Miss Singapore Universe 2003 Bernice Wong has a passion for style, fashion and looking good, so much so that she recently launched Bernice Wong Beauty International, a grooming course for beauty queen wannabes as well as girls (and guys!) seeking to up their image.
What made you decide to compete in Miss Singapore Universe 2003?
I was looking for a change at that point in my life. I saw the ad on TV and said “Why not?” I believed in myself, thought I had a good chance to do well, but mostly it was just for the fun of it.
Did you take a grooming course or work with anyone on your image before the competition?
I had modeled on and off since I was 16 or 17, which gave me some experience working on stage and catwalking. I could be in front of the judges and not get nervous.
Why teach a grooming course?
I wanted to harness my pageant and modeling skills, make use of my experience in local and international competitions and raise the standard of girls taking part in pageants here. I want to give Singapore an edge. And I just have a passion for what I do, so having my hobby as a job is great.
What do you say to those who are too intimidated to take instruction on grooming/beauty/image from a former beauty queen?
I think that’s one thing that might be going against me. I’m keeping the classes small—a maximum of eight per class—so that they’re intimate. I want to bring myself down and get to know people, and I want them to see me as a person. The title is there, but it’s not everything.
Isn’t what’s on the inside more important than how one looks?
Of course, I think it’s psychological—if you feel good inside, that feeling will radiate outwards. You need to work on both. You have to fuse the inside and the outside.
What is one beauty product you can’t live without?
Mascara. It’s all in the eyes, baby! But I’m such a makeup junkie that telling me I can have only one item is like telling me to go out in just my shoes.
As a former beauty queen, are you expected to always look good?
Yeah, I think so. You’ve got a certain image to upkeep, especially after winning the title. And running the course, you’re sort of a product, and you have to sell yourself.
Do you have ugly days, when everything just works against you? What’s your solution for them?
Of course! Everyone has them. Especially after a late night clubbing or whatever, a pair of shades and a hat always work. Have a nice shower in the morning … and I guess keeping to yourself!
What are some tips on looking good everyone can use, regardless of how big his/her pageant dreams are?
Learn to play up your assets and hide your flaws. And a nice funky pair of shades can bring out your style and character.