Deborah Henry. 26. Malaysia.
Since her crowning on the 27th of January as Miss Universe Malaysia 2011, there has been lots of hype around Deborah being a potential winner at the Miss Universe pageant at Sao Paolo this year. Now I'm a firm believer in 'jinxing' things by talking about that, so I wont. (Sorry guys!).
What I will share with you this:
Debs is an amazing young woman whom I truly respect. And here's 5 reasons why:
1. She walks the talk.
"World Peace" and "Eradicating Poverty" are in the top 5 answers for most cliche Beauty Queens. Deborah runs her very own school for children of refugees in Malaysia. Click here to see more.
2. She is humble and sincere.
If you go back to the Fugee School website, how much of Deborah do you see on it, taking credit? So many people begin foundatons named after themelves, they can't stop talking about how much good they're doing.. What does Debs do? She tweets when she needs volunteering at her school. She humbly asks for help when the school needs it. It's really refreshing to see a celebrity in this day and age not wanting to be all about the limelight.
3. She's determined and disciplined.
The two hardest qualities to find in young girls these days. Most girls want the fast-track to fame and aren't aware (or willing) to put in the blood and sweat that comes along with the job. Reality Check. You'd think Deborah can just sit back and sail through to Miss Universe just because she's done a pageant before? Oh hell no. Samba training twice a week, till she gets blisters on her toes. Gym 4 times a week (minimum), total diet planning, vitamins for hair nails and skin, Portuguese lessons -- and that's all done on her OWN. The Miss Universe Malaysia Organisation is overseeing other things such as: QnA training, wardrobe planning, fitness advice, skin consultation, .. basically the bigger picture items, of which Deb takes it into her own initiative to get there. A National Director really appreciates this bit especially because seriously -- there is nothing more tiring than having to drag a horse to water and trying to force it to drink..!
4. She's professional and sticks by her principles.
"Deb, I think we ned to whiten your teeth, tone up your abs, lower body. You need to increase your muscle mass. And your hair. You need to take multivites. And your skin -- why are you breaking out? Please darling do a million sit-ups before the photoshoot tomorrow to make you abs really pop. Why are your nails brittle? Are you not taking enough Calcium and Vitamin D? Why aren't you comfortable talking about yourself hunny, that's what interviews are about! And hmmm. Perhaps we should get you some facials, eh?"
I'm not the most tactful person in the world -- I get to the point and I get there fast. What I love about Debs is that she takes everything you say into consideration, and uses her own head on (1) whether or not my advice/request is reasonable and (2) if she should follow it. For example: Many girls at Miss Universe have had breast augmenation. It's a fact, I'm laying it out there. I have nothing against it, in fact, for many girls it can make or break winning or whether or not they even make it to the semi finals.
Does Deborah need breast augmentation? No. Would it be a disadvantage against all the other cosmetically enhanced women at Miss Universe? Of course. Did Deborah think about it? Yes. Her answer to getting cosmetic surgery? No. Was I happy about it? Oh yes.
She has her principles and she sticks to them. And whilst she listened to what I had to say, she took no offence whatsoever. She knew everything I said and advised her on was borne out of a sincere want for her to look and be her best.
5. She would make a great Miss Universe.
Coming from Malaysia, growing up in a multicultural home and country, Deborah has proved on her own that she has the guns to stay in the industry. Combined with all her traits above, she is guaranteed to make one of the hardest working, real Miss Universes ever.
Her look trancends all commercially driven racial boundaries, her passion for children ignites hope where she can bring it, and her ability to speak well and forcefully about her thoughts and beliefs would pierce through every stigma that a Beauty Queen may still have in today's day and age.
She would make a great Miss Universe. She really would.
Now I'm sure there are alot of other candidates this year who would make equally impressive winners. I can only speak of Deborah as I've grown to know her personally and professionally. I'd be elated if she won, because she deserves it. But even if she didnt, I'd still be glad that the world got to meet this gorgeous gem of a young woman, who hails from Malaysia.