Of Indian and Chinese parentage, Rishon Shun, 21, beat 13 other finalists to be crowned Miss Perak Tourism 2015 on May 16 in Ipoh, and take on the responsibility as tourism ambassador for Perak for one year. She walked away with a tiara, sash and trophy as well as cash prize of RM6,000, a pearl necklace with precious topaz worth RM20,000, a holiday package for two to Korea, beauty and skin care products, among other gifts.

The slim and lanky Rishon, who stands at 174cm tall is from Teluk Intan and currently a second year student majoring in English Language at Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) in Kampar, Perak.

With aspirations to be a model, Rishon took the contest as a challenge to better herself. She said, “I participated in the pageant for the opportunity to improve myself. I wanted to see how far I could go. I am surprised to be crowned the winner in my first attempt at a pageant.

“Initially, my mother did not support my participation as she thought that I would not have the chance to win and also because the pageant clashed with my examinations. However, she changed her mind after seeing how determined I was, and even helped me by soliciting for votes. She also attended the grand final, which boosted my confidence.”

Rishon, an only child from divorced parents, was the early favourite who garnered the most public votes via a social media mobile application for a week running up to the Grand Final. The votes made up thirty percent of the total score, and carried the subsidiary title of Miss Popularity, which Rishon bagged.

Commanding the runway that night, she eloquently answered the question on how she could promote Perak should she be crowned the winner. She replied, “I feel that the best way to reach out to the masses is through a blog where I could share my personal experience of Perak, not only about places of interest but also our culture and traditions.”

Amidst boisterous support from the crowd, Rishon was also awarded the Miss Glamorous and Miss Elegant subsidiary titles.

L-R: 2nd runner-up Nicole Tan Pi Yao, Miss Perak Tourism 2015 Rishon Shun, 1st runner-up Davina Naidu

L-R: 2nd runner-up Nicole Tan Pi Yao, Miss Perak Tourism 2015 Rishon Shun, 1st runner-up Davina Naidu

The finalists paraded in resplendent traditional dresses, followed by designer clothes and evening gowns because Miss Tourism is not a conventional beauty pageant as it has always been about the promotion of tourism, culture and friendship.

First runner-up was customer service executive from Ipoh, Davina Naidu. The twenty-year-old said, “I participated in last year’s pageant and was not placed. I am glad that I did not get discouraged and instead, persevered. The contest was a great platform for me to improve in all aspects. I gained knowledge and discipline, not forgetting friendships with the other contestants.

“It was odd at first, being the only Indian but over time, we became like a big family. I’ll definitely give my best at the national final and hope to make Perak proud. Thank you to everyone who had staunchly supported me throughout my journey in the pageant.” For her win, Davina took home a tiara, sash and trophy, plus RM4,000 cash and other sponsored products.

Second runner-up was Nicole Tan Pi Yao from Ipoh, who six months ago was crowned Miss Cheongsam in Miss Perak Culture & Charity Night 2014. One of the more articulate finalists that night, Nicole paid tribute to her parents. She said, “I am appreciative of the support from my parents who have always encouraged me to take part in contests like these as they believed that I could stand up to the challenge. In Miss Perak Tourism, they also canvassed for votes on my behalf.

“Pageant contests can really transform someone to be better and of course, expand our social circle, which will be advantageous in my future endeavour in public relations, marketing and even entrepreneurship.” The 25-year-old Mass Communication student took home a tiara, sash and trophy, RM2,000 in cash as well as other gifts.

Nicole was also awarded the Miss Loving Heart subsidiary title.

Other subsidiary titles were Miss Social Media Queen, Miss Charming and Miss Friendship won by Beatrice Ng; Miss Lifestyle and Miss Personality won by Elaine Chong; Miss Trendy and Best in Talent won by Elaine Yeoh; Miss Photogenic (Caryn Chooi); Miss Radiance (Cindy Poon) and Miss Charity Queen (Fifi Leong). Besides the sash, all subsidiary titles carried a cash prize of RM500.

The top three winners will represent Perak to compete against eighteen other finalists in the national grand finals to be held in Kuala Lumpur in September and vie for the chance to be crowned Miss Malaysia Tourism, who will then represent the country in the Miss Tourism International 2015 World Final in Vietnam in November, competing against contestants from 65 other countries.

Congratulating the winners, franchise owner of the Miss Tourism title Tan Sri Datuk Danny Ooi said, “These top three winners will be on equal footing with the other 18 finalists when they compete in the national-level pageant. For these ladies, preparation for that competition begins now.”

Earlier in the evening, the organiser of the pageant, My Stage Production Sdn. Bhd. presented cash donations to three charitable organisations: Lions Club of Ipoh Heritage, Persatuan Daybreak and Persatuan Penganut Agama Buddha Druk Tharpa Choling (Penang).

Note: An edited version of this article [Ravishing Rishon] was published on 30th May, 2015, in the now-defunct The Malay Mail.

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