Raring to go for Miss Universe Singapore
Online registration for Miss Universe S'pore 2016 closed yesterday, but you can still join our walk-in audition on Sunday for your last shot at the crown. These three hopefuls managed to make the deadline after some hesitation. TRACY LOW (email@example.com) reports
This is the 27-year-old's first - and last - time applying for Miss Universe Singapore (MUS), as she already meets the maximum age criteria for the pageant.
And she hopes to make it count.
The self-employed jewellery designer, who graduated from Singapore Raffles Design Institute with an advanced diploma in fashion design, told The New Paper: "My friends and family told me, 'This (is) your last year (to join), you should go and try for once'."
Her mother was the one who told her about the opening of MUS registration.
Miss Eng said: "People around me have always been asking me to join, but back then, I didn't think I was qualified because if I do get through and the organisers were to ask me questions like, 'What do you think you can contribute to society?', I wouldn't have known what to answer.
"Joining MUS would have been just for show."
PHOTOS COURTESY OF PATRICIA ENG
But Miss Eng is finally ready and raring to go, after finding her purpose and a cause she believes in passionately.
She started volunteering at dog shelters three to four months ago and hopes to use MUS as a platform to spread awareness.
She said: "I want to encourage more people, not just my friends and family, to adopt these stray and abandoned dogs."
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.
Miss Eng is not new to pageants. She represented Singapore in Bride Of The World in 2010 and was scouted for Miss Asia Pacific World in 2011.
Her confidence and self-esteem received a boost after she dabbled in modelling after Bride Of The World.
She said: "I never wanted to be in front of the camera, I was more the behind-the-scenes type.
"It was only after I started modelling that I realised that being in front of the camera can be quite fun and you can do it only when you are young."
'Mum told me to push my limits'
VANESSA TIARA TAY
Last year, Miss Tay claimed the Miss Singapore Chinatown title at the Miss Singapore Beauty Pageant 2015, and she went on to compete in Hong Kong's TVB channel's Miss Chinese International.
But she decided to push herself further with MUS 2016 after being encouraged to do so by her mother, who used to take part in pageants.
PHOTOS: THE MAKEOVER INC.
The 19-year-old theatre undergraduate from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts told The New Paper: "I wanted to join MUS last year, but I was already competing in Miss Singapore Beauty Pageant.
"At that time, I was also very clueless about pageant stuff.
"(I was late in applying) as I was deliberating over whether to join MUS this year, wondering if I should try something new or take on another pageant.
"But my mum told me, 'Step out of your comfort zone and push your limits'."
If she wins, Miss Tay hopes to empower women and get rid of the stereotype that beauty queens possess good looks and nothing more.
She said: "I was bullied when I was younger. Some people said I was ugly and plump, some even said to me, 'Look at your mum, she's so beautiful, are you sure you are her daughter?' I feel I have the confidence and determination and I really want to inspire people to never give up."
'I look like last year's winner'
SONYA ELISABETH BRANSON
Miss Branson submitted her application for MUS 2016 on the last day of registration.
The 25-year-old Eurasian, a full-time model who holds an honours degree in psychology from the University of Western Australia, told The New Paper: "I wasn't very sure if I wanted to apply because I felt that I was older compared to (the other girls).
"But I looked at the application on Tuesday and realised that the closing date was the next day, so I quickly selected a few photos from my portfolio for submission."
PHOTOS: WJAY NODALO
Miss Branson started modelling in 2014 when she was still studying in Perth. She would make use of her school holidays in Singapore for freelance modelling events.
In previous years, she never gave MUS "a serious thought" because she was overseas.
But now, the alumnus of Methodist Girls' School and Victoria Junior College is all geared up to challenge preconceived notions of beauty in a multicultural and multiracial society like Singapore through the pageant.
She said: "Last year's winner Lisa (Marie White) is Eurasian, too. I feel our looks are quite similar and so maybe I will stand a chance (this year).
"To be honest, all my life, people have questioned whether I'm really Singaporean. They often assume that I'm from a European country because I look different from the norm.
"But I'm a true-blue Singaporean. If anyone heard my Singlish, they would know for sure."