Slammed for doing well

Slammed for doing well

In 1987, she became the second Singaporean to place in the Top 10 in the Miss Universe pageant.

And Ms Marion Nicole Teo, then 19, came in ninth on home soil. But there were people who said she made it only because she was the host nation's representative.

Ms Teo, now 45, says: "I was just 19, so it was hard not to get upset. I still wasn't expecting to be in the Top 10.

"I recently saw a YouTube video of the announcement. Seeing it brought back so many memories.

"I wasn't very prepared for the pageant. I was such a tomboy and had never seen myself as a beauty queen."

Housewife Victoria Cruz, 54, says: "I remember watching the pageant on our small television set with my husband and young kids at home. We were very excited that the whole world was watching something happening in Singapore.

"I was very happy when Ms Teo was announced as a semi-finalist. It's so rare!

"But my husband, who's always cynical, told me that it was only because we were hosting. But I didn't care. She looked beautiful, so she deserved it."

Ms Teo felt added pressure when she found out that Singapore was the host.

"I knew I had to know more about my country. So the Singapore Tourism Board conducted a few sessions with loads of information," says Ms Teo, who also felt she needed to groom her tomboy self.

"I didn't think I had a chance against the other contestants, who were very beautiful and well-spoken."

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