In a world where beauty is often associated with youth, a pageant like Mrs. Singapore breaks the mould by celebrating a woman’s beauty after marriage and, in many cases, motherhood.
Mother. The word conjures the image of a caring, kind, patient and longsuffering woman who has carried a baby (or a number of babies) in her womb for nine months.
Unfortunately, in today’s culture, women who are married or who have borne a child are considered “mature,” as compared to young women who are still single and who have not given birth. Whether or not this is a barometer for beauty is very much a topic for debate, but it is interesting to note that the “Miss” beauty pageants have an age limit of 27.
The first “Mrs” beauty pageant was Mrs. America, which dates back to 1938. Mrs. World was founded in 1985, and has become a platform to celebrate married women. Young wives, mothers and even grandmothers are eligible to participate. The unique competition brings together married women from the around the world for several purposes: to celebrate the fact that women can be beautiful no matter what age they are, and to voice their opinions about marriage and current events.
In our age-obsessed world, this is a counter-culture event that champions good old-fashioned values such as the joys of being married.
The finals of the Mrs. and Classic Mrs. Singapore Pageant 2010 happen next week. The candidates recently appeared at a meet-the-media press conference at Sapore Italiano.
This pageant sees a total of 32 contestants in two categories: Mrs. & Classic Mrs. The “Mrs” category consists of contestants, aged 22 to 44, from all walks of life, among them a doctor, the wife of a national football striker, models and a company director. Coincidentally, three of the finalists are from City Harvest Church. The “Classic Mrs” category is made up of elegant married women, aged 43 and above.
Feminists might pooh-pooh the fact that these married ladies are still being judged primarily on the basis of beauty, but truth remains that it gives a woman pleasure to be at her most attractive. The pageant hopefuls will be competing in various rounds, namely the catwalk round showing off fashion and evening wear, and the platform round which shows off their charitable works. They will also each be interviewed by the judges and compete on the quality of their answers.
The top three winners will represent Singapore in the International Pageants; Mrs. Singapore World 2010, Mrs. Singapore Queen of Hope 2011, Mrs. Singapore Universal 2011. The Classic Mrs. Singapore 2010 will also be elected.
Contestant Cinthia Choo 48, interior designer said, “Being married for 25 years with 3 kids, I hope to have a feel of what it is like to be on stage. My family and friends have already bought a total of 10 tickets to support me! Through this competition, I hope to be able to represent Singapore as well as to show everyone that married women can still look pretty!”
Angie Ang, 54, is a secretary who does not look a day above 45. She tells City News, “Actually, I had not heard of such a pageant until my boss and colleagues told me about it. They strongly encouraged me to take part. Through this [pageant], I hope to have more opportunities to serve the community, especially the elderly. Being in Mrs Singapore has been a fun experience and I enjoy the new friends I’ve made here!”
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For some of the women, being in a beauty pageant is not a new experience, but still a rewarding one. Tan Li Jin, 35, says, “I previously joined ‘My Lovely Mom Junction 8 2009’ Contest at the encouragement of my husband and decided to join Mrs. Singapore for the rich experience, as well as to boost my self-confidence. Having resided in Singapore for 16 years, during which I met my husband and bore my lovely daughter, I hope to have the opportunity to do my country proud just as I have done so by participating in National Day Parade (NDP) 2009 as a trainer, as well as this year’s NDP 2010 as a participant.”
Each of the women City News spoke to had great reasons for joining the pageant, and for some, the experience has extended to their families as well.
Ariel Ng, 35, a secondary schoolteacher, shares that “my husband is very supportive. He is helping me look after the kids while I prepare for the pageant.”
Ng hopes that through the pageant she can have the opportunity to go beyond community involvement projects in school to “reach out to and support the unprivileged children financially as they represent the future generation and leaders of Singapore.”
For deaf-mute Stephy Ng, 31, this pageant holds great significance for her. “A friend from church asked me to join this pageant. I want to show to the world that I can also be a beauty contestant. I hope that through this pageant, I can create awareness to the public to treat all partially-disabled as equals without any prejudice.” Ng is also serving actively in the community. “In my free time, I teach deaf youth to dance, and I serve at an old folk’s home. I hope that after this pageant, I can help more elderly people and make their lives better.”
This crop of married contestants display a maturity and other-centeredness not commonly associated with beauty contestants. It is clear that the true winners are the husbands of all these women.
Grace Chew, Mrs. Singapore World 2009 and co-organizer and chairwoman of Mrs and Classic Mrs Singapore Pageant 2010, tells City News, “It is encouraging that this year’s batch of contestants come from all walks of life; we have working professionals and business women. This totally complies with Singapore’s modern women image of being a mother, working professional, charitable and role model.” Chew hopes that Mrs. Singapore World would have as much recognition as her Miss Singapore World counterpart. “The young are beautiful, but when they grow older, they become more beautiful and gracious.
“My vision for this year’s Mrs. Singapore winner is that she doesn’t just have the looks, but also graciousness and a passion for playing her part to serve society.”
The Grand Finals will be held on March 27 at Orchid Country Club Ballroom. Tickets are now available for purchase by the public. For more information, contact Tracy Lee at 6733-7747 to find out more. 20 percent of the ticket sales will go to charity organization, Hope Community Centre.