It takes more than good looks to hold the various Mrs Singapore 2015 titles - this year's winners are passionate about community service and charity.
With "Beauty with a heart" as the pageant's motto, these were the areas of focus during the finals of the Mrs Singapore 2015 pageant on May 9, in which Mrs Sheetal Kaur and Mrs Anne Goswami won two of the major titles. Mrs Kaur was crowned Mrs Singapore Globe 2015 and Mrs Goswami was declared Mrs Singapore Universe 2015.
Mrs Kaur and Mrs Goswami entered the Mrs Singapore 2015 competition to raise awareness of the causes that they are championing - Mrs Kaur is in the midst of setting up a foundation for children with cancer in Singapore, while Mrs Goswami and her family have adopted a group of orphans in Chennai and will help to support their living and educational needs.
A friend of Mrs Kaur had a niece who was diagnosed with stage four cancer, and witnessing what they went through to raise funds for her treatment spurred the 35-year-old marketing director to help children in Singapore. "It's a calling," she explained. "I feel that if I can help to prolong the lives of children with stage four cancer by six months to a year and their parents get to cherish that extra time with them, I would definitely do it."
As part of the competition, contestants spent a day with residents at the Society for the Aged Sick and had a month to get donations for them. This year, the society had requested electronic goods like television sets, standing fans and microwave ovens, as it had built a new wing on its premises.
It was a challenge for the contestants to come up with the items. Mrs Kaur came out tops, securing 24 TVs, 24 standing fans and two microwave ovens, all worth around $7,000.
The community day was one of the most memorable for the mother of a seven-year-old son and four-year-old daughter. The contestants spent time with the residents and put up performances for them.
"It was one of the most touching experiences of my life," said Mrs Kaur, adding that the elderly residents "would hold your hand and clap along to the music".
Mrs Goswami was lauded for her community work, which includes her dedication to the orphans that she works with as part of a project she and her family spearheaded, called Arputham Human Wellness (AHW). Since April 2014, AHW has sponsored the education of orphans at an orphanage in Porur in Chennai; distributed basic necessities like rations, clothing, blankets and medicine in a village in Muttukadu; and distributed rations to squatter families, focusing on those who are daily wage workers yet have no home.
"In the next year, we want to set up a library and establish a sports team for the children. We are looking into the possibility of starting a mobile clinic as well," explained Mrs Goswami.
Because she scored highest overall for the community service component, she was named the community ambassador. As part of this title, she will also continue to work with the Society for the Aged Sick.
It was not all about charity work, though. There was also a talent section and a cooking component involving the contestants and their husbands, both of which were held at OneKM shopping mall.
For the talent section, Mrs Kaur did an impersonation of the late artiste Michael Jackson, while
Mrs Goswami did a flamenco dance.
"It was such an enriching journey of self-discovery," said Mrs Goswami on her experience at the pageant. "I enjoyed the process of learning different skills like picking up Latin jazz dance and coming up with a new dish for the cooking segment, and also building friendships with fellow contestants, who are women from all walks of life."
Both women are now preparing for their respective international competitions - Mrs Universe for Mrs Goswami, which will be held from Aug 25 to 30, and Mrs Globe for Mrs Kaur, which will take place from Nov 26 to Dec 6.
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