Grandmother of five wins Mrs Global Tourism title
She left an impression on judges with her backstory of overcoming adversity
In August, Ms Laura Lee, the first runner-up of this year's Mrs Singapore & Classic Mrs Singapore Pageant, made jaws drop when it was revealed that she is a grandmother of five.
Earlier this month in Bangkok, the 44-year-old went on to become the only grandmother who competed in the Mrs Tourism Queen International Pageant organised by ERM World and ERM Thailand.
She beat 20 contestants to win the Mrs Global Tourism title. The other main title, Mrs Tourism Queen International, went to the delegate from Russia.
The single mother was also awarded two subsidiary titles - Charity Queen and second runner-up for Talent Queen.
The managing director of Trade-Pro Trading and director of five other frozen food companies told The New Paper: "Although I started preparing for this pageant three months ago, this was an unexpected win as there were many strong competitors.
"I definitely felt my efforts paid off."
She also felt her unique backstory might have left a deep impression on the judges and given her an edge.
Ms Lee, who got divorced 13 years ago, raised her three children - now aged 24, 23 and 20 - on her own.
Back then, she held two jobs - a full-time sales job in the day and a part-time property sales job at night.
Her grandchildren are aged seven, five, three, one and six months.
She said: "(The judges) were very shocked, and they asked me a lot about my family background and how I assist my children in supporting my grandchildren."
Ms Angela Tay, managing director of ERM Singapore, which sent Ms Lee to represent Singapore at the Mrs Tourism Queen International Pageant, added: "Laura's story is very inspiring. Despite her divorce and the difficulties (she) faced earlier in life, she managed to rise above them and become who she is today.
"She also spoke very eloquently during the one-to-one interview during the pre-judging about her thoughts on promoting Singapore tourism."
To prepare for the pageant, Ms Lee not only filmed a video to promote Singapore, but also underwent intensive cardio training for two weeks.
The routine, which consisted of a mixture of yoga and pilates, led her to lose 2kg and five inches from her thighs and waist.
In addition, she hired a dance instructor to choreograph a combination of salsa and K-pop for her talent segment.
Ms Lee, who recently received awards from SME100 Awards Singapore, Singapore Prestige Class Awards 2020/2021 and Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs 2020/2021, said 2019 has been a great year for her.
As she continues to expand her food businesses locally and abroad, she also hopes to organise and attend more charity events to cater to the less fortunate.
She said: "I want to continue to inspire, motivate and empower women from all walks of life with my achievements."