Cheryl Chou wins Miss Universe Singapore 2016

Fashion student Cheryl Chou, 20, kept her cool in the Q&A segment for the top five contestants in the Miss Universe Singapore finals.

Asked to describe the essence of a Singaporean woman, she wowed the judges and the crowd with her answer. With poise and elegance, she spoke of independence, confidence, bravery and being "unafraid of failure" because it is "important for growth".

It helped the Lasalle College of the Arts student beat 14 other finalists to the coveted crown and get the chance to represent Singapore in the 66th Miss Universe pageant next year.

This was Singapore Press Holdings’ (The New Paper) inaugural partnership with the Miss Universe Singapore Organisation. The finals, held at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel on Oct 16, saw over 300 attendees, who included sponsors and contestant supporters.

Along with the title, Cheryl also bagged a cash prize of $10,000, a Canon camera worth $1,000, a year's product sponsorship and $20,000 worth of services from Beaute Hub, $20,000 worth of services from Orchard Scotts Dental, Bintan Lagoon Resort stays worth $3,000 and $9,000 worth of training sessions from BodyBurn Fitness Singapore.

She also clinched the Miss Photogenic and Miss Aspirational titles.

The newly crowned beauty said: “I’m ecstatic. I never expected any of this. It’s just so surreal and I think it still hasn’t totally sunk in yet.”

Temasek Polytechnic student Tanisha Khan, 18, was the first runner-up, and full-time model Sonya Branson, 25, was the second runner-up.

“I really didn’t expect this, and I’m really grateful to The New Paper and Miss Universe Singapore for giving me this opportunity,” said Tanisha.

Sonya found it “super, super unexpected”, as all the contestants had “brought their A-game”.

“She was my first choice, from the very beginning. She’s obviously very beautiful. She’s got a wonderful body. She’s very confident on stage and she speaks very well — she answered her questions very well too, so I’m very pleased. She’s got the whole package, ” said former supermodel Junita Simon, who was on the seven-judge panel that included fashion show director Daniel Boey, former beauty queen Nuraliza Osman, Mr Simon Leong, senior vice-president (Corporate Services), Singapore Turf Club, and the deputy editor of The New Paper, Mr Murali Subramaniam.

The event, hosted by radio's famous duo, Glenn & FD, also saw a star-studded cast of performers — Sezairi performed his chart topper, Fire To The Floor, during the opening sequence. Rit Xu, award-winning jazz flutist, performed a repertoire of top 40s hits.

Click here to view Miss Universe 2016 photos.

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