The coveted title of Miss Universe Singapore (MUS) 2018 has gone to Miss Zahra Khanum, who will represent Singapore at the international Miss Universe pageant in Bangkok, Thailand on Dec 17.
The National University of Singapore sociology graduate, 23, beat 14 other finalists at the grand finale held last night at the grand ballroom of One Farrer Hotel, MUS' official venue sponsor. She bagged $10,000 in cash and prizes worth $45,000, including treatments and services from local spa Beaute Hub.
Miss Khanum, who was raised single-handedly by her mother, whom she sees as her greatest pillar of support, said: "I didn't expect to win at all. I'm happy, I'm excited, I'm proud of everyone. But most importantly, I'm really happy I was able to make my mum proud."
The first runner-up was rhythm cycling instructor Tiong Jia En, 23, and the second runner-up was realtor Jaslyn Tan, 26. They took home $5,000 and $3,000 in cash, respectively. The 15 finalists were evaluated in three segments: swimwear, evening gown and question-and-answer. The panel of seven judges included MUS national director Nuraliza Osman and The New Paper editor Eugene Wee. TNP organised the pageant in partnership with Miss Universe Singapore Organisation.
Mr Wee said: "It was a tough pick because all the girls personified beauty and empowerment in different ways. But Zahra had that extra sparkle, confidence and poise that set her apart."