Rachel Lynn Johnson Lapok is Sarawak Ethnic National Queen

By Jude Toyat
@judetbpseeds
judetoyat@theborneopost.com

Rachel (middle) flanked by first runner-up Caroline Kueh (right) and second runner-up Percyliana Ju’wai.

Rachel (middle) flanked by first runner-up Caroline Kueh (right) and second runner-up Percyliana Ju’wai.

KUCHING: Rachel Lynn Johnson Lapok, 23, was crowned the first Sarawak Ethnic National Queen (SENQ) at Sri Bunga Ramai Banquet Hall here recently.

The Iban project geologist beat 13 other finalists for the coveted crown to walk away with RM2, 000 in her first foray into beauty pageants.

“I feel so relieved and happy with this win. I dedicate this victory to my family and supporters who have always been there to support me along the way and keep believing in me.

“Every participant delivered a spectacular performance throughout this competition and for me, everyone here is a winner, “ she said.

The second of five siblings, Rachel, who works at Kumpulan Ikram (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd, hails her mother Shelley Earnest as her biggest influence for her tireless efforts to provide the best for their family and live a comfortable life.

“I want to return the favour and give her all that she deserves in life.”

Her designer Rozie Khan Couture won SENQ Best Designer 2016 (Contemporary Costume) subsidiary title – thanks to the  brilliant creation of  her ‘Red Kebaya’.

“I will save the cash prize for school as I plan to further my studies in Master of Teaching in Australia next year,” she said.

Rachel hopes to help the community and become a teacher to help the less fortunate including children with autism as well as inspiring young women to always feel beautiful from the inside by accepting and embracing their own beauty.

On her advice for aspiring pageant contestants, she said, “Just go for it. Be confident, stay beautiful and embrace yourself and keep shining wherever you go.”

Guests of honour during a photo call with Sarawak Ethnic National Queen finalists and organising committee members.

Guests of honour during a photo call with Sarawak Ethnic National Queen finalists and organising committee members.

First and second runner-ups were Caroline Kueh and Percyliana Su’wai, respectively. Kueh bagged home a cash prize of RM1, 500 while Percyliana received RM1, 000. All top three winners received a crown and bouquet of flowers.

Fourteen fashion designers also competed at the event to win two awards namely the SENQ Best Designer 2016 (Evening Dress Costume) and SENQ Best Designer 2016 (Contemporary Costume). They were Andini Diman Tailor, Rozie Khan Couture, Hafiz Dressmaker, Pak Bek (Petra Bridal), Azie Zaini Creation, Mal Anuar, Lentera Astana, Lyona Stephen (Classy), Rozie Khan Couture, Ben Nazary (Cotton Button), Latip’s Collection, Aisamuddin Creation & Services, Shamsul Kipli (Keringkam Jinggal Bridal), and Daniel Alfian Couture (D’Jejari Emas Bridal Studio).

Apart from a cash prize of RM200, other subsidiary title winners including Lidya Yusreena Abdul Ellias (SENQ Talent Queen 2016, and SENQ Congeniality Queen 2016), Putri Nurbizauwatul Sapun @ Yusuf (SENQ Charity Queen 2016), Rabbani Mariani Majid (SENQ Photogenic Queen 2016), Kueh (SENQ Favourite and Popularity Queen 2016), Crystal Ann Daniel Manja (SENQ Confident Queen 2016), Marie Alexandra Beatrice (SENQ Best Catwalk Queen 2016), and Neng Ayu Ahmat (SENQ Best Designer 2016 for Evening Dress Costume designed by Petra Bridal) also received a trophy and sash.

Consolation prize winners which include Amanda Disman, Dayang Nur Azizah Abang Abdul Razak, Syaza Shuhaila Abdul Ellias, Agatha Musa and Emelda William received a trophy and bouquet of flowers.

All finalists were presented with certificates of participation.

Prior to the announcement of the result, the audience were entertained to performances from Angela Martin, Arm Amran and award-winning dance troupe Girumpung Baatan Asal Kampun Ta-ee as the finalists sashayed on the catwalk in their ethnic contemporary costumes and and evening gown.

The Sarawak Ethnic National Queen 2016 – organised by MarieAnne Borneo Legacy – was a smashing success with collaboration by Persatuan Warisan Bumi Kenyalang Kuching and sponsors including Dayak Shutter, Elegan Wedding & Event Management, Vee Villas Indian Cuisine, Glam Bridal, Rebbeca Adang, Diana Kidang, Juliet Malek, BCS Sdn Bhd, D’Celebrities Event Management, Sara Urus Harta Sdn Bhd, Bungai Terung Café, Barrock Karaoke & Pub and Nomie Florist.

The pageant themed ‘Empowering Woman, Embracing Cultures, and Embodying the beauty within’ aims to provide a platform to showcase beauty, intelligence and cultural diversity while creating opportunities for women to progress in their career and personality development.

The grand final was hosted by Patricia Judin and Romie, while the panel of judges comprising Sarawak Cultural Village general manager Jane Lian Labang, RTM Sarawak TV Producer Datin Lydia  Paya Rinyud and beauty pageant professional Ferdinand Rayner.

Also present were SENQ organising chairman Mary Anne, Kayan Women Association chairperson Roselyn Lah and state fashion icon Anna Su.

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