Do you know that every time you toss that unassuming candy wrapper into the bin or take your much-needed energy-boosting shower, you consequently leave an ecological footprint on our precious Mother Earth?
Today we face a global waste and water crisis of catastrophic proportions as these actions increase the incidence of health, safety and economic problems.
But the good news is that there is an environmental heroine amongst us who is already actively playing a part in creating a sustainable future. And she’s none other than reigning Miss Global International 2013, Jody Liu.
The pageant queen’s poise and megawatt smile could set anyone’s heart aflutter but it was her passion towards environmental conservation that really set her apart and caught our attention.
We’re deeply inspired by her stance on green living and recently, I got to spend time with Jody where she spoke about her new title and the causes that are close to her heart.
Qn: So why did you enter a beauty pageant? And how did it change your life?
When I was 20, I told myself to join Miss Earth Singapore as a personal challenge; I had low self confidence and self esteem growing up. I would have difficulties talking to people and being on stage frightens me.
I joined Miss Singapore Global in 2013, because it was a pageant that focuses on social causes and I felt that it was a platform that would empower me further in my environmental causes.
Overall, I have learnt a handful of skills from my pageantry experiences in terms of grooming, etiquette and deportment. However, the biggest changes that it has brought me go deep down beneath my “outer layer”. Now, I have the confidence to stand alone on the stage to speak to thousands of youth on environmental issues, I can converse openly and easily with strangers I meet, and having my title has enabled me to reach out to more youths and even gather support from organizations to take my environmental cause to higher level.
Qn: What went through your mind when you were announced as the first Miss Global International?
I was in shock! I recalled a moment of blankness as my brain slowly registered the fact that my name and country was announced. Then I felt a slight sense of relief that I was able to have some form of accountability to all those who supported me.
Qn: What was the first thing you did and who was the first person you contacted right after the pageant?
The first thing I did was to take off my heels! I know this is a really unexpected answer and certainly not the most glamorous! However, being in heels as high as 5 inches for hours, hurts not only my feet but my lower back too. The pain was so intense it was a challenge to smile but I am glad that I overcame it that night!
The first person I contacted was my dad, my mum flew to Jamaica with me and so naturally, my dad was the first person both of us wanted to share the news with!
Qn: Beauty pageants have really fallen out of favour around the world recently, with one popular local pageant winner further fueling the argument that the women taking part in such events are often not intelligent and only know how to look good in bikinis, undoing the hard work done by a lot of women around the world. What would you say to people who feel this way about beauty pageants and their winners?
I would say “Know me as the person that I am first before you judge me, because my title does not define me. It is my character and personality that do.”
I can’t dictate or control people’s perception of me as an International Pageant Queen or how they view beauty pageants and us as winners. However, I can let my personality and actions speak on my behalf as an International Pageant Queen and to remind people that ultimately, I am just an ordinary woman who is empowered and driven by her experiences from pageants to further her mission in life.
Qn: You’ve taken part in modeling competitions too. So between modeling and pageants, which is more challenging and more fun for you?
To be honest, I was only in one modeling competition and I actually have very little modeling experience. Both modeling and pageants have its challenges and its fair share of fun.
People have this perception that being a pageant queen means that the lady is also a model and that all I have to do is to smile and walk, but that’s not the truth. Pageants take months of preparation! We go through etiquette and deportment classes, work with the gym sponsor to tone up, learn how to face the press and ultimately, be able to represent ourselves in person and on stage.
As for the role of a model, don’t let that calm expression fool you. It’s always a chaos backstage and I admire models who can morph into the persona that is required of them.
Qn: You’re like a living Captain Planet who’s very involved in sustainability issues, especially composting. Could you tell us more about your causes? What have you been doing to raise awareness about them? Also, what can we mere mortals do to contribute to your causes?
Haha! Thanks! I am honored but I am only doing what I can, I am nowhere near a superhero! I have been working as an environmental educator for the past 3 years, conducting school talks, workshops and nature trails. I started my first cause on water conservation, followed by understanding sustainability, and now I am focusing on waste management.
This year, with the platform that my international title has given me, I started my campaign on waste management awareness with National Environmental Agency and Public Libraries. I am currently conducting a free workshop with the libraries to share with youths, the importance and need of recycling in Singapore. This is also my first attempt reaching out to the public and so far, I am quite surprised by the responses and feedbacks that I received by the children and even their parents.
Everyone can do their part by practicing these 3 simple green habits which I think are the basics and easy to do:
1) Use only what you need.
3) Take a break from technology (this includes your phone!) and embrace nature (take a walk around nature park, have a picnic or even chill by the beach)
I find that nowadays, we are so cropped up in buildings with gadgets in our face that we lose sight of the beauty of Mother Nature. By embracing nature, I find that it helps to remind people why it is important to treasure and appreciate it.
Qn: We love your positive attitude about life. Could you give us three tips on how we can lead a happy and fulfilling life too?
I have days when I am a little blue too, but these are things that I have found to be helpful to snap me out:
1) Everything in life is temporary.
Happiness, pain, sadness etc are all emotions we feel in the present. Life is a roller coaster; when life gets tough, I remind myself that time is passing and with it, this moment will pass too.
This mentality has not only helped me overcome unpleasant and difficult events but also helped me to appreciate good and positive events in my life.
2) Enjoy the little things in life.
More often than not, I find that as human, we are always expecting more that we lose sight of what we have now. I take a moment everyday to remind myself of the little blessing I witnessed or experienced. I find that it helps me to feel content.
I found it quite challenging initially, so I joined a challenge to help me develop the habit. There are tons of interesting challenges on social media; you can do a quick search online to find one you like. I did the “100 Happy Days Challenge”.
3) Learn to live for yourself.
Life is too short not to live life for the judgment of others. As an International Pageant Queen, I do come under the scrutiny of others. I admit that initially, it was a very unpleasant experience because, I had people who don’t even know me judging and saying really awful comments about me. However, I have learnt to focus on my purpose and block out these cyberbullies. It helps that I also have the support and encouragement from people that I have met and have taken the time and effort to know me!
Thank you Jody for taking your time to share your inspiring journey and secrets to happiness with our readers. 🙂
And now it’s picture time!
Thank you sugar cubes for reading. Meanwhile, check out Jody’s blog at jodulu.blogspot.sg for more amazing stories about her adventures as a beauty queen!
Founder of HoneyzCube.com & Lifestyle Consultant at ILoveBunny.net
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