From The Straits Times    |

Photo: The New Paper

The highly anticipated finale of the prestigious beauty pageant will see one of the women going on to represent Singapore at the Miss Universe pageant held on Nov 26 in Las Vegas.

But the journey to the crown has not been a walk in the park.

Blood, sweat and tears were shed in the effort to keep fit, look their best and upgrade their skills.

For the past couple of weeks, the MUS finalists have been going for deportment and grooming sessions as well as catwalk training to prepare themselves for the big night.

Even though Tanooja Rai, 27, has experience in runway shows as a part-time model, they are different as there are more elements in a pageant walk.



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The cyber defence accounts manager told The New Paper: “I have never walked on a runway in a swimsuit before, and the way we walk is actually dependent on our outfits as they have different effects.

“In a gown, I will have to look elegant. But in a swimsuit, I still have to remember to maintain my smile, be confident and look approachable while enjoying what I am wearing on stage.”

Tanooja is grateful for veteran fashion director and show producer Daniel Boey’s experience and help, as he has been coaching and training the contestants in their runway walk, choreography and sequences on stage.

She said: “He is able to focus on different individuals and easily identify our plus points to bring out the best in each of us.”



Even though Emilbiany Nenggal Intong had her first taste of the runway at modelling competition The New Paper New Face last year as a top 20 finalist, the theatre student still had much to learn.

The 19-year-old said: “For modelling, it is not about me. Instead, I have to make the clothes look good.

“For a pageant walk, I have to exude not only confidence but my own personality.”


Photo: The New Paper


She practises in front of the mirror and has gained more confidence.

Emilbiany added: “I have definitely seen an improvement in my walk, and at this point, I am just really excited to do it for the show (tonight).”



Debra Loi, 24, has no experience in strutting on the catwalk but credits her dance background for helping her remember the choreography and sequence when it comes to a pageant walk.

The registered nurse said: “It is quite easy for me to pick up on the flow of things and I also enjoy watching the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and Asia’s Next Top Model, which has given me some prior knowledge.”

But it still took her two hours and a whole lot of determination to get the hang of doing a half-turn for the walk.




Debra said: “It is a lot harder to do the turns in five-inch heels, especially for full-turns while having to maintain our smiles and pose with the (sarong for the swimsuit segment). But because of the encouragement we receive, all of us practise in our own time.”

Although Rudihra Ramathas, 26, initially struggled with the catwalk as it was a first, she gained many useful tips from the rehearsals.


Photo: The New Paper


The pricing analyst said: “I have learnt it is important to treat the runway as yours and own it so your individuality can shine. It has been an honour to be trained by Daniel Boey, the best in the fashion industry…

“I am excited to have a good time on stage (tonight) together with the other girls.”


This article was first published on The New Paper