MANJULA RAJENDRAN, 28
The day she stood under a gushing torrent of water at the Suntec City Fountain of Wealth during the 2001 Best Model of the World Singapore contest was the day her ambition of being a model was validated by the most important man in her life.
'I proved to my father that I could make it as a model,' says Manjula Rajendran.
The fountain bit came during the Body Beautiful segment of the contest where contestants were supposed to 'emerge' through the 'light drizzle of fountain water' wearing a bikini.
Well, that was the plan. Instead, the water rained down at full blast.
'I was the first to go and I think nobody realised how strong the water pressure was going to be,' she says.
'The water was so cold and the force so strong that it was painful and I couldn't see.'
The organisers soon realised the problem and lowered the 'waterfall' to the intended 'light drizzle'.
The model went on to bag seven of nine awards up for grabs that night, including Body Beautiful, Best Catwalk and Miss Personality. She also won the overall first runner-up crown.
But her greatest victory was earning her father's recognition.
Her Dad, whom she says is the 'conservative sort', had always opposed her career of choice. But that day, he finally realised she would do whatever it took to be a successful model when she swept the awards.
Still, Rajendran, who had by then taken part in seven contests, then decided to hang up her tiaras and concentrate on modelling with Jeffrey Chung Models.
'When you've got what you want, there's no point in taking part any more,' she says.
These days, she is aware that age is catching up with her and her modelling days are numbered. While she is still signed on with Chung as a model, she now helps the agency out with sales and marketing jobs as well.
Her new baby is Jada Muni, her store selling modern Indian home decorations in Chinatown's Pagoda Street.
Asked why she is making the transition from model and beauty pageant contestant to Indian decor guru, she says: 'I love the challenges of trying new things.'
No. of pageants: 7
No. of crowns: 1
This article was first published in Urban, The Straits Times on Jun 5, 2008.