Malaysian model and TV host Deborah Henry was crowned Miss Universe Malaysia 2011 on Thursday.
“I am honoured and privileged to be representing Malaysia on the world stage,” said Deborah, who is of Indian-Irish descent.
“I’m in it to win it. If I never take part in this, I will never know how far I will go for the rest of my life,” added the 26-year-old.
Deborah, who won the Miss Malaysia World title in 2007, was selected by popular vote via the pageant’s official Facebook page combined with the views of a panel of judges.
The panel comprises Andrea Fonseka, who is the national director of the Miss Universe Malaysia Pageant (MUMO), local actor Hans Isaac and Russian beauty expert Julia Dolmatova.
Fonseka, who took home the Miss Universe Malaysia title in 2004 said they chose a contestant with experience as they do not have the time and resource to groom a greenhorn.
“There are no rules that say a former winner of other beauty pageants can’t join the Miss Universe pageant,” Fonseka explained.
She added that Trincy Low, who won the Miss World title in 1995, also went on to win the Miss Universe title in 1997.
Other finalists who made the list for Miss Universe Malaysia 2011 include Gail James, Cassandra Patrick, Jennifer Pedersen, Kelly Jagan, Mourhna Reddy, Patricia Sue-Lin Kundsen, Stefanie Chua and Thanuja Ananthan.
Deborah will represent Malaysia at the Miss Universe pageant in Sao Paolo, Brazil on September 12.
Miss Universe Malaysia 2012 will also be crowned in September this year as part of the pageant’s new format that aims to provide more training for future contestants.
“Latin American nations typically have up to 12 months to train their contenders while we’ve had to compress this process into just three months,” said Fonseka.
“We believe that future contestants will have a better shot at winning the Miss Universe title now that we have a longer period to train them,” she added.
Miss Universe Malaysia is part of the international Miss Universe franchise owned and managed by the Trump Organisation in joint venture with NBC Universal.
Deborah Priya Henry (born July 7, 1985) won Miss Malaysia World 2007 and represented Malaysia in Miss World 2007. She is notable for having been selected in the top 16 Miss World Final, the highest achievement of Malaysian Miss World contestants since Lina Teoh in 1998.
Henry was born in Dublin, Ireland but grew up in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Her mother is Irish and her father is a Malaysian Indian.
She was educated at Sayfol International School in Kuala Lumpur. During her school days, she excelled in basketball and volleyball, and also won a gold medal in the Kuala Lumpur International Schools athletics meet. She received a “Sportswoman of the Year” trophy from her school. Henry holds bachelor’s of science degrees in Political Science and Economics from the University of Queensland, in Brisbane, Australia. Her focus is human rights advocacy and sustainable development with a long term goal to eradicate poverty.
Henry began modelling at the age of 15 and modelled in London three years later for seven months.
As a model she appeared in Malaysian rock band Estranged’s music video “Itu Kamu”. Deborah runs the Save the Kids Education Fund (SKEF), an education centre for Somali refugee children.
Deborah Priya Henry has always been a prominent figure on the local modelling scene. National Director for Miss Universe Andrea Fonseka said, “Deborah Henry personifies all of the values and attributes of a Miss Universe. This includes professionalism, intelligence, and dedication to her country, a strong work ethic, talent, grace and beauty.”
She takes over from Miss Universe Malaysia 2010 Nadine Ann Thomas.
We wish Miss Henry the best of everything and hope she can achieve big things at the Miss Universe 2011 pageant in Brazil!