Miss Universe Singapore 2017: Mandi Cheung
As a teen, when she saw how hard her single mum was working to support the family, she was driven to help in any way she could.
Mandi Cheung, 22, started working when she was 14 and stopped taking pocket money then.
The flight attendant told The New Paper: "In secondary school, I used to be upset about my family background but I soon overcame that and learnt how to be stronger, independent and mature at a younger age."
Even then, the road was not easy as she always felt like she was not good enough.
She said: "I used to struggle with my self-esteem, especially as a part-time model, because I felt like I had to look beautiful all the time."
Now, Mandi wants to share her experience and "be an inspiration to others to build a better future generation".
She said: "Instead of living up to society's perception, I have learnt it is important to love yourself first.
"If I want to help others, I need to start with myself.
"I also understand and empathise with the situation of less privileged children."
Mandi is volunteering with Architects Of Life for the Singapore Girls' Home as a mentor and intends to continue inspiring residents to achieve their dreams.
She said: "It is as simple as having the heart to do something meaningful and with love."
What is the cause you want to fight for in Miss Universe Singapore 2017?
Coming from a similar background, I believe in the potential of children and youth who grow up in disadvantaged situations such as broken families and poverty... that they have the ability to pursue their dreams, to succeed and be the change we want to see in this world.
I hope to start a social enterprise or join the United Nations, helping to tackle challenges such as hunger and bad living conditions.
I would also like to provide education, love and protection to children and promote equality.
This year's theme is "Vie for a Beautiful Cause". What does charity mean to you?
It simply means doing good to others without expecting any reciprocation.
I want to (continue to) be a role model and inspiration to (the young girls at Singapore Girls' Home) so they can believe they are also capable of achieving great things.
Who do you cherish the most?
When I was not looking for love, I met my boyfriend unexpectedly.
He shows me unconditional love, is always supportive and a great role model.
He started his own funeral business and has a kind heart.
We also share similar experiences growing up, have been through many hurdles and share the same vision for the future, which is to help others in need and do everything with love.
What is the greatest challenge women face today?
The ability to love and accept ourselves. We often get carried away with correcting our flaws all the time, and we neglect the beauty that shines from within.
What is the most extreme thing you have done to yourself in the name of beauty?
I used to have low self-esteem and always thought that I (did not live up to) society's beauty standards.
I wanted to be a size zero model and went through an extreme no-carbohydrate diet for a month and exercised six times a week even when I was feeling exhausted.
I have grown to learn that confidence and beauty comes from within, and what is more important is to have a well-balanced diet and exercise regimen, where I am both physically and mentally healthy.
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
Yeoh Wee Teck
Apgujeong Hair Studio
Manicure & pedicure:
Studio shoot Photographer:
Resorts World Sentosa shoot Photographer:
Adventure Cove Waterpark
Singapore Turf Club shoot Photographer:
Ng Sok Eng, BerryHappy Photography
Dalene Low, Sim Jia Yi
Sheralynn Shen Jega
Khoo Yap Meng