Don't let height bring you down, says Miss Universe Singapore 2017
Miss Universe Singapore Manuela Bruntraeger says her height didn't stop her from signing up to make the most of her potential
Standing at 1.66m, Miss Manuela Bruntraeger was shorter than the majority of delegates she was competing against for the title of Miss Universe in Las Vegas last November.
Contestants such as Miss Elena Correa from Costa Rica (1.82m), and Miss Shanaelle Petty from Croatia (1.85m) towered over her. Even so, the eventual winner, Miss Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters from South Africa, stood pretty at 1.7m.
For the 25-year-old Miss Bruntraeger, who was crowned Miss Universe Singapore (MUS) two months before the international pageant, height was never a cause for concern.
And neither should it be for MUS hopefuls this year.
Until June 10, women aged 18 to 28 can sign up to represent Singapore on the world stage in the annual pageant. Interested parties can sign up at missuniversesingapore.com.sg.
There are $30,000 worth of prizes to be won, including $10,000 cash.
Ms Bruntraeger told The New Paper: "I believe that confidence and beauty come from within. It is who you are and I have always been happy with my appearance. I cannot change anything if someone thinks I am short. I do not let that affect me."
The beauty queen has signed with modelling agency NOW Model Management and talent agency Beam Artistes, where she has been going for auditions, photoshoots, and acting and hosting gigs.
Recalling her MUS journey, she joined because she wanted to challenge herself as it encourages women to put their "best foot forward".
Having watched the Miss Universe pageant since she was young, she knew how rigorous the process would be.
She said: "Going into any competition, you have to believe you can win. But at the time, winning was not the main focus. I was excited for the experience, entered with a positive attitude and gave it my best shot."
The MUS lifestyle has stayed with her, even now.
"I still wake up early, work out regularly, follow skincare and make-up routines. I can do a full face of make-up in under 10 minutes, anywhere.
"I maintain the ability to be prompt and organised and don't waste time in the morning getting ready for the day.
"Breakfast has also been a great new habit. It really is the most important meal of the day, and it sets you up with the energy you need.
"I also make the effort to take 30 minutes to an hour a day to find peace and quiet. No phone, computer or any distraction."
Ms Bruntraeger advised applicants who are on the fence about MUS 2018 to take the plunge.
"You have more potential in you than you know. There is a 100 per cent chance of failure if you never try. So be brave and take a step outside your comfort zone. Challenge yourself to be better," she said.
Be confident, be sure of who you are and remain authentic and unique.
Also, be prepared to work hard, put in the effort and think on your feet.
She said: "It is not only an opportunity to showcase beauty but also the brains that come with it.
"The mould for a pageant queen is changing. When you steer away from the stereotype, you will see that they are looking for women of substance.
"The journey can be tough at times, and if you allow yourself to rise above that, you will come out shining and better than ever."