Miss Universe Singapore 2018: Renee Kee believes in embracing one's unique beauty
Flight attendant, 25
As a busy flight attendant, Miss Renee Kee believes in adhering to a clean diet and zero-alcohol lifestyle to maintain her well-being and help her look fresh and presentable at all times.
But above her right eyebrow lies a birthmark that she struggled to accept while growing up.
It took Miss Kee, 25, more than a decade to finally come to terms that this blemish is part of her and beauty truly comes from within.
She hopes that in accepting her imperfections, she can be a role model for younger girls who have similar visible marks and encourage them not to conform blindly to what society deems as beautiful.
Who are your personal icons of beautiful and empowered women?
Winnie Harlow is a Canadian model who was diagnosed with the skin condition vitiligo, giving her the unique beauty marks that she is now known for. I have huge respect for her as she was bullied for the marks across her face and her entire body. But today, she is able to change the world's perspective on beauty, which I also want to inspire people to do.
I believe it sends a message to women and girls who are insecure about their differences that the world will embrace their beauty only when they embrace their own uniqueness.
India is the one place that I find intriguing. The culture, the food, and the people are so unique compared to the rest of the world.
This year's theme is The Beauty of Empowerment. What is the most empowering thing you have done in your life?
Volunteering in Ho Chi Minh City at Son Ky Children Star Orphanage, an all-boys orphanage with children and teenagers aged between eight and 18.
The volunteer work spanned two weeks and not only did we have the opportunity to teach the boys English, we spent our free time playing street soccer barefoot with them and having meals together. I genuinely enjoy volunteering whenever I can.
If you could change anything in this world, what would it be?
That people would start getting to know someone as a person from the inside. I have been given opportunities to meet many young people in Singapore, and I have personally seen job opportunities ripped from them because of others' judgment based on superficial appearances.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I have the privilege to be well travelled due to my job, but India is the one place that I find intriguing. The culture, the food, and the people are so unique compared to the rest of the world.
What is the biggest disappointment in your life and how did you overcome it?
When I was not able to get a role I wanted because of a scar under my jaw due to the removal of a cyst on my saliva gland when I was 17. It left me demoralised as the surgery left a huge scar and because of that I got rejected.
However, I came to terms (with the fact) that it will be with me for life, and life does not always go the way we want it to for a reason and maybe there is a bigger plan.
On hindsight, perhaps if I had got that role, I would not be in MUS with 14 other beautiful women. My motto is to always stay positive no matter what the outcome (may be) and you will attract many good things in life.