Miss World winner told S'pore contestant to "be brave" ​amid bomb threats

10 October 2013 / 3 years 2 weeks ago

As her big day approached, she wondered whether it was safe to carry on.

"It was the first time I had ever felt threatened to such an extent," said Miss Singapore, Maria-Anna Zenieris (main photo, left), of the days leading up to the Miss World 2013 finals at Nusa Dua in southern Bali last Saturday, reports The New Paper. 

Amid bomb threats and protests against the beauty pageant being held in Indonesia, delegates from all over the world travelled to the Muslim-majority country.

The beauty queens from 127 countries were heavily guarded. Each girl was escorted by a chaperone to the toilet, meals and even to the gym at the hotel, said Miss Zenieris, 18.

Miss Zenieris, who was in Bali for almost a month before the finals, recalled: "I think it was more of a moment of panic, where all the girls were passing around articles about bomb threats and we had no idea whether there was any truth to the allegations because we were so sheltered by security that we had no idea what was going on."

But her fear was soothed when Miss Philippines Megan Young, who was crowned the winner, swooped in and consoled her.

"Without family there to confide in, the girls became family and Megan and I talked about it quite a lot. We said, 'If you do it (go through with the contest), I'll do it'."

All it took was a simple line for Miss Zenieris to feel safe again.

"She (Megan) was hugging me when she said something that my mother would say, which is 'Don't worry, if the security hasn't alerted us or isn't alarmed about anything, it's gonna be fine. Just be safe and brave'."

Her mother, Mrs Yvonne Zenieris, is grateful for the comfort her daughter received from Miss Young.

"Maria was there for Megan as Megan was there for her, and in the end, that's what friendships are about," she said.

Facebook post mocking Miss World 2013 angers S'poreans

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