MALAYSIA - "You can put as much preparation into a pageant as you like, but it's not very different from sitting for an exam or taking part in a sporting competition. You just have to know that you're doing everything to the best of your abilities and hope for a favourable outcome.
"From having been there myself and speaking to others, I know that it's as much about having a positive attitude and mental strength as it is about looks," said Miss Universe Malaysia Organisation (Mumo) mentor and pageant advisor, Elaine Daly.
Before leaving for Australia, Mumo director Andrea Fonseka appointed Daly, who was Miss Universe Malaysia 2004, as mentor and advisor for the new line-up of beauties.
"It's been exactly 10 years since I wore the crown, so it's like coming full circle. Although I didn't win at the grand finale during my reign, being a beauty queen is a subject that I know best about. It's not something I need to read a book about; it's just in my blood. There are countless challenges but it's what I really love to do.
"Right now, I'm trying my best to make a difference with Miss Universe Malaysia 2013 Carey Ng and other future pageant girls."
While many may wonder whether the Miss Universe finals in Russia is going to be another letdown for Malaysia, Daly says at the end of the day, it's a competition, so no one really knows.
"You can be the most beautiful person there is out there, but ultimately, it's always going to be up to the judges. In 2004, when I was representing Malaysia, I was convinced that Miss Mexico was so beautiful and spoke so well -- she was everything. Unfortunately, she didn't even come close to winning.
"Deborah Henry was a front-runner when she was vying for the title in 2011; we thought she would be at least make the top 16. But out of nowhere, Miss Angola stole the crown.
"The ball is round; we don't know what's going to happen. It's akin to going for a casting call. You might think you've nailed it but there may be someone who might not like your eyebrows or would prefer a person with a different skin tone."
Daly said to have a fighting chance, Miss Malaysia had to go into the finals with an "I'm in it, to win it" attitude, not with the mindset that we had never won.
"Carey has done all the groundwork. Now, she has to have a positive attitude because you just never know. This year might be our year."
Ng said although she was feeling nervous, it might work to her advantage.
"My biggest concern right now is ensuring I stay healthy because the weather there is not something we Malaysians are used to. I'm not too intimidated about the European contestants being taller or the other girls looking better.
"But I have to admit that I'm a little concerned that some of the other girls may have had pageant experience while I'm from an architectural background with no catwalk experience."
With the finishing line in sight, Ng is keeping her focus on being bikini-ready.
"I've had to cut down on a lot of things. These days, I only eat fresh food. Junk food is out of the question. I've also had to exercise regularly, with a lot of personal training sessions.
"It's about keeping my body bikini-ready at this point. I wasn't even comfortable walking in high heels before this whole adventure started, so this is going to be quite daunting.
"Although I'm a city girl, I've always been camera shy and self-conscious."
Standing at 1.72m tall, the 25-year-old plans to venture into other areas of the entertainment industry, such as acting and emceeing, after her return from Russia.
"I don't think I know my strengths yet, so I want to try everything. I don't plan to stop when my reign ends."