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Modern-day mermaid makes a splash

Winner of Miss Mermaid SG will be part of global pageant in Eygpt

This beauty queen is sure to make a splash when she represents Singapore at an international pageant in Egypt from Oct 15 to 30.

While Ms Audrey Chen will not have to walk like an Egyptian, she will have to swim like a mermaid in the Red Sea in Egypt.

Besides strutting and posing on land, the 25-year-old beauty line entrepreneur will have to show off her moves under water at Miss Mermaid International, an annual pageant originating in Germany.

She beat 11 other aspiring Ariels to the crown at the first Miss Mermaid beauty pageant here at Village Hotel Changi on Sept 6.

"Being a mermaid is empowering," said Ms Chen. "It's very beautiful and graceful, to be swimming in mermaid form under the water."

But swimming didn't come naturally to her at first. As a young girl, she had a phobia of water due to an incident in which she was submerged in the baby pool after her float slipped off.

Her mother pushed her to learn swimming. "I was so scared of the water that she had to throw me into the middle of the pool and say, 'you either really swim and survive, or...'"

Ms Chen, who took lessons, went on to win a gold star in a national survival swimming course.

It was her fascination with Ariel, the heroine of the Disney animated movie The Little Mermaid, that led her to give the pageant a try.

Contestants are judged on criteria such as face, figure, intellect and general knowledge, creativity in decorating their mermaid costumes, swimming skills, creative talents and posing underwater.

Trying to swim while pretending to be a graceful creature of the sea is no easy feat, Ms Chen noted. It is especially tough swimming with one's legs bound up in a tail.

"I don't have the freedom of movement and I have to rely a lot on my core muscles and back muscles."

Still, the bachelorette with a psychology degree from the University of Windsor enjoys the challenges. "I want to test myself and push myself beyond my own limits."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 22, 2016, with the headline 'Modern-day mermaid makes a splash'. Print Edition | Subscribe