Meet Sofia Paiva, also known as Miss International Macau 2017. The 20-year-old will represent Macau at the 2017 Miss International pageant in Tokyo, Japan, after winning the hearts of judges from the Macau Pageant Alliance – a pageant platform created in 2009 by a group of Macau and Hong Kong locals to promote Macau’s heritage of international beauty pageants. Macau Pageant Alliance has been sending contestants – both male and female – to international beauty contests for the past eight years including Miss International, Miss Supranational, Miss Grand International and Mr International. WGM spoke to Sofia about her achievement.
Raquel Dias: Thanks for sitting down with WGM Sofia and congratulations on being named Miss International Macau 2017. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Sofia Paiva: I am a 20-year-old college student of Psychology (at the University of Saint Joseph) and I still have two more years to go. My ambition is to become a psychologist. In addition to improving everybody’s physical health, it’s equally important to take care of our mental wellness since mental illnesses such as depression and mood disorders are very common these days. I want to dedicate myself to helping those in need. I’m from a family of four and I am very close to my Dad, Mom and elder brother. My parents mean the whole word to me and I have been taught to give love to the people I care about and love. I have Chinese- Portuguese lineage so I have been enjoying the essences of both cultures.
RD: What made you decide to take part in the Miss International Macau pageant?
SP: Both my mom and auntie were former Miss Macau competitors in the early 1990s so I have heard all about their pageant experiences. I thought it would be so precious if I could follow in their footsteps. Plus I’m actually not an outgoing person. By participating in Miss International Macau I guess I will learn how to live my life more confidently. RD: Have you worked as a model before? SP: Yes, I have been modeling since I was six years old and I have been involved in some commercials and movies.
RD: You are the first Miss International Macau winner in a long time to boast a mixed background. Does that make you proud?
SP: Yes. I am so proud of my Chinese-Portuguese lineage and being able to show global audiences the uniqueness of Macau’s Chinese and Portuguese cultures.
RD: How does it feel to represent Macau overseas?
SP: I’m extremely grateful and proud to be representing Macau and I do feel that I’m going there to represent Macau, not to represent myself. So I’ve promised myself that I will give my fullest in representing Macau.
RD: How does it feel to be the “prettiest” woman in town?
SP: I’ve always believed that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so I’m flattered. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for being so nice to me. All the compliments have encouraged me to become an even better person.
RD: What have you learned so far from the experience?
SP: I have definitely improved my public speaking skills. I think it takes lots of practice to speak confidently in public – especially when I’m not speaking in Cantonese – but I guess I have been improving.
RD: What do you like to do when you’re not modelling or winning beauty pageants?
SP: I love singing, yoga, modern dance and Portuguese folk dancing. But I’ve been very busy since I was crowned so my life is all about time management – attending events, training sessions and more. I’ll also be starting my new school year soon so I need to manage my time to squeeze everything in.
RD: What would be your advice for young women following in your footsteps?
SP: Believe in yourself and bring out your inner potential. You will be amazed how far you can go.