By PRIYA MENON | Photos by ART CHEN
BEAUTY with brains is the perfect description for the contestants of the Miss Chinese Cosmos South-East Asia 2009 Pageant. The 18 contestants from Singapore, China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia are the cream of the crop from their countries. Organised by the former Miss Cosmos International 2004, Carrie Lee, this is the former beauty queen’s first attempt at a South- East Asia pageant.
“After winning the pageant, I set up my company White Fairy to organise the Miss Cosmos pageant. The national pageant has been going on for five years now,” she said.
The pageant is held over two weeks and began on Aug 7 with various activities like grooming classes, outdoor sports activities and a tour of Malaysia.
The participants have already been to Petaling Street to sample the local cuisine and are off to Penang for team-building sessions.
Lee said she wanted participants to gain confidence and experience what she did in the pageants in Hong Kong.
She said the events planned for the participants might raise a few eyebrows as these were not normally carried out.
“We have planned sports activities like paragliding and hiking in Penang. We want to stretch their ability to the limits to see their true identity,” she said.
The beauty queens are looking forward to the games planned for them.
During a press conference for the pageant that was held on Tuesday at the Palace of Golden Horses, the contestants showed media members that they are eager for an educational pageant.
Malacca lass Ivy Tan Ai Vee, 27, said this was the last year she could join a beauty pageant and she wanted to try something different.
“I also want to learn Mandarin as I was English and Malay educated and do not know much Mandarin,” she said.
Her friend, Chong Hui Yi, 24, said she saw the beauty pageant as a platform to help others.
“I have come to realise that you need to be in a certain position to help others,” she said.
Filipina beauty Kimberly Karen Tan, a model, said she wanted to try something different as she was bored with modelling.
“As models, we cannot speak but as beauty queens we are urged to speak our mind all the time and I enjoy it,” she said.
Indonesian Rasima, 26, said it was all about the Indonesia Boleh spirit.
She has spent a few years in Malacca and feels at home in Malaysia.
The winner will receive RM320,000 – RM20,000 in cash and the rest in kind while the collective amount for the first and second runners-up is RM150,000.
There are also 12 subsidairy titles which will allow the winners to be brand ambassadors for the companies adopting the said titles.
The top three winners will represent their countries at the Miss Chinese Cosmos International pageant 2009 in October.
The final round for the Miss Chinese Cosmos SEA 2009 Pageant will be held at the Palace of the Golden Horses on Aug 21.