She was shielded from the press in the past. Not any more.
Little Julka Phoenix Lee-Zidov can now proudly tell the world that her mother is former Singapore Idol contestant Maia Lee and her biological father is Croatian Muay Thai fighter Zidov Dominik.
The five-year-old girl was crowned the overall winner of the Little Cinderella Singapore 2014 pageant on Sunday at Downtown East.
Julka, who won the Little Tots category, will represent Singapore in the international pageant in Las Vegas, US, in July.
She beat the winner of the Little Miss category (for older girls) to emerge overall winner.
She will be competing against at least 20 other international contestants in Las Vegas. The winner will get a US$2,000 (S$2,500) educational savings bond, a US$4,000 college scholarship and a diamond pendant.
Lee, 31, admitted that she had hidden Julka from the press in the past because she did not want her daughter to be criticised.
The boutique owner told The New Paper: "I didn't want people to know details about her because then they'll say things like she only won because I'm her mum.
"Since Julka has won every pageant and kid's contest that she has been in since she was seven months old, I feel that she has proven herself.
"So now I'm okay with letting people know that she's my daughter."
Lee was the loudest mum in the crowd as she blew her whistle and sounded her deafening air horn each time Julka, whose pet name is Kaka, took to the stage.
Said Lee: "I feel so paiseh (shy in Hokkien), it was so irritating. Kaka loves it when I cheer for her.
"At home, she talks non-stop and is so noisy, I can't believe she was so shy when she won."
Julka grinned happily as she did her winner's walk on stage, with her crown and cape on her.
She had earlier modelled her pink Muay Thai boxer outfit for the pageant, her shorts courtesy of Zidov - a Muay Thai champion - who had designed them for her.
Lee had handmade Julka's dress out of french lace, organza and silk.
When asked how she felt about her mum, Julka said: "I'm very happy to show her (to people). I love my mum. She is awesomely good."
Lee put her former wild child ways behind her and got married two years ago to a 37-year-old local businessman.
They had been friends since 2006 and only got close four years ago. The couple have a nine-month-old son.
Lee's older children - Tyrese, 12, and Julka, five - are from different fathers.
She said that all her children know that they have different biological fathers, but are happy to call her husband "dada".
Julka, in particular, tickles her when she differentiates Zidov by affectionately calling him her "fake ang moh dad".
Zidov, 33, had taken part in The Contender Asia - a reality series in which 16 professional Muay Thai exponents slugged it out to win the US$250,000 ($345,000) prize money - which was filmed in Singapore in 2007.
That year, Lee dated him for a month in November. She found out that she was expecting in January 2008.
Lee told TNP then that she kept the baby as she was against abortion.
She and Zidov are friends and Julka met him last month in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, when they were all there for work.
She said: "Zidov recently gave me a copy of his biography, but I couldn't read it because it's in German.
"He's very proud of Kaka and was very excited when he heard that she will be representing Singapore in Las Vegas."
But although Julka has won competitions like the Prince And Princess Asian World 2012, Lil Miss Ratu Kebaya Singapore 2013 and Guess Little Superstars 2013, her mother does not want her to be a model when she grows up.
Said Lee, with a laugh: "I want her to be a dentist. She doesn't have to be on duty 24/7 like a doctor and yet she can earn a lot of money for herself."
This article was published on April 10 in The New Paper.
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