Miss Universe Singapore 2017: Sharmen Diana Frugtniet
Once a victim of bullying, Sharmen Diana Frugtniet, 19, took things in her stride and managed to change her life for the better.
In primary and secondary school, she faced racist taunts from her schoolmates, which discouraged her.
But Sharmen, whose father is Eurasian and mother Malay, overcame those problems with her fighting spirit and the support from her friends and family.
Now, she wants to use Miss Universe Singapore (MUS) as a platform to reach out to victims of bullying and help them become stronger.
The early childhood education student at KLC International Institute told The New Paper: "I learnt how to fight for myself and gained confidence to do the things I like.
"I want to fight for the victims of bullying. It is something I went through, so I want to share my story. To me, bullying is a serious issue that we should highlight because it leads to many negative consequences such as self-harm, depression and suicide."Sharmen Diana Frugtniet
"Now, I take criticism and failure as motivation to improve myself and reach beyond my goals."
Sharmen is also a part-time model who enjoys blogging about fashion and beauty as well as watching documentaries about airplanes.
She said: "I plan to further my modelling career as it has always been my dream. I also want to become a kindergarten teacher after graduation."
What is the cause you want to fight for in MUS 2017?
I want to fight for the victims of bullying.
It is something I went through myself, so I want to share my story.
To me, bullying is a serious issue that we should highlight because it leads to many negative consequences such as self-harm, depression and suicide.
This year's theme is "Vie for a Beautiful Cause". What does charity mean to you?
Charity means lending an extra hand.
It can be as simple as giving back to the community and encouraging strangers going through a tough time, showing that there are others willing to listen and help.
I support Touch Community Services because I have seen - through videos online and even on the streets - how there are needy families in Singapore.
Touch Community Services supports low-income or single-parent families, and I believe there are many others out there who can help those in need.
I want to help the children of these families, so they have a future and a dream as they grow up.
They can then give back to their parents or guardians, and even the community, some day.
Which influential living person would you like to meet?
(American talk show host) Oprah Winfrey. I watched The Oprah Winfrey Show with my mother until the last episode.
Winfrey has also gone through a lot. Even when she gets knocked down, she will strive to do better and learn from the experience to mould herself into a better person.
What is the greatest challenge facing women today?
Body-shaming. Women feel the pressure to be exactly how the media perceives them, but we do not have to follow as long as we are ourselves.
No one should have expectations of strangers as long as they are healthy.
What is one special and unique talent you have?
I can twist my arm in one full round.
What is the greatest achievement you want to look back on when you are 60?
Being an MUS finalist. My mum has been a big fan of Miss Universe since the late 1980s, so for her to see her own daughter competing (in the local pageant) is so surreal.
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 scintillating entertainment and wines.
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 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 manager: Sheralynn Shen Jega, Khoo Yap Meng