I never imagined myself in that world of big smiles, perfect hair and tiaras – let alone one of Singapore’s “Big 4” pageants – but this September I found myself in a neat line of girls in gowns, on that very stage, at Miss Singapore World.
It still feels a little surreal. I’d woken up one morning to a Facebook message inviting me to join Miss Singapore World. It was one of those “What if?” moments – they had already completed a pre-judging segment, and the night itself was only a few weeks away, but I decided to go with a “Why not!” and put my best stiletto-ed foot forward.
The pageant night came all too soon. As we stood in a line backstage readying ourselves to take the stage, I tried to calm my nerves. I’d walked in fashion shows a few times, but pageants were a whole new challenge – who hasn’t seen YouTube videos of embarrassing Q&A segments and girls tripping over gowns at pageants?
I took a few deep breaths and decided to give it my best shot. The lights went on, the cue was given, and I went on stage with no expectations, a bounce in my step – and a big smile.
When they not only announced my name in the Top 10 line up, but also for the Miss Personality and Miss Photogenic titles, I was over the moon. The cameras flashed as they put the sashes on me – I felt like a star! I was really close to tears at that point, speechless and surprised. Then came the announcements for Top 5, Top 3, and the heart-stopping moment that arrived with “Top 2”. I was finally named the First Runner-up!
They put the tiara in my hair, added the sash across my shoulders, and presented me with my prizes, which included a talent contract with a local movie production house. I waved and mouthed a grateful “thank you” to the judges, who were beaming and clapping. It was perfect – I savoured every moment of it. Backstage, the make-up artists and gown sponsors showered me with enthusiastic congratulations.
The biggest surprise of all was my little brother Nick turning up at the stage. “Kim, Kim, come on, let’s take a selfie!” he went, in his usual way. “You’re here!” I shrieked. I hadn’t told my family to attend the event since tickets had been sold out. But there he was! “How could I miss it?” he said, as he took the selfie – my favourite photo from that night.