Manuela is crowned Miss Universe Singapore 2017
Miss Universe Singapore winner is the 'total package', says judge
With one title already in her collection, Manuela Bruntraeger reached for the stars and her quest paid off when she was crowned Miss Universe Singapore 2017 yesterday evening.
The 24-year-old artist, a graduate of Lasalle College of the Arts, emerged as the brightest star among the 20 finalists at the Resorts World Sentosa Convention Centre.
Speaking to TNP after her victory, Manuela said: "I really didn't expect to win, and I am definitely overwhelmed.
"This came as a really big surprise and I could not be happier, though it has not sunk in yet."
Rudihra Ramathas, 26, and Emilbiany Nenggal Intong, 19, finished first and second runner-up, respectively.
Manuela, whose father is German and mother a Singaporean of Portuguese descent, will represent the Republic at the Miss Universe pageant to be held in Las Vegas on Nov 26.
She also won $10,000 cash and $45,000 worth of prizes from the sponsors.
In a glitzy affair attended by more than 400 guests, the 20 finalists went through the swimsuit segment before the group was narrowed down to the top 10.
They did their best to impress the seven judges, who then selected the top five who had to go through the question and answer segment.
The five women were asked the same question: What was their greatest personal achievement and how did it prepare them to be a Miss Universe Singapore?
Manuela's passion and confidence led to a response that drew loud cheers from the crowd. After the victory parade, the 1.64m-tall beauty revealed that her height was one of the biggest challenges she faced during the competition.
"As I am one of the more petite girls, I have heard the words 'short, small, tiny' along the way. But now, knowing all my hard work has paid off, I have learnt that it is okay to be fun-sized, and there is never a bad size," said Manuela, who won Miss Earth Singapore last year.
Mum Margaret Bruntraeger was over the moon.
Said the 56-year-old: "I am so excited for her, as I have seen all the hard work she has put into the journey and knowing she wanted the crown badly."
The event kicked off with a short speech by the national director of Miss Universe Singapore Organisation B.V. and winner of the 2002 title, Ms Nuraliza Osman.
The 20 finalists then made their first appearance in a segment called A Distinctively Singaporean Show Opener, before the emcees, ONE FM 91.3 DJs Glenn Ong and The Flying Dutchman, introduced the judging panel.
It included Ms Nuraliza, actor, model and host Paul Foster, deputy managing editor for the English, Malay, Tamil Media of Singapore Press Holdings Murali Subramaniam and Ms Shi Lim, the 2013 winner.
Speaking after Manuela's victory, Ms Lim said: "She was the most polished on stage and in terms of the total package, she was the contestant who had it the most.
"Beyond being on stage, Manuela already caught my eye during the pre-judging in terms of the way she carried herself, her body and her looks."