SINGAPORE: The 14 finalists of this year’s Miss Universe Singapore have been revealed.
And organisers said the calibre of contestants keeps getting better.
This year’s pageant could also be the last in which only natural—born women are allowed to compete.
From next year, the rules will be changed to allow transgender women to compete.
Fourteen leggy beauties from undergraduates, to an entrepreneur, and a marine fuel trader — all vying for the top spot of becoming the next Miss Universe Singapore.
The Miss Universe Singapore grand final will be held on 9 September with the winner going on to represent the country on an international scale at the Miss Universe pageant in December.
Errol Pang, organiser of Miss Singapore Universe Pageant and also president & CEO of Derrol Stepenny Group of companies, said: "As I learn from each pageant, I think more and more intelligent girls are coming forward and they’re not shying away from beauty pageants. And every year, we have a better and better crop."
This year, they’re also championing various non—profit causes, from environment to international human rights.
Vanessa Tan is a former Miss Singapore Universe finalist and has been training the contestants in etiquette and catwalk since April.
She said: "This year was more interesting because they came in with the sole purpose of wanting to raise awareness for a particular cause. They’re using this platform to create greater awareness so there’s a consistency in terms of what they have been doing."
Sharmaine Toh, student and a Miss Universe Singapore finalist, said: "I’m actually Indian, Malay and Chinese. So I feel I represent Singapore culturally.
"This year, there has been a lot of debate about what kind of representatives should we look for — I mean if you send purely Chinese ones or like the Eurasian ones, which people seem to think give us an advantage — it’s a question of who represents Singapore.
"And I feel being a mixture of Asian races gives me the exotic side as well as the like we’re not just selling ourselves by sending European—looking people to give us that advantage."
The local pageant comes on the heels of a controversial change in ruling which will allow transgender women to participate in the Miss Universe pageant for the first time, from next year.
Local organisers have said they will abide by these rules although they have not given any specific details on the new rules.
With the new rules, local organisers said, natural—born female contestants may find the competition more challenging from next year.
Penelope Pang, director, Derrol Stepenny Promotions, said: "A lot of them (natural—born female contestants) will be competing with transgenders who’ve had, obviously, plastic surgery, but then it’ll be obviously up to them as well to compete in other ways — their wit, intelligence and natural beauty."
Organisers said they hope to get specific details of the new rules by early next year.
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