The University of Nottingham Malaysia alumni, Lesley Cheam was recently crowned Miss Universe Malaysia 2022. Cheam, who graduated in Pharmaceutical and Health Sciences in 2019, says that she would like to use her title to help spread mental health awareness, especially in Malaysia.
In addition, she wants to use her title to promote kindness among people of the world. “I realised that with a reputable platform like Miss Universe Malaysia, I would be able to deliver my messages more effectively,” Cheam says. She is also working on her advocacy campaigns by doing more media interviews and being more involved in charity work.
In preparation for the Miss Universe competition, which will be held in New Orleans in January 2023, Cheam is undergoing catwalk training, grooming workshops and workout sessions. She will also be trained on how to ace the question-and-answer segment, which is one of the most challenging segments of the pageant, given the wide range of topics involved.
“You can be asked any question, and you will need to summarise your answer thoughtfully in less than one minute. For that, I’d need to brush up my knowledge on current affairs and study the type of questions that have been asked in the past,” she says, adding that she will also be undergoing training on public speaking, which includes vocal projection, vocal warm-ups and breathing.
Being as well prepared as possible is Cheam’s way of mentally preparing herself to grace the international stage, as she believes this is vital to stand out during the competition.
Cheam describes her experience during the pageant as a roller-coaster ride. “In just six months, I have undergone catwalk and styling training as well as learning to prepare written content. After winning the crown, I had to deal with cyberbullying. It’s certainly not an easy journey and it has its ups and downs,” she explains.
Cheam says she is known for her can-do attitude. “My greatest strength is my versatility and I’m also a big believer in going after your goals and staying humble. I am always passionate and put in the hard work in whatever I do.”
However, she adds that being a versatile person can also be her weakness as it sometimes disables her from staying focused.
“My mother always says that my kindness is one of my greatest weaknesses because some people will take it for granted,’” Cheam adds.
After graduating from UNM, Cheam joined a company as a full-time emcee. And last year, she was given the opportunity to join another company as an assistant manager in product marketing before participating in Miss Universe Malaysia 2022.
The Nottingham experiences
Cheam believes that everything starts with education, from curriculum and being aware of worldly issues. During her time at UNM, she did not just gain knowledge from books, but also from those she surrounded herself with.
“The determination and hard work that I put in during my time at UNM has shaped me to become a stronger person because a UK degree is never easy to earn, especially while I had to juggle my study and job. I believe that my experience at UNM has taught me to think more critically and be more confident, and I think this will give me an edge in the Miss Universe competition. I’m proud to call myself an alumna of UNM,” Cheam says.
To the students of UNM, Cheam has this piece of advice: “Grind it out during your varsity life. It’s better to start gaining experience about the real world and being hands on during your university days. However, try not to do too many things at once because it’s easy to get distracted, and you might end up not excelling at anything. Having said that, finding the right balance is also an essence of life.”
And for those thinking about pursuing their tertiary education at UNM, Cheam says, “As a reputable university, The University of Nottingham provides a comprehensive, world-class education. Nottingham graduates are known for their high employability rate and in my opinion, this is crucial for one’s future career plans.”
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Posted on 31st October 2022