sigurdsson attempting a bicycle kick, a rare sight for a central defender.


"They (England) thought this would be a walk in the park, but we had faith in our ability," said Sigurdsson. "I think they panicked. It's not easy to score goals against Iceland.

"We didn't feel that they created any chances. Kane had an opportunity and headed straight at our goalkeeper.

"A lot that we were heading away, long shots from distance we were keeping clear. I wasn't really stressed apart from the last minute."

Hallgrimsson said that the greatest achievement in Iceland's football history came more easily than expected as a lacklustre England failed to put the tournament debutants under any serious pressure.

"I didn't think the English put us under so much pressure," said Hallgrimsson.

More than 10,000 people packed a Reykjavik square to watch Iceland beat England as the victory in Nice sparked national celebrations.

Iceland has rarely had such international sports triumphs to celebrate. Its men's handball team won the silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"There are no words, only tears of joy," Iceland's foreign ministry said on its Twitter account.

But there were many words to make fun of the big neighbour across the Atlantic.

"This was the real Brexit," said Asta Helgadottir, a deputy in the Icelandic parliament for the Pirate Party, on her Twitter account.

"Our Boys sent England home," the Frettabladid internet news site said. Iceland's team are known as
Our Boys.


While Iceland - a nation of about 330,000 people - will be the underdogs against France in Paris on Monday morning, few would completely rule out another upset.

They beat Holland home and away in qualifying and, in the group stages at the Finals, have drawn with Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal and Hungary and beat Austria, who were tipped as the tournament's dark horses.

"I expect a good (French) team, similar to England maybe. France haven't been playing their best football yet and neither have we," said Sigurdsson.

"We want to try and be a little bit more dominant and play a little bit more technically."

The European Championship has had some surprise winners, with Denmark having triumphed in 1992 after being drafted in to replace disqualified Yugoslavia and outsiders Greece managing to win in 2004, having not been at the Finals for 24 years.

But this year's showpiece match still seems a long way off for Iceland, who would come up against Italy or Germany if they managed to see off the hosts at the Stade de France.

"Now that they (the players) have gone through this hurdle, every obstacle in their way now is going to look smaller... that changes their mentality," said Hallgrimsson.

Asked if Iceland can go further in the tournament, Cardiff City midfielder Aron Gunnarsson revealed the secret of their success.

"We always believe. That's our attitude," he said. - Wire Services.

When stars collide

The stars of Ice Age: Collision Course may have recorded their parts separately, but when they meet, sparks fly
 Ray Romano plays Manny (top) and Queen Latifah plays Ellie.

Spanning 16 years, Ice Age is one of the biggest animated movie franchises.

Opening here tomorrow, Ice Age: Collision Course is its fifth instalment and the sequel to 2012's Continental Drift, with Ray Romano and Queen Latifah returning to voice the married woolly mammoths Manny and Ellie.

This time Manny has two catastrophes to deal with - an asteroid is about to hit Earth, and his daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer) wants to get married.

Since he doesn't appreciate change, he doesn't deal with the dual shockwaves well.

Ellie's approach is more measured. Although she is happy for Peaches, she is unhappy at the prospect of the empty nest to come.

Even though US actors Romano, 58, and Latifah, 46 - whom we meet at the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills - have never acted together and recorded their voices separately for the film, they are as comfortable together as any married couple, constantly referring to each other and making each other laugh.

So if an asteroid is going to hit Earth in five days, how would you spend the rest of your time?

Romano: I was going to say that I would stay with my wife, but if I have five days... (laughs).

I would probably do everything that I was scared to do. I would skydive, I would surf naked, sing, eat like crazy.

Latifah: I would want to be around people I love and I would want to do something fun too.

I see myself in that movie that stops that apocalyptic thing from happening. 

Romano: You are not playing the game. 

Latifah: But that's part of my game. In my five days, it's an action movie. We are saving the world and we band together and, no wait, that is Ice Age (laughs).

Romano: And let's be honest, have sex with everyone (laughs).

How strange is it that you only get together when you do publicity for the film?

Romano: This is the only time I get to see her.

We are never in the studio at the same time.

I have done five of these movies and I have never been in the sound studio with another actor. It's always yourself and the director.

And even when you're not in the same place at the same time, that's how good our chemistry is. 

Latifah: I think their relationship has grown, and by saying all these words through these years, I just become much more comfortable and I feel like I know my relationship because of these movies.

Not because of working with him. Really because of reading these lines and knowing how he sounds and what his intentions are and so we have kind of grown in the strangest way, but not by actually working together.

It's crazy.

What made you want to return?

Romano: It's lucrative (laughs). But it's such a good message.

Latifah: For me it's been about making films that my family and the kids, my nieces and nephews can see me in.

To be able to be part of something like Ice Age that will live with kids, it will be part of their childhood memories and be part of them for the rest of their lives.

And the cheque (laughs). I took a picture of it. 

Collision Course is also a story about extended families in a way.

Romano: It doesn't mean you have to be a blood relative to be a member of a family.

It's all different people and everybody looks different and is different, but they are all together.

Latifah: I think that is something that set Ice Age apart from other animated films.

I love the fact that it brought this mixture of characters together who become a family and who keep adding on to that family and keep extending more of themselves.