Miss Universe Singapore 2018: Zahra Khanum wants to give back to society, especially to children
Miss Zahra Khanum, who graduated with a sociology degree from the National University of Singapore (NUS) last month, wants to give back to society, especially to children.
The 23-year-old, who was a The New Paper New Face finalist in 2016, has travelled to Pakistan and Vietnam and organised charities and fund-raising efforts to help the needy.
She was raised single-handedly by her mother, whom she sees as her greatest pillar of support.
Through her own difficult childhood, she hopes to be an example to others who are in a similar situation, that with hard work and dedication, one is able to overcome any adversity.
Who is your pick as a beautiful, empowered woman?
Priyanka Chopra. She represented India and was crowned Miss World 2000. She managed to enter both Bollywood and Hollywood and represent South Asian women in films.
She has been such an inspiration for women from all walks of life, to feel we can achieve our dreams and pursue our talent if we truly want it.She is also associated with several philanthropic causes such as the Save Girl Child campaign (against female infanticide and foeticide) and Awakening Youth, an anti-addiction programme.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
My family is Pakistani and Kashmiri by heritage but I have never visited (the areas) to explore my roots and ancestry. I would love to understand where I come from and have a better connection to the history of my forefathers.
Do you have any special talent?
I have been exposed to the performing arts for a long time but have always shied away from any opportunity to present my talent to an audience.
After taking theatre for International Baccalaureate at the School of the Arts, I stopped acting for three years and focused on academics at NUS. Last week, I returned to the stage at Goodman Arts Centre and joined the cast of AYESHA, a play about how South Asian women deal with suppression in the form of societal pressures.
a I strongly believe that we have a huge part to play in being role models for the next generation and the people around us.
What qualities set you apart from the other Miss Universe Singapore finalists?
My ability to connect with people and find a way to sensitise myself to those around me. I strongly believe that we have a huge part to play in being role models for the next generation and the people around us.
My passion to succeed in all I do always puts me ahead as I can morph and adapt to the expectations placed on me by myself or my peers and mentors, and this is possible through ensuring that I am happy.
My happiness comes from others and I build these bonds with a pure heart. Have confidence and be kind - that is the trick.