Beauty, brawn and business savvy to boot - Jan 07, 2008 (ST)

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The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

Beauty, brawn and business savvy to boot

SPH Magazines is throwing its marketing muscle behind 'Hollywood Glamour - Inter-JC Pageant', organised by a 16-student group.

By Tessa Wong
Jan 07, 2008
The Straits Times

GETTING on the catwalk is not enough for some young former pageant contestants - they are getting behind it.

RULING THE CATWALK: Hollywood Glamour group director Wang Wan Ting (sixth from left) with members of the student body - made up of mostly former pageant contestants. They had wanted to try their hand at organising their own pageant. Photo/ ALPHONSUS CHERN

The organiser of the 'Hollywood Glamour - Inter-JC Pageant' is a 16-student group called Hollywood Glamour. It is made up of mostly former pageant contestants from Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

The novice event managers have so impressed SPH Magazines that the publisher threw its marketing muscle behind their second annual pageant for guys and girls.

Its managing director, Allen Loh, said: 'Mentoring Hollywood Glamour has a two-fold advantage: We learn from the younger generation's branding and promotion tactics, and we give them insight on how a professional company manages an event.'

SPH Magazines' youth fashion monthly, Seventeen, meanwhile, is also into its second year as the pageant's official magazine.

The students met during NTU's orientation two years ago, when group director Wang Wan Ting says they discovered 'half of our group had joined university and external pageants'.

Inspired by Seventeen's varsity pageant Queen of Queens, they wanted to try organising one themselves, for junior college students.

Ms Wang herself was first runner-up in the 2006 Nanyang Business School's pageant, while her coursemate Gina Guo, 20, came in second for both Miss Boat Asia 2006 and Miss Bikini World 2007. Others in the group joined NTU hall and faculty pageants.

Their own pageant, held last Saturday, featured 15 pairs of hotties from as many junior colleges strutting their stuff at the Clarke Quay club, The Arena.

Finalists were chosen through interviews. Their looks and personalities were also taken into account.

But with no experience at event management, the first year was tough for the rookie organisers.

They pooled their own resources, sacrificed study time, and because they were no-namers, even resorted to dressing up to sneak into proms to scout for talent.

Once, Ms Wang recalls, that got her 'scolded upside down' and chased out by an irate teacher.

But a cool $8,000 profit and an audience of 1,000 - twice the expected turnout for last January's event at Zouk - was worth it.

This year, backed by Seventeen, they practically breezed into proms, even picking the prom king and queen at one junior college.

They now have a $30,000 budget - double their first year's - and big-name sponsors, surfwear brand Billabong and skincare brand Yes To Carrots.

'We now know how to do things more professionally - especially handling sponsors, how to organise an event in a more structured way,' says Ms Wang.

She aims to join larger-scale beauty pageants but, no, not for the glory.

'I'd do it to see how it's run and to get more ideas to organise my own big pageant.'