Breaking records and building dreams

By Jude Toyat
@judetbpseeds
Photos courtesy of Catherine Noep Sigit

 

BECOMING MISS WORLD has always been a dream for many young women aspiring to be beauty queens, and Sarawak’s very own Dewi Liana Seriestha, the first ever Bidayuh woman to win the right to represent Malaysia in the world renowned beauty pageant got to live that dream on Dec 14.

Speaking to The Borneo Post SEEDS after her triumphant showing at Miss World 2014 where she won the prize for Miss World Talent with her operatic singing, she is feeling thankful and blessed to have made a significant mark when she placed as semifinalist in the Top 25.

 

Dewi during the Miss World 2014 grand final in her gown designed by Sposa Rizky, 'The Red Blooming Rafflesia'.

Dewi during the Miss World 2014 grand final in her gown designed by Sposa Rizky, ‘The Red Blooming Rafflesia’.

 

“I have always been a fan of beauty pageants and often wondered what it feels like for your country to be called for quarters, semis or the Final 5. Little did I realise that I myself would have the privilege to feel that, and the feeling was amazing!” said Dewi about making it to the Top 25.

In an action-packed three weeks since arriving in London, she joined other Miss World contestants in a variety of challenges that included sports, top model and beach fashion competition, Beauty with a Purpose projects, and a debate at the Oxford Union.

“I have to be honest, my talent was the most important task out of all the things I needed to prepare. Not because I am a vocal student, but because I know that the purpose in which I netted Miss Malaysia, was to reach out to everyone, with the gift of music,” she said.

One of the highlights that evening was a special tribute in song dedicated to founder of the ‘Beauty with a Purpose’ project and Miss World chairman Julia Morley. Although Dewi was the one leading the performance of ‘You Raise Me Up’, she acknowledged that all the women who competed were talented and gifted, making each and every one of them her competitors.

 

 

Her first time in London, Dewi was greeted upon arrival by Miss Malaysia World organiser Dato’ Anna Lim.

“London is a beautiful city, the buildings are truly beautiful. During my stay here, I have gained a lot from the other girls, including Megan Young herself. I’ve also learned from Julia Morley, a remarkable human being, that sometimes it only take one person to make a change in the world.”

 

Dewi with her mother, Catherine Noep (third left) and organiser of the Miss Malaysia World Dato' Anna Lim (third right) and friends.

Dewi with her mother, Catherine Noep (third left) and organiser of the Miss Malaysia World Dato’ Anna Lim (third right) and friends.

 

When asked about whether she had regrets or wished she had done better, Dewi replied, “Seriously, I am a strong, driven person, but I believe that everything happens for a reason. Whatever I have done wrong, I will take it as a lesson for to improve myself. For now, I have no regrets as I have done the best of my capabilities.”

In terms of her future undertakings after Miss World, Dewi said that she had a lot to look forward to when she gets home, but most importantly she will continue to inspire others with the gift of music. “If I stop now, it will mean nothing, and I am not the type who quits easily. Even when I pass my title to the next winner, my journey will still continue.”

Dewi arrived in Kuala Lumpur on the evening of December 16, where she will be resting with friends and family before returning to Kuching.

“I’m not sure whether there will be a huge celebration for me when I come back to Kuching, but if there is any celebration made only for me, I would not know how else to thank them for being extremely nice to me. The support that I have received from everyone in Sarawak is truly wonderful. I can now consider myself the luckiest girl in the world.”

When asked whether she had a message for Malaysians, Dewi said, “My advice is to never stop dreaming. Dream for as long as you can and always take risks. Never ever be afraid of failure. It is through your mistakes that you become a much better person.”

After an intense competition between women from 121 countries, this year’s competition saw medical student Miss South Africa, Rolene Strauss being crowned Miss World 2014. Meanwhile, Miss Hungary Edina Kulcsár and Miss United States Elizabeth Safrit placed second and third respectively.

This is the third time South Africa has won Miss World, after winning the title in 1958 and 1974.

Watch Dewi leading the tribute to Miss World chairman and founder of ‘Beauty with a Purpose’, Julia Morley:

 

Read more: Dewi dazzles with ‘Borneo Queen of the Hornbill’ costume

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