If anyone had asked Madam Audrey Lim to join a beauty pageant two years ago, she would have called them crazy.
She had problems shedding the pounds she put on after giving birth to her twins, a boy and a girl, in 2010. She was 14kg overweight.
"They were premature by 28 weeks, and were only 700g each when they were born," she told The New Paper. "It was tough."
But the 37-year-old, who runs her own real estate agency, eventually got sick of looking like a "balloon".
In 2012, she hired a personal trainer.
"I told her I wanted to lose 5kg only, just to look a bit more toned," she said.
Madam Lim, who is 1.68m, ended up losing 14kg in eight months thanks to running, cycling, calisthenics and a healthy balanced diet.
She is now back to a slim 58kg.
It was her weight loss that inspired her 45-year-old husband, Mr Low Hui, who works in an IT firm, to encourage her to join the Mrs Singapore-affiliated Glamour and Dazzle Mothers' Pageant organised by Jurong GRC and Yuhua SMC last year.
Madam Lim, who grew up a tomboy and never thought she was pageant material, decided to give it a go, surprising herself when she placed second. That gained her direct entry into Mrs Singapore.
"I asked my husband, 'Why didn't you tell me before that I was so fat?'" she said.
"He replied, 'That would have been suicidal.'"
Now, thanks to the Mrs Singapore pageant, she has also found out she has a knack for fund-raising.
After receiving a brief last month from the Mrs Singapore organisers to help raise funds for the Society for the Aged Sick, she raised $18,000 in cash and goods - mainly adult diapers and tins of Milo - within three weeks.
"I just sent out one simple e-mail and asked my clients and friends to pass it on," she said.
"I was surprised when strangers and my friends' friends replied and wanted to help."
When the pageant contestants visited the home last Sunday, Madam Lim took with her one container truck full of diapers. A second delivery will be made in a month.
The mum of three said the fund-raising has brought a whole new dimension to her pageant experience.
She said: "I had never done something like this before, asking people to trust me with their money, but when people started helping and brands like Nestle gave some additional help, the feeling was indescribable."
This article was published on April 18 in The New Paper.
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