By Zaihan Mohamed Yusof
The New Paper,
Monday, Sep 15, 2014
Some had been doubtful that Miss Dalreena Poonam Gill, a football referee, would be able to make her mark in the pageant world.
Her winning of the Miss World Singapore title on Saturday night proves that anything is possible for a woman, she told The New Paper yesterday.
The 20-year-old, the youngest of only three female referees here, said: “Some people assume that a female referee has to be a tomboy. Similarly, in the pageant world, people didn’t believe I was a referee.
“I’m happy to carry this title because I can show Singaporean women that they can be sporty and at the same time be elegant. There’s always two sides to a person.”
Miss Gill, whose family members were present at the competition, had also won the Miss Crowning Glory title for her well-coiffed hair.
She bagged herself a limited-edition collectors’ gold coin worth $5,000, a cash prize of $3,000, an all-expenses paid trip to London and a crown worth $6,500.
In all, 18 contestants took part in the pageant at the One Farrer Hotel and Spa.
Refereeing and taking part in a pageant — worlds apart — were perfect for the determined person that she is, Miss Gill said.
As a teenager, she decided to follow in her father’s footsteps despite being told that it was hard work. Her father used to be a referee trainer with the Football Association of Singapore.
It was, however, her inner “vain pot” that drove her into the pageant world. And that had its roots much earlier in her life.
She added: “When I was two, I cried because my aunties wouldn’t allow me into a hair salon... The moment they finally sat me on the chair in the salon, I stopped crying. I knew that I always wanted to be on some stage.”
At the Miss World pageant, she admits she was nervous about her catwalk and the question-and-answer segment.
She said: “From previous pageants, the ‘Q&A’ segments are usually the hardest for me. The answers are in my head but when you have 400 pair of eyes staring at you, like at the Miss World Pageant, I get very nervous.”
Luckily, she aced the round with an answer on whether it is better to be idealistic or realistic.
While the streams of congratulations have not stopped, Miss Gill will soon have to prepare for the finale of the Miss World pageant, which will be held in London.
She will be getting help in the form of last year’s Miss World Singapore winner, Miss Maria-Anna Zenieris.
Miss Gill said: “She’s going to guide and tell me what’s going to happen on the day of the pageant. She will be following me (to London), and I think that alone is a morale booster.”