By Bong Forouzan
Who will be crowned Miss Pearl of Asia UK 2014?
On Saturday, 29th November 2014, sixteen (16) beauties of different Asian ethnicity will be competing for the illustrious crown and tittle Miss Pearl of Asia UK 2014 at Camden Centre, Judd Street, Kings Cross, London WC1H 9JE.
Miss Pearl of Asia UK is a pageant with a difference. It was established not only to showcase Asian inherent physical beauties but to foster Asian cultures and help break poverty cycle through charity institution. The pageant’s ultimate goal is “to help raise awareness on sponsoring children in need. MPOAUK supports child-centred community development organisations known to help children and families around the world to break the cycle of poverty.”
Reigning crowned Miss Pearl of Asia 2013, Karmen Tang (Hong Kong) is currently sponsoring a child in the Philippines under the SOS Children's Village charity care. Throughout the year Karmen liaised with the Village to receive letters and photos of her sponsored child as well as create long lasting friendship through exchange of letters. Furthermore, Karmen’s efficiently secured a £250 donation from her current employer for this year’s MPOAUK’s SOS Children’s Village charity funds.
[The SOS Children’s Village is a recognized charity institution known to help prevent children from ending up alone. Orphaned and/or abandoned children brought in their care are provided with a loving family home in an SOS Children’s Village along with quality education and healthcare. SOS Children’s Village has been transforming young lives for over 60 years, along with associated community programmes, in 125 countries around the world, specially Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas.]
“We are extremely passionate about children in need, and are lucky to share this appeal with our beautiful contending Pearls who are more than willing to raise awareness and support children in need,” says Michelle Trotter, MPOAUK Director of Marketing & Events.
MPOAUK’s charity projects are not all for overseas cause. Last year’s 1st runner up winner, Vivienne Roa (Philippines), had the opportunity to visit youth groups and gather Christmas gifts donated by sponsor D-Dance for distribution to hospitalised children at Newham General Hospital, unable to go home for Christmas.
The pageantry is in its second year running, founded by MPOAUK (Miss Pearl of Asia UK Ltd) with founder, Miss Diana Bieles, at the helm. Diana, with credits 11 years entertainment and choreography experience, takes pride of MPOAUK’s success from the efficient assistance of her team comprise of Mirella Rambuyon (Managing Director), Michelle Trotter (Director of Marketing & Events), Krystle Tolentino (Director of Business Development), Jennifer Umali (PR & Marketing Manager), Louise Tolentino (Management Assistant), Sharon-Lin Harwood (Online Pr & Marketing Assistant), Levenia Obligacion (Online Pr & Marketing Assistant) and Sarah Jane Salvador (Online Pr & Marketing Assistant.).
2014 Candidates “UK is a playground of different ethnicities but [we] are still uncultivated with each other’s cultures even within the Asian community... The pageant’s objective is not only to showcase and educate each other on the multitude of cultures in Asia but also to foster these cultures to other ethnicities nationwide,” claims MPOAUK.
On its debut production last year, there were nine (9) finalists representing seven (7) Asian countries. Following successful debut, this year’s pageant attracted sixteen (16) hopeful ladies, aged 16 – 28, proud to represent their ethnic origin as follows: Afghanistan (Sophia Deen), China (Amy Ma and Dorothy Limo Yang), Hong Kong (Becci Lau and Queenie Mak), India (Sadhana Burman, Anita Devi, Meghna Divecha, Akshata Kamath, Gurbani Mehta, Kethosee Nagi, and Aleesha Toor), Lebanon (Fifi Komaira), Philippines (Jameelah Bowden), Thailand (Geerati Thatsanasuwan), United Arab Emirates (Mona Sami), and Vietnam (Annie Yang-Mac).
These hopeful Pearls are set to compete for crowns, titles and corresponding prizes (cash prize, sash, trophy and bouquet). The crowned MPOAUK 2014 will also receive three years funding to sponsor an SOS Village child sponsored by D-Dance Production. Crowned Miss Pearl of Asia UK 2014 and her court (major runner-up titles) will receive additional cash prizes sponsored by MPOAUK. Miss Popularity will get one (1) return ticket to an Asian country of her choice (terms and condition applies). Cash prizes are also at stake for category awards namely, Best in Traditional Wear, Swim Wear, Formal/Evening Gown. And lastly, recognition for achievement awards – Miss Social Media calculated by the highest votes through a voting poll site directed from MPOAUK’s website and facebook page; Miss Endeavour judged by the MPOAUK team for perfect attendance, passion and commitment to the pageant; Miss Popularity chosen as the highest fundraiser (door ticket sales, raffle tickets, sponsorship and donations); Miss Photogenic nominated by pageant judges and MPOAUK photographers; and Miss Congeniality chosen from the votes of fellow candidates. For your own consideration here are the sixteen finalists and their claim to fame:
(Afghanistan) Sophia Deen – a budding journalist currently an intern at Amnesty International. She’s had experience presenting at London fashion week interviewing designers and models and have had reports published by local newspapers. She was a model for Hollister and Gilly Hicks and was also a candidate in the Miss Intercontinental beauty pageant. Sophia enjoys acting and takes keen interest in campaigning for human rights.
(China) Amy Ma – is a young fitness fanatic with a genuine flare for learning languages and enjoys as self-therapeutic hobby. She has a fair share of competing in cheerleading tournaments to playing the piano. She is a college sports captain who has lead all-girls-basketball team to win county competitions. She has also done numerous photo shoots for local small businesses.
Dorothy Limo Yang – claims to be a shy lady who started modelling in China and Hong Kong at the age of fourteen (14). She came to England to realise stage-spotlight dreams and build new ones based on travelling adventures. She says “I am chasing my dream now and I am joining the competition to improve my confidence.”
(Hong Kong) Becci Lau – a singer, dancer, commercial/print model, senior make-up artist for Saint Laurent Paris and an experienced host to couture trend shows. She completed BTEC National Diploma in Performing Arts (Distinctions) and BSc (Hons) in Fashion Buying & Financial Management from Manchester University. She is Miss Greater Manchester 2014, one of the top 8 finalists for Miss Grand United Kingdom and won 4th place on Miss G Casino Blackpool 2012. Becci says “previous pageantries were amazing experiences but now I hope to bring home the crown for my country – Hong Kong.”
Queenie Mak – “always the Queen in her mom’s heart” so was she aptly named Queenie. She has modelled for Abercrombie & Fitch in Hong Kong, a finalist of the Propeller TV Presenter competition and was one of the participating beauties of The London Chinese Weekly. Aged 16, Queenie suffered serious skin allergy that made her hate herself but overcame her situation realising that “a real Queen embraces imperfections and accepts flaws; has the ability to admire the beauty of differences in race and gender; and the capability to overlook outer beauty than inner beauty.”
(India) Sadhana Burman – has recently finished BA in English Literature degree which truly proves her passion and interest in literature and people. She prides herself in having an eclectic social group and says “I believe you can learn a lot about the world and define your morals through social contact.” She further adds, “I have no pageant or modelling experiences but I find added achievement in helping young people with school work, particularly the students who may not receive full academic support at home.”
Anita Devi – holds a postgraduate diploma in legal practice and enjoys fitness, travelling and keeping up-to-date with current affairs. She has modelled for various Asian wedding and bridal exhibitions within the UK. Anita also helps raise money for charities such as Help the Aged, Barnardos, Dementia Friends and Alzheimer’s Society. Meghna Divecha – is a diligent student whose pride achievement is continuance of her studies to university level and appreciation of life having surpassed liver failure in 2007. Her courageous recovery inspired her to extend a helping hand to those who are with health issues and raise awareness for various charities. She loves singing, dancing, acting, short story writing and has participated in local community competitions to express her creativity and enjoyment of the arts.
Akshata Kamath – is currently studying a post-graduate diploma in strategic management to complement her BA Business and Finance degree. She also takes great pride in being chosen as Discipline Minister for her school in India in 2005. She has keen interest in cooking, music, bowling, photography, badminton and has conquered her fear of heights through a successful bungee jumping stint in Malaysia in 2008. She dreams and aims to one day work in the fashion industry.
Gurbani Mehta – is a law graduate who has set up her own company, GA Range Ltd, specializing in women’s comfort lingerie. Recently, she became an internal trustee in her local Gurdwara (temple) which brought her closer to her community and gave her the opportunity to contribute towards its betterment. Alongside helping out in her family charity shop in Tooting London she also founded a children’s group (aged 3-15) to help learn their heritage and values. She’s a fun outgoing person who enjoys all aspects of life.
Kethosee Nagi – loves cooking, travelling and fashion styling specially fashion fusion trends for the young that cross East and West cultures. Her achievement list shows Masters degree in Fashion Management and Entrepreneurship, flight attendant Kingfisher Airlines 2008-2011, assistant marketing manager for Radio Indigo in Bangalore (India), model for BMA Models London, Headline models Newcastle, Pomp magazine and Space Models London, current Miss Newcastle British Empire, top 18 finalists for Miss Galaxy England, Miss North East Galaxy 2014 and Miss Charity Galaxy England 2014. “As a model I have juggled my studies and work and thankfully managed to be part of many very satisfying projects – starting with India’s famed Kingfisher calendar model hunt, a reality TV show,” says beaming Kethosee.
Aleesha Toor – loves fashion and believes that “it is an expression and reflection of one’s personality.” She also loves working with charities and helping less fortunate fellowman. She also won the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award and successfully done an 11mile charity walk in aid of autistic children’s charity. “By my small contribution, I can change a person’s life and that for me is the best reward,” said Aleesha.
(Lebanon) Fifi Komaira – claims “My interests are music, singing, fashion, American TV shows and taking part in charity events. Fashion has always been a passion of mine and my dream is to become a fashion stylist. I have worked with stylists such as Marica Morgan on fashion shows and recently assisted on the shoot for the new Gatwick airport campaign.” Fifi has a degree in photography and new media journalism from Roehampton University. She also won Miss Photogenic title in Miss NABA 2011 pageant.
(Philippines) Jameelah Bowden – currently works for award-winning estate agency, Orchards of London as marketing assistant. She enjoys travelling, cooking Filipino food and working with the local communities in West London. Jameelah already won Miss London NABA 2013 and Miss NABA 2013. Work wise, Jameelah is a proud recipient of Lettings Estate Agency of the Year 2014 award, bronze award for Best Marketing and silver award for Customer Service. Her dream achievement is to have her own Filipino restaurant in the heart of London.
(Thailand) Geerati Thatsanasuwan – is currently taking Master Degree in Interior Design after completing in 2012 a BA (Hons) degree in Interior Architecture & Design. During her undergraduate years she was associate president and creative designer of the Thai Student Association in Portsmouth where she organised events and designed community artwork. She was also a finalist in Miss Earth UK 2009 pageant.
(Vietnam) Annie Yang-Mac – an energetic sportswoman who religiously participates in tennis, badminton, girl’s football, swimming, yoga, gym and dancing. She was a backup dancer in ‘Shake’ music video of 2009; 2nd runner up at the dance competition at Shout Bar in London in 2010; film-extra with Mad Dog Agency Ltd and 1st Talent Agency; Accounting & Finance graduated from Middlesex University (Hendon) and top sales associate at Mobile Industry in London Town in 2013.
Miss Pearl of Asia UK 2014 pageantry promises a night of spectacular entertainment… Come and join the excitement this Saturday and see if your chosen lady Pearl wins the crown.//ends