Miss Universe Singapore winner wows judges with grace, confidence

Winner Manuela Blanka Bruntraeger poses on the runway after being crowned Miss Universe Singapore 2017 on Oct 11, 2017.
Winner Manuela Blanka Bruntraeger poses on the runway after being crowned Miss Universe Singapore 2017 on Oct 11, 2017. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Winner Manuela Blanka Bruntraeger (second from right) is congratulated by contestants after being crowned Miss Universe Singapore 2017 on Oct 11, 2017.
Winner Manuela Blanka Bruntraeger (second from right) is congratulated by contestants after being crowned Miss Universe Singapore 2017 on Oct 11, 2017. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Miss Universe Singapore 2017 finalists gathering for a photograph backstage before taking to the runway for the show's opening segment.
Miss Universe Singapore 2017 finalists gathering for a photograph backstage before taking to the runway for the show's opening segment.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

The newest Miss Universe Singapore, Ms Manuela Blanka Bruntraeger, is likely more used to wearing a helmet than a crown - the 24-year-old is a welding expert and creates art out of metal.

Ms Bruntraeger, who recently graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Lasalle College of the Arts, beat 19 other finalists at the grand finale of the pageant, held at Resorts World Sentosa's West Ballroom yesterday evening.

She took home $10,000 in cash as well as prizes worth $45,000, including treatment and services from local spa Beaute Hub and a smile makeover from Orchard Scotts Dental. She will represent Singapore in the Miss Universe 2017 pageant in Las Vegas on Nov 26.

"To say that this was a dream would be a complete understatement," the outdoors and nature enthusiast told The Straits Times after her win. "It is amazing to be able to call myself a beauty queen, and I guess even more amazing to be able to represent Singapore."

Ms Bruntraeger received the crown from last year's winner, Ms Cheryl Chou. First and second runners-up were pricing analyst Rudihra Ramathas, 26, and theatre student Emilbiany Nenggal Intong, 18, respectively.

The results were determined by a panel of seven judges, who included Miss Universe Singapore Organisation national director Nuraliza Osman; Mr Murali Subramaniam, deputy managing editor of Singapore Press Holdings' English/Malay/Tamil Media group; media personality Paul Foster and celebrity stylist Keith Png.

It was a difficult decision for the judges, who deliberated for about 20 minutes, a longer time than the allocated length of three pop songs.

In the end, Mr Png told The Straits Times, Ms Bruntraeger triumphed because "she is petite, but her personality shone on stage - her smile, her confidence and the way she walks. You don't expect a petite girl to walk in such a beautiful evening gown with such grace and confidence. That was the reason we picked her instead of one of the taller girls".

 
 

Ms Bruntraeger stands at 166cm.

The daughter of a Caucasian father and a Eurasian mother said art is her passion, and she loves experimenting with materials such as resin and metal.

"Welding is a big part of my life," she said.

She and the other finalists were evaluated in swimwear, gown and question-and-answer segments.

The Miss Universe Singapore 2017 pageant, which has been running since 1951, was organised by The New Paper (TNP) in partnership with the Miss Universe Singapore Organisation.

Contestants, who must be between 18 and 27 years old, go through several rounds of selection before making it to the grand finale.

In addition to representing Singapore on the global stage, winners go on to be involved in the organisation's selected charities.

The evening also featured pop performances by musicians Gareth Fernandez and Aisyah Aziz. About 450 people attended the event over a five-course dinner.

TNP editor Eugene Wee said: "Thanks to our sponsors, this year's event was bigger and better compared to the pageant last year. It was with the perfect mix of fun and glamour that we crowned this year's Miss Universe Singapore."



ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

24-year-old crowned Miss Universe Singapore

It was a night to remember for Ms Manuela Blanka Bruntraeger, the newly crowned Miss Universe Singapore 2017. The 24-year-old Lasalle College of the Arts graduate emerged the winner out of 20 finalists at the grand finale of the annual pageant, held last night at Resorts World Sentosa. "I am in so much shock. I worked really hard for this, and it is something that I dreamt of, so I am very happy to be standing here with this crown on my head. I hope it is because the judges saw my hard work and determination," she told The Straits Times minutes after her win. She will go on to represent Singapore at the Miss Universe 2017 pageant in Las Vegas next month.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2017, with the headline 'Welding expert wows judges with grace, confidence'. Print Edition | Subscribe