Miss Universe Singapore 2017: Shonalie Raha
Shonalie Raha, 24, content strategist
Like any beauty pageant contestant worth her salt, Shonalie Raha, 24, is passionate about saving the environment.
Working at a strategic communication company, she helps businesses tell their story through digital content and workshops.
But she herself has an inspiring story to tell, as someone who is all for Mother Earth.
After watching the 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth, she developed a huge passion for climate action and environmental studies.
Last year, she graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, with a degree in environmental studies.
She said: "No matter where we are from, the earth is our home and we should all protect it.
"If we can protect our loved ones, why not (protect) where we live too?"
One of her greatest achievements is being in a steering committee that led 25,000 people in a march for climate justice in Canada during winter in 2015.
In Singapore, she organised a climate conference for about 150 young people in April, and earlier this month, was manager of the Singapore Eco Film Festival, which celebrates sustainable environmental solutions.
I have always been passionate about the environment. I believe as citizens of the earth, we all have a role to play and a responsibility to the generations to come. We need to do our part to protect our home.Shonalie Raha, Content strategist, 24
As for Shonalie's personal checklist for the upcoming year, she said: "I want to write a book of poetry and travel to countries like Peru, Japan and Iceland where I can meet many interesting people."
As someone who regularly meditates, Shonalie plans to embark on a 10-day silent retreat. She last did it three years ago at St John's Island.
What is the cause you want to fight for in Miss Universe Singapore 2017?
I have always been passionate about the environment.
Ever since I was little, I have been sharing with others my love and passion for it, whether it was telling my sister to have shorter showers or writing essays on how the poles were going to melt.
My favourite quote is "If not now, then when? And if not you, then who?"
I believe as citizens of the earth, we all have a role to play and a responsibility to the generations to come.
We need to do our part to protect our home.
This year's theme is "Vie for a Beautiful Cause". What does charity mean to you?
Charity means giving back, and to me, it does not mean you need to give a lot.
I am a strong advocate for volunteering, as it gives you the opportunity to learn and help someone new.
Some of my best learning experiences happened while helping someone.
Which influential living person would you like to meet?
(US model) Ashley Graham, the woman who is taking the modelling world by storm. She believes that big is beautiful.
Whenever I am feeling down, I look at her and I am amazed at how she embraces her curves.
She is the embodiment of both internal and external beauty, and we are lucky to have someone of her calibre in our generation.
Tell us about the time you overcame a fear.
One of my biggest fears was public speaking.
I was always afraid I would talk too quickly or say the wrong things and I would freeze completely while my mind went blank.
So when I turned 19, I decided to overcome my fear.
I decided to run for a leadership position at my university advocating equality and environmental policy, and I had to speak in front of people in my university.
I spent a lot of time practising, and though I did not win, there were 2,000 people supporting me.
What is the greatest challenge facing women today?
Though we have moved on from the past, I still find that in the workplace, we are not given equal opportunity and our opinions never seem to be seen as strong as a man's.
It is something I think is improving, with more women taking on important positions, but it does not seem fast enough.
What is the most extreme thing you have done to yourself in the name of beauty?
When I was 14 and wanted straight teeth, I thought it would be smart of me to file down my two front teeth so they would be in a straight line.
Unfortunately, I am now left with a slightly uneven smile that constantly reminds me to consult an expert.
About Miss Universe Singapore 2017
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
Yeoh Wee Teck
Apgujeong Hair Studio
Manicure & pedicure:
Beaute Hub Nails
Resorts World Sentosa shoot
Adventure Cove Waterpark
Singapore Turf Club shoot
Ng Sok Eng, BerryHappy Photography
Dalene Low, Sim Jia Yi
Khoo Yap Meng