FEMALE Talks To: Jane Teoh, Miss Universe Malaysia 2018

As Miss Universe Malaysia 2018, Jane Teoh wants everyone to focus on her philanthropy instead of the glitz and glamour of the pageant industry.

Jane knows her life turned a complete 180° when she was crowned Miss Universe Malaysia 2018. The 20-year-old accounting and finance student went from attending academic classes everyday to speech classes, catwalk training as well as makeup and styling sessions, all in preparation for the Miss Universe 2018 finale in Bangkok, Thailand, on 17th December.

And yet, with the huge pressure to propel Malaysia’s name into the international stage, Jane plans to keep her work against cyber-bullying the main focus of her victory. Here, she shares how her life has changed, some valuable lessons she’s learnt from the competition and the legacy she’d like to leave behind.

FEMALE: How different has life been for you since winning the title of Miss Universe Malaysia 2018?

Jane: “It has changed tremendously! I’m still a student, so before being crowned Miss Universe Malaysia, my focus was being the best in school while exploring the modelling world. Now I’ve ventured into other areas aside from doing photoshoots and runway shows like producing my own webisodes to share my modelling journey. I’ve also launched a campaign to speak up about cyber-bullying called #DareToShout. I’ll be touring schools to spread this message and raise awareness. To others, it can be a little too much, but I’m enjoying every bit of it.”

F: What’s a valuable lesson you’ve picked up during the competition rounds?

J: “I realised that I can handle all things even when the going gets tough. I’ve learned that to make a positive change in life, I have to take risks. I had to juggle my studies with modelling gigs and preparing for the pageant. There were many times when I had hit a wall and felt like I couldn’t push on, but I found out that I can succeed if I put my mind to it.”

F: What’s the best kept beauty secret in the pageant world?

J: “It may sound cliché, but it’s definitely our smiles. A smile is the best makeup anyone can wear as it can brighten up someone’s day and make others feel warm, especially in our generation where all of us are focused on our digital avatars.”

F: If you only had 10 minutes to get ready for an event, what would you do?

J: “I’d never skimp on my skincare routine so I’d do it all – toner, serum and moisturisers are my must-haves. Then I’ll move on to my eyebrow pencil and lipstick.”

F: If you could swap lives with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

J: “I’d like to swap with Sam Claflin, the English actor from The Hunger Games and Me Before You. I’ve always wondered what it’s like to be a guy. People always say that men are wired differently from women and I’d like to know how different it is exactly, particularly Sam because he’s so good-looking and yet he seems like such a nice guy!”

F: What message would you like to share with the world during your reign?

J: “I’d like to remind people to be kind to each other. We’re the most connected generation digitally but sadly, also the most disconnected generation on a personal level. We have so much access to information yet we spend a lot of time on social media. Online interaction oftentimes goes wrong and we become mindless about what we say to people, and that’s when cyber-bullying happens. This needs to be stopped.”

From the print edition. Original text by Ilicia Alias. Feature image by Jane Teoh.