Miss Universe Singapore 2017: Dalvin Kaur
Dalvin Kaur had no idea her younger sister signed her up for Miss Universe Singapore (MUS) until she was informed she had been shortlisted for the auditions.
The 28-year-old controls associate at a banktold The New Paper: "Initially, I did not want to go for it because of work commitments, but I am someone who always encourages others to grab hold of new experiences.
"All those words were flung back at me, so I ultimately decided to try it out, knowing I won't get the chance again."
She is one of the oldest finalists this year and Dalvin feels like it can help her.
She said: "I feel like I have gone through some difficulties and have enough experience to feel more confident about myself." When she was growing up, Dalvin's family was not financially well-off, which spurred her to do well in school.
She said: "I wanted to have better chances at furthering my studies, and at that point in time, I did not have many things my peers had."
This is why she is so passionate about her cause - to provide equal opportunities for underprivileged children, such as those from financially disadvantaged families or those with learning disabilities, and ensure their educational needs are met.
She said: "I have been where they are and I want them to have the same opportunities that others have taken for granted.
"Children are the future of our society and education gives them the means to pursue a career of their choice, lead a productive life and break out of the poverty cycle."
This year's theme is "Vie for a Beautiful Cause". What does charity mean to you?
It means making a positive impact on someone else's life. I am grateful to be blessed with a roof over my head, food to eat and having my loved ones around me.
It is important to realise that not everyone is lucky enough to have their basic necessities met, so those who can should give back to the community. The charity organisation I would support is Children's Wishing Well as they provide children from lower-income families with basic necessities and education. Their mission resonates with me as they echo the cause I am passionate about.
Which influential living person would you like to meet?
(US academic and politician) Elizabeth Warren. She was born to a janitor and came from a lower middle class family, rose to become a law professor and now, a respected US senator championing the working middle class.
I admire the hard work she has put in to get to where she is and that she continues to give back to society by using her voice to challenge the norms and look out for the interests of the people who nominated her. She is an example of a caring, determined and intellectual woman who is not afraid to speak up for the issues she believes in.
Tell us about the time you overcame a fear.
I have a fear of water and I cannot swim. But I went on a trip to Bali where my friends wanted to go helmet diving. I was determined not to let my fear stop me from enjoying the experience.
I literally took the plunge in the Indian Ocean. It did not help that water was seeping into my helmet and I thought I was going to die on the ocean floor. However, I am proud that I have conquered my fear.
What is the greatest challenge facing women today?
It is the mindset that to be successful, we are expected to break the glass ceiling at work, be the primary caregivers for our families and lead a healthy lifestyle.
It is important to realise we have to (prioritise) our own interests and make time for ourselves. We should not be pressured to mould ourselves into society's depiction of a successful woman, but instead, create our own definition of success.
WATCH THE FINALE
The Miss Universe Singapore 2017 finale will be held on Oct 11 at Resorts World Sentosa Convention Centre, West Ballroom.
Expect a sumptuous five-course dinner with entertainment and wine.
Individual tickets are from $400, and a table of 10 is from $3,888.
To buy tickets, visit tnp.sg/mustickets
Creative director: Yeoh Wee Teck
Stylist: ZH Tan
Hair: Apgujeong Hair Studio
Make-up: Cosmoprof Academy
Manicure & pedicure: Beaute Hub Nails
Studio shoot Photographer: Benjamin Seetor
Resorts World Sentosa shoot Photographer: Phyllicia Wang
Location: Adventure Cove Waterpark
Swimwear: K.Blu Swim
Singapore Turf Club shoot Photographer: Ng Sok Eng, BerryHappy Photography
Dresses: Style Lease
Writer: Charmaine Soh
Videography: Dalene Low, Sim Jia Yi
Additional photography: Dalene Low
Project managers: Sheralynn Shen Jega
Khoo Yap Meng