Underwater beauties

You would have heard of Miss Universe, Miss World and Miss Earth.

But you may not have heard of a beauty pageant which highlights the underwater world.

Two weeks ago, Miss Schvelle Ong, 19, beat nine others to be crowned Miss Scuba Singapore 2013.

The unique Miss Scuba International pageant seeks to raise awareness of marine conservation.

The Miss Scuba contest has three segments - contestants are judged in their sports wear, swim wear and elegant wear.

"I didn't think this pageant was unusual at all. I think it is a fun way to celebrate beauty and shows how we can contribute to meaningful causes," says Miss Ong, who is a business studies student at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

Most contests understandably do not involve posing with sports gear, but this one was a little different.

The soft-spoken beauty queen says: "I had to wear a T-shirt paired with denim shorts and also pose with scuba-diving equipment." Posing with diving gear is to show the contestant's level of sportiness.

"It was a little strange posing with the fins at first, but I got used to it. After all, everyone was doing the same," says Miss Ong. The contest stayed within tradition for its swimsuit and evening gown sections.

Miss Ong will next take part in the international version of the pageant at Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, on Dec 20.

To prepare for that contest, Miss Ong is working hard to become a certified diver as contestants in the Miss Scuba International need an Open Water Diving certificate.

Miss Ong believes that the overall winner of Miss Scuba should know how to dive.

She says: "I had a taste of it two years ago. One reason I joined this contest was because I wanted a new experience.

"Now I'm being sponsored by The Divers Club to complete my diving course."

Beauty queens often go onto to trying to help the world and Miss Ong wants to use her title to promote marine conservation.

Miss Ong says that using beauty is just one way to do it.

"It's a fun way to reach out to the community to promote such a cause," she says.


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