Miss Universe: Go big or... wear a beard

Miss Universe: Go big or... wear a beard
Singapore’s Miss Lisa Marie White in her national costume designed by Frederick Lee during a fitting.
PHOTO: The New Paper

Her larger-than-life national costume for Miss Universe earned her compliments during a showcase held after the pageant's preliminary round on Wednesday night, ahead of the finals on Sunday night in Las Vegas.

Featuring a batik cheongsam top attached to a red sequinned skirt, a towering headdress and a 3m-wide foam orchid harness created by local designer Frederick Lee, the outfit was right at home among other similarly elaborate ensembles.

Miss Universe Singapore Lisa Marie White told The New Paper yesterday over the phone from Las Vegas: "I thought my national costume was huge until I saw all these other OTT (over-the-top) outfits that the others wore. It was so crazy, it felt like we were part of an amazing circus."

The 22-year-old freelance model added: "Miss Spain, who pasted a beard on her face, wore a costume that was fun, outrageous and goofy, like her personality. She told us she just wanted to have fun with it. Miss Indonesia's outfit weighed 27kg and she was such a good sport about it."

Miss Austria, Amina Dagi, also wore a beard as she channelled fellow Austrian, singer and drag queen Conchita Wurst, who won the Eurovision Song Contest last year.

During the preliminary round, which will determine who makes it to the Top 15, Miss White catwalked in a bikini and her evening gown.

Thankfully, she was spared from a beauty queen's worst nightmare - falling on stage.

She was initially worried as she had tripped over her dress once during a rehearsal.

But Miss Myanmar, May Thaw, was not as lucky, taking a tumble during the preliminary round.

"She recovered so well, I was not sure how I would be if I had done the same," said Miss White.

While she trained religiously back home before she flew to Las Vegas late last month, she admitted that she has not had time to hit the gym due to her hectic schedule.

"We can use the gym but rehearsals go on from morning to night," she said.

"Every day, I wake up, put on my make-up, go for rehearsals, come back and go to sleep. It has been exhausting but I am having the time of my life."

Miss White, who is of Malay-Kiwi descent, is just days away from the competition of her life, where she will battle against 79 other contestants from around the world for the crown.

The Miss Universe finals will be shown live on Monday at 8am on Star World (StarHub TV Ch 501/Singtel TV Ch 301).


She might be in the company of some of the most beautiful girls in the world, but Miss White is not daunted by her competition.

"I believe everyone is equally beautiful both inside and on the outside and that is why we are all here. Being in the competition has made me realise that I am not perfect, but I am perfectly myself.

"The most important thing is that I am happy with who I am and I am comfortable in my own skin," she said.

Miss White has bonded most with her roommate, Miss Indonesia, Anindya Putri, whom she plans on visiting next year, and Miss Cayman Islands, Tonie Chisholm, among others.

She had been warned about the catty nature of pageants and is surprised her journey has been drama-free so far.

Still, bad eggs are inevitable.

"There are a few (contestants) who do think they are better than others and it is a pity the audience doesn't get to see that they are not as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside," she said.

With the grand finals looming, Miss White is focused on doing her best and having fun.

"No matter the outcome, I will be happy," she said.

"I will be so sad when I have to go home the day after the competition. This has been such an amazing experience."

Top 5 craziest national costumes


Dressing like everyone else is clearly a drag, which is why she showed up as Austrian singer and drag queen Conchita Wurst, who won the Eurovision Song Contest last year.

Miss Amina Dagi, 20, explained her costume on her Instagram page: "Miss Universe Organisation conveys the message of confident beauty and being comfortable in your own skin. I want to share this message by appearing (in) my National Costume at #missuniverse designed by @aviadarikherman #courage #tolerance #acceptance #freedom".


We're got another hairy situation here thanks to her indecisiveness, so she settled on becoming half-man, half-woman. Don Quixote - or Don't Quite Cut It?


This screams "ride me!" or "check out my headlights!" Fortunately, nobody tuk-tuk her seriously.


There is a strong urge to pin this image of her onto my Pinterest board titled "Bathroom tile options".


This is a head-scratching puzzle all right. But I must admit the idea is quite cube, oops, cute

This article was first published on Dec 19, 2015.
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