Mrs M’sia Universe ’18 hopes to inspire women, children

KUALA LUMPUR – As I was approaching 38, I looked at my daughter and felt the urge to improve my life so that she will see she has a mother who is beautiful inside and outside, confident and independent.
Dr. Felicia Soong, crowned the champion of Mrs Malaysia Universe 2018 is every bit a woman with admirable personality, dazzling good looks and a sense of purpose in life. She’s proven her smarts by juggling a full-time career and taking care of two young children with beauty queen duties all at the same time.

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Soong will now represent Malaysia on the international stage at the Mrs Universe 2018 pageant finals that will take place on 9th Dec 2018 in Manila, Philippines.
Citizen Journalists Malaysia (CJMY) interviewed the beauty queen mum to get to know her better.

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Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi, I’m Dr Felicia Soong, 38 years old and a mother of two beautiful children ages 3 ½ and 1 ½. I’m from Batu Pahat, Johor but now make my home in Petaling Jaya. I’m a consultant aesthetic physician by profession, with a passion for medical missions. I studied medicine and earned my MB ChB, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery from University of Manchester. I’m a certified LCP holder (Letter of Credentialing and Privileging) issued by the Ministry of Health, Malaysia to practise aesthetic medicine.

What does it feel like to win the Mrs Malaysia Universe title?
It was my first beauty pageant. I am blessed and happy that I won. I thank God all the time when I replay that moment they called my name as the winner. The feeling is so surreal. I have put in a great deal of effort, both physically and mentally, in preparing myself for the pageant in the last six months. Eventually, all the effort, hard work and time spent away from my family had paid off, and that’s when I cried tears of joy!

What does winning the title mean to you?
Winning means a lot to me as it has proved to me that regardless of my age (I am 38), being a parent with a full-time job and family commitments, and circumstances (with autoimmune hypothyroidism) I am able to transform myself and become a better person mentally, physically and emotionally. It gives me a sense of achievement that I can be a role model to my children and other women. Ultimately, I am now able to lend my voice to help those in need.

What do you think helped you to win and was there anyone behind your success?
Honestly, I believe it is God who has seen me through this pageant as I have pledged to use this title to serve those in need and to glorify His name. Other than that it was a lot of perseverance, determination and practice. My parents have always prayed for me. My husband who put the children to bed at night when I came home late from practice, as well as my daughter Norah who made sure that I put in many hours of practice nightly. I also have my friends who were my biggest cheerleaders and brutally honest with me in their advice. I am really grateful to all of them who were behind my success. I love them all.

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What is your reason for joining the Mrs Malaysia Universe pageant?
As I was approaching 38, I looked at my daughter and felt the urge to improve my life so that she will see she has a mother who is beautiful inside and outside, confident and independent. I started to pick up dance lessons, get in shape and dress up better. That’s when my friends noticed these changes and encouraged me to join this pageant.
My push factor was the fact that my influential friends told me if I won, we’d work towards serving the underprivileged which I am passionate about. I have served in medical missions worldwide providing health care in desolate areas of the world in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Africa and the 2015 Nepal Earthquake. We are always in need of manpower and funding to help the villagers and refugees. I needed a platform to influence others.

What is the one thing you learned from competing in this pageant?
With determination, perseverance and faith, all things are possible.

How did you prepare for the competition?
There was indeed a lot of preparations involved. It is not easy to find time working six days a week from 10am to 7pm with two little kids but I just had to. My biggest challenge was to slim down and tone up. I started eating healthily and working out in the gym since Oct last year and I am proud I’ve since lost an amazing 15kgs. Then I went for intensive catwalk training under Maggie Loo Models & Beauties Academy on Sundays after church and weekdays after work as I used to hunch, unable to balance and walk on high heels. Every night after I put my children to sleep, I started practising my piano piece from 11pm to 1am, as I’ve not played the piano since I was 13 years old.

Carrying the title of Mrs Malaysia Universe, how would you combine your role as a beauty queen with your career and family?
In the first two weeks of winning the title, I asked myself this question too. However, I’ve gained some clarity and refocused as much of my attention to my family and career. I would love to be a part of events which are charity based, and also those that promote women and children empowerment. Everyday I wear my invisible crown and make sure I live up to it in my demeanour. My priority is spending time with my children and husband as my career still goes on as usual, working Mondays to Saturdays.

Tell us what you do in your job?
As a consultant aesthetic physician, I see many people from different walks of life hoping to improve their appearance for various reasons – to remove a flaw that has been bugging them, to increase self confidence, to look better for career advancement, to have flawless skin, to age more gracefully or for enhancement of a certain feature.
I’ve been practising aesthetic medicine since 2009. By being an LCP certified aesthetic physician, I have the qualification, years of experience and skills to treat patients’ need. The sense of satisfaction is tremendous when the people I treated walk out smiling with newfound confidence. I strive to impact a person’s life in any way, and improving one’s self esteem and appearance as part of my profession, certainly creates a big impact in their lives. I specialize in lasers, injectables (filler, Botox), and have special interest in vaginal rejuvenation.

How important is it to look good at all times?
I have never understood the importance of staying well groomed growing up with four brothers. Even at medical school, I only wore makeup when we had outings. I rarely wear makeup to work. It was only recently when I enrolled in this pageant, did I start putting an effort to dress up and make sure I look groomed before I meet people.

How do you keep yourself healthy and beautiful?
I have to thank my parents for the good genes but I was not at my best health and shape after my second pregnancy last year. I was diagnosed with autoimmune hypothyroidism during my first pregnancy which made it extremely difficult to lose weight and I felt tired all the time. However, I told myself I wanted to be a good role model to my daughter. I started to exercise regularly, eat healthily and take medication regularly. For my skin and face, I invest in medical-grade skincare and treatment monthly routine.

Any advice do you have for women who dream to be Mrs Malaysia Universe?
I believe Mrs Malaysia Universe is a woman who is beautiful both inside and out. So women out there need to show that they are not only confident and beautiful but their inner beauty toward others need to shine. The journey to the crown is not easy. A lot of hard work goes on before you get there so never go to a pageant unprepared and expecting to win. Take this a journey as a self fulfilment to understand yourself as well. Enjoy the journey as you will meet pageant sisters whom will share the laughter, tears and you may end up becoming best friends for life.

What are your favourite hobbies, or passions?
I’ve practically no time for hobbies. I love the outdoors and islands. So occasionally, I try to make time to do what I like such as hiking, waterfall picnic and scuba diving. I love serving for medical camps on a yearly basis as this allow me the chance to help the poor and needy while learning so much about other cultures, living with the villagers and eating their authentic home-cooked meals. These trips open my eyes to see the sufferings of others and to appreciate how fortunate we are in Malaysia.

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