China’s Tang Xiao has a full year ahead of her. Jules Quartly / China Daily
She’s a talented artist, looks fabulous in a bikini and really is a "beauty with a purpose" – which is exactly how the Miss World organization likes to describe its contestants.
After experiencing "the greatest day of my life" when she placed in the top five at the 60th Miss World final in Hainan province’s Sanya city on Oct 30, Tang Xiao is looking forward to more career highlights.
The 23-year-old student plans to shoot commercials, become a movie star and continue her studies as a post-graduate student at Peking University.
The only thing she won’t do, she says, is sing. "I can sing but I won’t. Actually, I’m not a great singer."
The day after the final she is packing her bags along with the other contestants, planning to travel to Shanghai for charity work.
The pattern has already been set for the year ahead, as she takes on a variety of roles as an image ambassador for China.
Months ago, the country’s best-looking woman – and that’s official – was an ordinary student studying linguistics and literature in her hometown, Liaoning province’s Dalian city.
She decided to try her luck in the beauty business after graduating and moved to Beijing, where she got on the books of Mode China and was entered in the Miss World national pageant.
She was crowned Miss China in Shenzhen, and the rest is history. It’s been a whirlwind, she says.
After winning the national final in September, she had to learn how to compete in the beauty stakes with the best in the world by learning how to do her hair, walk and deal with the media.
"I have grown up really quickly," she says, speaking in English throughout the interview. "And one of the things I’ve learned is something I think I already knew. There’s nothing more important than being honest and sincere."
She recalls meeting the other Miss World contestants in Beijing on National Day, Oct 1.
"I just went from one hotel to another to meet all these goddesses. They had so many questions about China," she says.
"I could share my interest in traditional crafts with them. I believe that if something is made with the hands, it’s made with the heart."
She says the tour of China prior to the final was a bonding experience and "everyone was just like family. There was no need to argue – it just didn’t make sense. It was all about working together, teamwork, so the event was perfect."
Her preparations on the day of the final started at 8 am, when she sorted out her gowns and shoes. She skipped breakfast but had some soup and pastries for brunch.
She was taken to the theater at 2:45 pm, and the rest of the time, up to the final countdown at 8 pm, was spent taking pictures with the other contestants and preparing for the show. Then came a dinner of sandwiches and fruit.
She says the main thing on her mind at the beginning was not to make a mistake, like tripping over her gown.
"The audience gave me so much support" that she grew in confidence, she says. "Although I had no family or friends in the audience, they were just like family and friends."
She says the most nerve-wracking moment was making the top 25, when she was named second-to-last.
"The beauty of the show is suspense, and it’s the same as our lives – we just never know what’s going to happen."
As one of the top five, she claims she wasn’t thinking about winning. "All I could do was be the perfect me."
As for the future, she wants to be more than just a pretty face, by helping people with her charity work and taking on more challenges.
"I don’t want to be the girl who just smiles. I have a story, too. I have dreams and struggles, and people should know this, too."
SOURCE: China Daily
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