Tuesday April 24, 2012
Ready To Reign
Sweet and enthusiastic were the two words that kept running in my head upon meeting Kimberley Leggett, Miss Universe Malaysia 2012. Thrown into the limelight at the age of 18, the now 19-year-old is holding her own as she adapts to living away from her family. She's also looking for that fine balance between juggling her responsibilities and enjoying what is left of her teenage years.
Kimberley, who also speaks French, is an only child and of British and Eurasian blood.
"The last few months brought about a lot of change for me as I needed to make the move to Kuala Lumpur to see to my duties. This meant leaving my family and friends in Penang and figuring out a new life for myself. That said, I am keeping my eyes and ears open as I'm determined to learn all that I can through this experience," she says.
Having deferred her studies to the University of California (UCLA) to 2013, she is often found working with the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) as it is a cause she feels strongly about.
"MNS is involved in a wide range of environmental activities and campaigns and has been credited with a number of conservation achievements as a result of those public campaigns. I also help out at Deborah Henry's Fugee School which is a non-profit charity organisation that provides basic education to close to 90 Somalian refugee children." shared the 175cm Penangite.
As Malaysia's representative for the Miss Universe Pageant, one of her tasks is getting the public to know her better. So this includes a lot of appearances while the organization grooms her for the global event.
Kimberley says she normally focuses on her diet and exercise months before the pageant.
"I generally lead a healthy lifestyle as I have always been active and love sports. It is a little tough now what with my hectic schedule, but I try to maintain eating six small meals everyday as it keeps me fuelled all day. Exercise wise, I participate in marathons although just the 10km runs for now. When I am not training, I head to the gym every other day.
"I want to be in the best possible physical condition that I can be and do it the healthy way. ‘Your body is a temple', as they say and I'm going to be feeding it right so that my skin, hair, nails and general wellbeing are getting the proper nutrients. This is so that I can have a natural glow (I hope!). It is an arduous journey but I remain inspired. As my mum once told me, ‘If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail'. Mentally, I think that no amount of preparation can completely eradicate nerves, but I will be preparing myself in every way possible and in all areas of the pageant. In the end, whatever happens, I will know I did everything I could to prepare for the title and that I did my best." she added.
It is unclear what lies ahead for the teenager as her path beyond 2012 is heavily dependent on the outcome of the Miss Universe pageant in December. But she is very sure of what she wants to do should she be a winner.
"If I were to win the Miss Universe crown, my duties would be to move my life to New York City, live in Trump Tower and travel the world to spread the message about the disease control, peace and public awareness of AIDS, just to name a few. At my age, I do feel that I still have time to complete my studies and I intend to do that because education is very important to me," she said. "With the title of Miss Universe, it is undeniable that a million doors will open up for me and with that, different avenues will present themselves. I would perhaps try them out and see what suits me best while if possible, complete my studying on the side. The Miss Universe title comes with a scholarship at the New York Film Academy, so whichever way the wind blows."
With barely any time for herself, one has to ask, who is Kimberley Leggett now and how does she stay grounded?
"The one thing I did learn from the whole Miss Universe Malaysia experience is that I have to remain focused with my mind on the prize. Being on TV, I also made sure I remained true to who I am. My friends and family back home truly helped me with that. Staying disciplined and trusting my support system is the key in my life and are tools I will hold on to especially on the next leg of this venture. I do find though that because so much of my time is taken up, my home is now a sanctuary, and when I find some time to spare, I cook or watch a movie. "
As young as she is, what she really wants will strike a chord with everyone: "In the end, I hope to see myself happy and to be successful in life."