KUCHING, Sept 6: A 25-year-old Kayan-Kenyah-Iban native, Francisca Luhong James from Kuching, has been crowned Miss Universe Malaysia 2020.
She outclassed 17 other contestants at a closed-door event in Kuala Lumpur streamed live on the Miss Universe Malaysia website last night.
According to a press statement from Beyond Entity Sdn Bhd (Beyond Entity), the organiser of the Miss Universe Malaysia pageant, Francisca also won the Best In Evening Gown and Miss Auto Bavaria Elegance subsidiary titles.
Commenting on her achievement, Francisca said, “It feels surreal, I didn’t expect this but I worked really hard throughout this journey and I’m really, really grateful, and feel blessed for this opportunity, and I would like to say thank you so much for all the love and support that I have received from my parents, friends and followers.
“My advocacy is on women empowerment and I believe that women empowerment begins with yourself.
“What I learnt is that believing in yourself is the most important thing in order to achieve your goals. I’ve been on this pageant journey for a very long time and I actually wanted to give up on pageants before, but something told me that I should join Miss Universe Malaysia, so I just followed my heart,” she said.
Meanwhile, Beyond Entity revealed Francisca graduated with a degree in Mass Communications in 2019.
It added that Francisca worked as a public relations and marketing executive and was also a part-time model.
Being the eldest child and only girl with two younger brothers, she is used to leading by example, and that has resulted in her being tougher, more independent and a natural role model.
Francisca enjoys choreographing her own dance moves, running and reading in her free time.
As the winner of Miss Universe Malaysia 2020, the company disclosed Francisca received the ‘Reflection’ crown by Habib Jewels featuring a 10-carat diamond set in white gold worth RM2.38 million from the previous winner, Miss Universe Malaysia 2019 Shweta Sekhon.
It added that Francisca also took home cash and sponsored prizes with a combined value of RM180,000 as well as a full education scholarship from HELP University.
Francisca will represent Malaysia on the international stage at the Miss Universe competition, likely to be held in the first quarter of 2021.
Meanwhile, the first runner-up of the Miss Universe Malaysia 2020 pageant was 26-year-old Charissa Chong Su Huey from Selangor Darul Ehsan, while Serene Chai Yong Bin, 26, from Johor was named second runner-up and Neha Varma, 22, from Kuala Lumpur was named third runner-up.
The company added that this year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the beauty pageant competition was streamed live for the first time with the 18 finalists and panel of judges present without an audience in line with physical distancing measures. — DayakDaily