Thursday, October 15, 2009

Miss World Malaysia 2009 : Boot Camp/ Training Week

Finally, i have time to sit down and blogged about our boot camp aka training week. I had been crazy busy since i got back from the pageant. I'm gna share my feelings and experiences which i hope can come into handiness or serve as some sort of tips for other first-timers aspiring to participate in MWM or pageants cause it was my first time participating in one.While the usual advise i hear for girls aspiring to participate in beauty pageants will be 'Try from the small ones first b4 entering the big ones', i straightaway went for the biggest and most glamorous one. Main reason being, being a medical student, our timetable is extremely hectic and missing a week of class is no joke. In major postings, every single day counts. I remembered going to Tokyo for a week during my internal med posting and when i was back, it was triple the effort needed to catch up. So, now that i'm in a minor posting, it is not as hectic as the major one, thus i can afford to take the time off.

I remembered going for the selection process not knowing anyone at all, not recognizing any faces and I don't even know who were the judges at the selection then. I just sat there watching tall, slim and pretty girls going in one after another into the selection room, some came out smiling while some came out crying. A lot of girls seemed to knew each other already and were pageant veterans or at least took part in some pageant previously; sharing their pageant stories, experiences and achievements. No one really bothers about me actually cz i don't think anyone thought of me more than 'another-girl-just-trying-her-luck'. It was quite miserable sitting there like you were in an invisible cloak, unnoticed and you might get one or two kind smiles and small talks but thats it. Then there was this guy who went around introducing himself as a blogger who has been actively blogging about beauty pageants and following beauty pageants for years and has the 'experience' of knowing who has potential and who has not. Obviously, this can mess with your confidence and self-esteem especially when he looks at you and give you the 'nah, i dont think you shd be here' look and ignoring your presence, he went on to start telling the 2 girls sitting right beside you that he is sure they will easily get through and be in the top 5 (his prediction wasn't that accurate after all!). But really, remember, he might think he is an 'expert' but he is NO ONE at all to judge you, more so to bring down your confidence. So, i went in, did the interview and believe it anot, all 4 judges gave me the green light on the spot. When i came out of the interview room, i was just so happy. So, it doesn't matter if anyone else thought you were never going to make it, just believe in your own capability, be yourself and do not feel intimidated by others.

Being only a 5"4, i'm consider petite for beauty pageants standard. That can actually be a great disadvantage and is actually one of my greatest disadvantage. But don't let the height issue get to you so much so that it mask up your other potentials. I had learnt that you can focus on other potentials or talents you have and you can still impressed the judges all the same.

As i'm not from KL, i had to travel with my luggage which consists of a huge one for the clothes, another bag for shoes, another one for my laptop and another one for the rest of the stuff, which i found out later that the number of stuff i brought was only the tip of the iceberg to what some other girls brought. Thankfully, i managed to book cheap flights some time ago and had Mich and Matt to offer me transport and accommodation in KL. :)

Michelle and me having breakfast b4 i officially went for my boot camp.

Our boot camp/ training was 5 days and we were fortunate to have Sunway sponsoring us our accommodation. Our schedule for the 5 days was very hectic which left us all always rushing for time and very tired at the end of the day. We had photo shoots, catwalk and grooming sessions, rehearsals and visits among others. But it was all for our own good, to helped us prepared ourselves better for the night. Hazel and Nisha were our 2 very wonderful, helpful and amazing "mamas"(chaperons) throughout the whole week. They were also 2 very important people to us. We were told about punctuality right from the start and it is very important to be punctual. If we were supposed to meet at 7.30 am, it actually means that we have to be there at 7.20 am. We were also told our roommates and the dos and don'ts throughout the pageant.

Most of our activities and trainings were held at the meeting room at Sunway Convention Centre. Among the don'ts included no meeting of anyone (family, friends) throughout the whole week and no leaving the hotel without permission. We were basically only going between our hotel, Sunway Pyramid and the convention center and until we went out for visits, i really really missed the sun, breathing the natural air and the natural environment instead of being in full blast air-conditioning environment 24/7.

The first briefing with Amin

Laura, another first-timer and me

Yuh Wen and me

Everyday, we were expected to put on our own make up and do our own hair and be in high heels until our feet grew blisters. I had several plasters over my feet cz of that. Forget the 2 inches and throw away your 3 inches. It's 4 inches and above i'm talking about. Despite it being not good to our spine, we still had to endured it. We wore the heels for the whole day, on some days, more than 12 hours. When i took off my heel at the end of the day, i can barely feel my feet at all. I can hear my toes crying and screaming and all you want is to pamper them with a good foot massage or soak them in warm water with salt. Even if you don't have salt, try soaking them in warm water and that really soothed the aches. On our 2nd day, we had morning calls from H and N. They came knocking on our door at 7am in the morning with the entire video crew and many of us got caught totally unaware, still in pajamas and make upless. But i was lucky, cz it was only our 2nd day so i woke up b4 the morning call came and had already changed and had partial make up on.

It was about one month from the selection process to our gala night. I'm a person who can't resist good food but at the same time, i do realized that this is a beauty pageant, so even though we are not judged entirely on our physical appearance, it still counts. And of course, you don't want to have that unsightly piece of fat showing when you are in your bikini right? One month is very little time actually if you really need to lose those fats but i seriously cut down on the stuff i ate, especially yummy but fattening food like cheese, cakes and mooncakes. It was not easy at all ok having to resist those cheese when someone is eating lasagna or pizza opposite you. And although we had buffets for every meal, you still need to watch what you ate. I love the hotel bread and butter pudding the most. It was simply the best among all the other stuff they had. On normal basis, i can easily go 2-3 rounds on that, but during the entire week, we shared one slice with the whole table.

Sometimes, there's a lot of waiting to do. Like waiting for make up, hair do, photo shoots and even for the video footage. On our first photo shoot for the souvenir mag, i had to wait like 3-4 hours b4 it was my turn to do my hair. Also whenever we want to walked from one destination to another, we had to walked and queued in pairs. Just like when we were in primary 1 or 2, going everywhere two-by-two holding hands. Of course, we dropped the holding hands part. :p. But in a way, we looked more disciplined like this and not scattered all away and it also make things easier for our chaperons to know if anyone was missing.

When i first saw our evening wear by Nazleen Noor, i was so excited and in awe. The gowns are so gorgeous and colorful. My gown is a shade of orangy-yellow and i absolutely love them. We had to take very good care of our gowns as not to spoil them cz they are very expensive and it was very kind of Nazleen to sponsor us our gowns.

Airing our sashes. Our sashes came with a weird 'sotong-ish' smell that stay even until today!

One of the make up artist from Definite, Tracy doing my make up for me. At the end of each make up session, Sheng would checked and make sure we were happy and satisfied with our make up. For each photo shoot session, the make up artist and hairstylists were constantly there diligently doing touch up for us to ensured we always look good.

After we finished our photo shoots, we grabbed some time to take pictures

Oh-so-pretty gowns :)

Honestly, i did not quite like my hairstyle that day. I thought it make me looked more mature.

Christy, my roomie and me

Gabby, me and Jesintha who lives next door and would knocked on my door to make sure me and Christy had woke up for the subsequent mornings

We looked like traffic light don't we? hehe (Red, yellow, green)

We were very fortunate to have Cilla Foong, the modelling guru herself who produces many of Malaysia's top models to taught us catwalks and poised and self-grooming. I definitely benefit a lot from her sessions. Words that sound alienated to me initially are now familiar. She is one very elegant and poised woman. I had never done a proper catwalk b4 and Christy said my walk was too 'kaku' on the first day and she helped me 'soften' up my walk and thanks to her and Cilla, i think i managed to walked with more grace and poised on the final night. (i hope! hehe). Catwalk is not something we can master in one day or two. It may looked easy but the truth is, there are a whole lot of varieties of catwalks and practice needed. For one, pageant and modeling catwalks are not the same.

Grooming class with Cilla. She taught us how to sit elegantly. Rule no. 1 - No slouching!

At the end of our catwalk session where we all went 'This is Miss World Malaysia'. :D

Another thing i really enjoyed about MWM is the charity work involved. Every time i see them smile, it warms my heart deeply and makes me smile too. They taught me the simplicity of life and i felt that being so blessed and lucky to be born normal and have a good family, i should do something to helped those that are not as lucky as i am. At SMK Sunway, we had the opportunity to spend some time with the less fortunate students. We divided ourselves into 3 groups and planned separate activities for the students. We sang, danced and played games with them. I also folded dog shaped balloons for each of the students under our group with the help of the rest of my group mates. There were about 20 of them only. Fortunately i brought enough balloons.

Dog-shaped balloons. Both of that were shrink ones. After one week of folding them.

Getting to know each other

Admiring the students arts and craft works

Playing ayam dan musang, one of the most popular childhood game in my time. We demonstrated to the students first how to play b4 getting them to join us.

Josiah wanted to be the big bad wolf so we all became the little chicks. It was a lot of fun, running and laughing with the students.

With the headmistress and parents. The parents were so kind to prepared breakfast for us.

Other than SMK Sunway, we also went to stART once again. This time we were divided into 4 groups; the drama, music, dancing and arts and crafts. I was glad i choose to be in the drama group because i met Teeba once again. She told us more of her movie ideas and when we got her to act, she could act very well too. We also put on a short play for them and tried to get the rest of the children to act and role play. It was a very fun session and certainly the children put many smiles on my face that day.

To fully prepared ourselves for the grand finale, we had to hit the gym to get into shape. We went to Celebrity Fitness at Sunway Pyramid for personal training sessions with the gym instructors and also had a Zumba aerobic class. Zumba incorporates several dance moves which included Latin, cha cha and belly dancing. It was something new, i never tried aerobic like that before but it was very sassy and definitely tested our muscles.

1,2 step, 1,2 turn. The almost half an hour session left me with accelerating pulse rates, speedier chest expansions and complaining muscles.

But, i had a good time working out. It felt good to sweat and get my body toned.

Photo credit of Sakae Sushi

After working hard at the gym, we were treated to a good lunch at Sakae Sushi. It is actually one of my fav conveyor-belt type Jap restaurant.

Photo credit of Sakae Sushi

The plush toys of Sakae. So cute!

Photo credit of Sakae Sushi

Me with the small frog

Now i had the big frog. :p

Photo credit of Sakae Sushi

With the managers and supervisors (i assume) of Sakae.

After a good and satisfying lunch.

We then head down to Definite counter at Parkson where we met Stanley. He told us a piece of good news that got us all grinning and smiling widely.

Ta-da... We were given each a bottle of the latest skincare product from Definite - the Hydra Swiss Spa Cosmetic Water that i'm currently using religiously. It is non sticky or greasy and does not have any fragrance. I like. :)

Photo credit of Definite Cosmetics

While some girls started trying out the various cosmetics Definite have at the counter, i had my make up redo cz my falsies was making my eyes very uncomfortable.

With Stanley and Jo.

Then we also had our bikini photo shoot day. It was a very important photo shoot day as the Miss Schwarzenbach Beach Beauty will be chosen base on this photo shoot. Want to know the secret of looking shiny and glossy in pics? It's the baby oil!

Sheng touching up my make up

Some people can do sultry very well, some can do sexy, some can do angry, some brings out coolness and some are just best being sweet and smiley. I belong to the type that do best sweet and smiley. Maybe i need to practiced more the other looks to be more versatile.

The last pic we managed to take b4 kena marah cz The Star was doing a shoot for us as well so after we finished the photo shoot with Raymund, we were supposed to go for The Star shoot and we have to be on stand by cz after one girl finished her shoot, another girl must take over immediately. There was no time for waiting and no time to waste. So they don't want us to lose our concentration by being too engrossed in taking our own pics instead.

This was one of the most emotional night. We were put through 2 very challenging trials which included the elimination process and i believe from the trials, what really shows is our personality. I had learn a lot from that night itself. Put together 19 pretty and intelligent girls, and there will definitely be some sort of drama, cat fights maybe(although i don't think there were any among us) and undeniably the bit**es. There's really no point in being a bit** or being selfish and make yourself not well liked or making others life miserable cz when people know what a bit** you are, you are not going to win. Definitely, we all want someone with a good personality and character to represent our country as well.

Dress to the nine. :)

The day before the grand finale was the pre-judging day. The very important day. That was the day that we will all finally know who the judges were. The judges can be anyone at all, so don't be surprised if the porter turns out to be one of your judge. We were only allowed to be in our bikini and as i was the first one to go in, i was very very nervous. Honestly, i do not recognized half of the judges when i walked into the room but that can be a good thing because not knowing how influential they are, you'll feel less intimidated and can get adapt more quickly. One huge mistake i made was not planning my 2 mins properly. We were given 2 minutes to basically promote ourselves, letting the judges know us better and to impressed them. I think we shd have a reminder bell at 1 min so that at least we know how much time we are left. haha. Baseline is, you shouldn't lose your confidence at all and actually you don't have to get too nervous because although the judges might shoot you questions that you are not comfortable or familiar with, it's not about getting the right or wrong answers at the end of the day. It is how well they remember you as who you are that matters.

After the pre-judging session, we had a cocktail party by the poolside where we had the opportunity to mingled with the judges. This was a test to our social skill and if you think you had not done well enough earlier, this might be a chance for you to made up to it.

For me, it was an opportunity to get to know who the judges were. Remember, i don't recognized half of them. So, i just told them honestly i did not knew who they were and surprise surprise. They were not offended at all and it became a good starter of our conversations. I think it's better to be honest than trying to cook up something and in the end make a fool out of yourself.

With Pietro from morning show

Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa group director of sales, Mr. Wilfred Yeo

Suria FM chief operating officer Engku Emran Engku Zainal Abidin who had introduces himself as 'husband of ex Miss World Malaysia'. He is actually husband of Erra Fazira.

TV presenter and producer, Joanne de Rozario

The lady behind our stunning kebaya and beautiful evening wear, Nazleen Noor

The absolutely gorgeous Jaslene Gonzalez, winner of ANTM cycle 8. I think all of us can't take our eyeballs off her.

She obliged to every single photo request. So hard to believed she is actually here in Malaysia!

3,2 and 1. The petite ones.

Miss World Malaysia 2008/2009 - Soo Wincci

I think most of you that had been following the webisodes (or if you had not, you can watch it here ) will notice that some girls had more airtime than the rest of the girls. Most of my friends asked me 'Why do we always see the same few girls being interviewed or in the video only? Is there favoritism?' Well, some of the girls were definitely media favorites and thus, the more the public see of them, the more the public will know them and they became quite a crowd fav too. I don't think this is fair to the other girls who had less media exposure cz i know some of them who had great potentials and talents too but because they got very little coverage or exposure, that's why the public don't quite know who they are. And as Sue Lynn had put it very nicely, the gurus should not name their favourite contestants as this can affect the public judgment towards the girls. We surely can't compare someone with no experience whatsoever in pageants and modeling to one that has done numerous modeling shows or pageant veterans, can we? Obviously the ones with experiences are going to performed much better than the greenhorns so i don't think names shd be mention in the videos.

Well, although i did not win, but im really happy that Thanuja had won. She truly deserved the crown. I was sad for a while no doubt but as everyone had said, winning isn't everything and losing is not the end of the world. This is just a beginning for me. When i looked back at all the pictures now, each of the picture speaks a thousand words and brings back memories that could not be exchange for anything in this world. I had never seen myself in the newspaper more than i had for the past weeks. Oh well, a reminder to the papers, please don't cut away ANY girls at all from the group picture cz it's quite upsetting to those that got cut away jz cz they are always standing at the side. Coming back to what i had said earlier, give EVERYONE a FAIR chance of publicity. And to future girls who got cut away, don't be despair or feel upset. Just because you got cut away does not mean you are less qualify to win or less talented. Be strong and dont get intimidated. Believe in yourself and continue to work hard!! I had my ups and downs throughout the whole pageant, my insecurities and times when i lose confidence with myself, but it is through times like this that true friends prevail. Treasured the times spent together cz 5 days is just too short. I agree that we don't click well with everyone but at the very least just be helpful and kind to each other. You can put on a mask and fool the audience and even the judges for now, but even if you had won then, you won't be able to go really far in your life.

I like to thank so many people that had worked so hard with us throughout the whole competition that makes my entire journey more memorable and awesome; our 2 dearest chaperons, Pei Yee who took care of our wardrobe and make sure we look good all the time, Ian and Justin who had to run around taking care of all the 'small' things, Amin, Raymund, Chong, Dom, Cilla, the make up crew, the hairstylist, Stephen the cameramen who took all those amazing pics you see (those with the watermarked StephenLow photography), the video crew, the teachers at SMK Sunway, the people at stART and everyone else i failed to mention. I'm also so grateful and touched by the ever continuous support from my family, DD, my close friends, friends and my blog readers. Those kind words of encouragement meant a lot to me and knowing that i had so much love and support kept me going strong. And i know some of you had been voting so hard for me and your computer even breakdown because of that. I'm truly truly touch and grateful for your efforts and support.

I won't forget my passion and i do hope i can travel the world someday to do humanitarian work and blogged about it so that everyone can share my passion and the things i do. I will continue to work hard and maybe if time allows, enter another pageant again? haha. Hope you guys enjoy reading yet another long post from yours truly. :D

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." -Mother Theresa

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Wow it must have been an amazing experience! I was totally blown off just by reading it.

And Jaslene was there! That's HUGE! =)

I feel you on the height issue. I wish we spent more time together! Let's hang out?
And... Thank you for Diflam.
I definitely needed them. :)


i like this post ^^ thanks for taking the effort to write down your experience. i enjoyed reading this a lot... and my goodness, jaslene was there....!

kent : it was. it was a totally awesome experience that teaches me a lot :)

Yuh Wen : Babe! I wish we had more than 5 days to know each other better :). Sure, when i go to KL, i will let u noe or if you need some traveling partner, let me noe :) Hope u r well already now. No worries about the Diflam ;) Take care ok hun?

Whsy : U r most welcome. It took me quite a while writing it all down. hehe. and yup, Jaslene was there. So hard to believe right? :p

Thanks for sharing your very detailed experience in MWM. You're a strong girl!!! wish i could have spent more time with ya~

kuntong : hahaha.. thanks.. i'm still learning and had a long way to go.

Charlene : U r most welcome Charlene. Couldn't access u r blog! I had my weak times too seriously :). We can still hang out more. If you ever drop by KT or JB, just lemme noe. ;)

Thanks for dropping by my blog yesterday. Well written experience here. Stay well. And, I'll take yur advise on 'seeing another doctor' in the future...and yes...u r 'my' budding doctor :)

Don care about wat other said, u hav bloggers here to support, hahahaha ~ all the best ya, nice experience! Go ahead ! :)

Wilfred : Don't mention it. Thank you ;)

Kai and Baobei : Thats something really good to hear. Very happy just seeing that. haha. Thank you all really.;)

hihi...i like your's very interesting...may i know how you actually sign up for the MWM?
and what are the criterias to enter?

amelia : Hi, glad you enjoy the read. You can join MWM at their facebook page. They have the updates there. Criteria? Malaysian, 18-24, loves charity and someone different, has good personality and the rest of it will be in the form :)

Oh..luv that ayam and musang game,can see from the picture everyone is just like going back to childhood time,real joyful and heart contented. Rarely can have a adult grp playing and having real fun of it..amazing

anonymous : hehe. It was amazing and a lot of fun reliving childhood days :D

Great article as for me. It would be great to read something more about that matter. Thank you for giving that information.
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Hi Allison,wats the purpose of you to participate at mwm???May i Know?

5 stars : I just want to have an experience of a lifetime :)