Towering above the other 23 finalists at 182cm, Malaccan Danielle Wong Kar Wai, 22, was crowned Miss Malaysia Earth 2015 in Ipoh recently. She will represent the country to compete against 90 other queens from around the world in the Miss Earth pageant to be held at the end of the year in Vienna, Austria.
Wowing the panel of judges with her poise, Danielle first took to the catwalk in a resplendent red traditional baju kebaya, followed by a dress she made herself using recyclable materials of garbage bags and pop tabs, in line with the environmental-friendly theme of the pageant.
The second year business administration student at Quest International University in Ipoh also smartly answered the question posed to her on how we should change our lifestyle to save our planet. She replied, “There are many things that we can do in our daily course of life. Two of the easiest efforts are to replace plastic bags with reusable bags when shopping for groceries and to turn off the air-conditioner when we leave the room. Let’s save Mother Earth together!”
Following four gruelling hours of competition on the night of the final, Danielle was joined on the podium by five runners-up: 19-year-old Janice Tan Heng Li from Kuala Lumpur (Miss Malaysia Eco Beauty), Penangites Yoyo Bek Hwee Shuang, 20, (Miss Malaysia Earth – Fire) and Amreet Kaur, 19, (Miss Malaysia Earth – Air) alongside 18-year-old Sabahans Emily Chung Yee Yen (Miss Malaysia Earth – Water) and Felcy Francsie Julian (Miss Malaysia Earth Eco Tourism).
Miss Earth is the only pageant with individual titles for runners-up and they are named after other natural elements. This annual pageant is said to be the third most glamorous in the world after Miss Universe and Miss World. The evening also saw fifteen subsidiary titles being presented, from Miss Earth Media Gorgeous Award to Miss Cosmopolitan, Miss Charming Look and Miss Tropical Beauty, among others.
For crowd favourite Emily Chung, winning Miss Malaysia Earth – Water title was most apt. During the Q&A session, she was asked what animal she would like to be if she could choose one. Her reply was: “If I could be an animal, I would choose to be a dolphin. I love to swim and it keeps me closer to nature. Therefore, we should always make sure we keep the waters clean because it is not only for ourselves but for our future generation.”
She also won two subsidiary titles, Miss Glamour Look and Miss Yee Hup, plus was declared winner of Best in Traditional Costume in the challenge round.
Besides the tiara, Danielle also took home a sash, RM4000 in cash, an appearance contract, return air ticket to Vienna, Austria, and other sponsored gifts. She also bagged two challenges, Best in Evening Gown and Styling & Catwalk.
Following her crowning, Danielle was at a loss for words. She said, “I didn’t expect to win the title. As you can see, the competition is stiff. I will have to come up with plans to create better awareness on the preservation and protection of the environment. However, I will continue to encourage everyone to reduce the usage of plastic bags. A study found that Malaysians emit 31kg of plastic wastes per person annually, the second highest in the world on a per-capita basis after Sri Lanka. I believe we can jointly make a difference for a cleaner, greener world.”
Note: An edited version of this article [Eco-friendly queen] was published on 24th August, 2015, in The Malay Mail.
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