Recently, a beauty queen has been the talk of the town as she is expected to stand in for the elections this year (2018), reported The Star. Dubbed ‘beauty with brains’, Jo-Anna Sue Henley Rampas is a multi-talented woman with a knack for politics.
Before she became famous, she was just a regular girl from Sabah. Then, after the winning the Unduk Ngadau title (a Kadazan Dusun beauty contest) 10 years ago, she immediately shot to fame in Sabah as she pursued a career in music after completing her tertiary education. A Malaysian Wonder Woman!
Prior to that, she was in the advertising industry curating Samsung Milk’s Music for Malaysia and Indonesia while in London. After that, in 2016, she returned home and decided to become a people’s representative in her hometown, Kiulu. Thus, her venture into politics began when Parti Warisan Sabah needed a youth icon to represent the millennials and Gen Zs, and she fitted the role perfectly. Pretty impressive, huh?
Well, her awesomeness doesn’t stop there, because here are 5 more interesting facts about Jo-Anna, the deputy chief of Wirawati Parti Warisan Sabah and icon of Wirawati, the party’s young women’s wing:
1. She’s a child of mixed heritage
In case you can’t tell, this beauty certainly has Pan-Asian looks. If you guessed that she’s Eurasian, you’re absolutely right because she was born to a British father and a Malaysian mother of Kadazan-Dusun descent.
Nevertheless, she is as Malaysian as she gets! After all, she can speak fluent Malay, Dusun, and English. In fact, her whole childhood was spent in Malaysia as she grew up in Kiulu, Kota Kinabalu, Penampang and Petagas. According to her, she had a fun childhood as she equally enjoyed playing outside as well as indoors.
“I think I had a fun childhood. I had friends from the city and the kampung, and they are two different worlds. I thought I adapted well to both, although they were very different. I was just as happy to run around outside climbing trees as I was playing video games. I guess when you’re young, you don’t care, you just want to play,” she shared.
One might even say, she had the best of both worlds!
2. She’s a law graduate
This Wonder Woman has a Masters in Law from the University of West England. Wowza!
Before this, she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Law from the University of London after she completed her A-levels at ATC (Advanced Tertiary College). However, despite obtaining degrees from Universities abroad, Jo-Anna is actually a product of the local education system because she completed her primary and secondary studies in Malaysia.
With that said, Jo-Anna has yet to practise law as she is now focused on obtaining maximum votes if she contests.
3. She’s a former beauty queen and singer
As mentioned earlier, the bubbly and passionate politician started off as a beauty queen but the state contest, Unduk Ngadau was her first and last beauty pageant.
Fun fact: Unduk Ngadau is a prestigious event to honour the spirit of Huminodun, a beautiful mythological character who gave up her life in exchange for a plentiful harvest for her community. The name of the pageant came from the ethnic words Runduk Tadau, which means ‘the girl crowned by the sunlight’.
According to Jo-Anna, she was actually encouraged by her friends to join the pageant after SPM.
“I was encouraged to join it by my friends while waiting for our SPM results. I didn’t think I would win. I was at my “maximum chubby” at the time. I was the heaviest contestant at 60kg. Everyone was in their 40s and 50s. I was not insecure but I find it funny,” she said.
Right after winning the title of Unduk Ngadau, Jo-Anna proceeded to further her studies in law before returning to Malaysia to pursue a career in music. She even released a song titled “Siou”; you can listen to her angelic voice here:
[arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=8&v=0hcUEuXSYHk” /]
Besides singing and winning the beauty pageant, Jo-Anna also dabbled in some modelling before taking on politics seriously.
4. She’s a certified fitness instructor
Although she was bit ‘chubby’ during her Unduk Ngadau days, she had quickly adopted a healthy lifestyle after a diagnosis revealed that she had high cholesterol.
“At the age of 19, I was getting bad headaches and the doctor told me I had high cholesterol for my age. It took me awhile but I began to lose weight over the years. I was going to the gym regularly, and I got certified as a fitness trainer in the United Kingdom, as a way to earn extra income,” she explained.
However, Jo-Anna stopped weight-lifting for a while because she dislocated her shoulder last year in the UK. She had to go through a surgery where they fixed three screws in her shoulder. Ouch!
“The doctor says I won’t have the same strength anymore and I’m more fragile now,” she said.
Last year (2016), she tore a shoulder muscle again after a vigorous handshake with a villager but she vowed to get back to weight-lifting even though the doctor suggests otherwise. Truly a steel woman!
5. Politics is in her blood
Getting into politics isn’t quite as shocking in Jo-Anna’s case. This is because many of her relatives and ancestors were politicians and leaders as well. What’s more, her mother was also a candidate for the now-defunct Parti AKAR in 1994. Like mother, like daughter!
“My uncle was a state assemblyman from 1999 to 2013 and my grandfather was a native chief who was among those who discovered Kiulu… it’s in my blood,” she said.
It’s definitely no doubt that she’s a natural born leader!
Thus, according to reports, Jo-Anna may run against Datuk Jonistan for GE14.
“I still don’t know if I will be contesting against Datuk Joniston. But whoever it is I am going against, seasoned politician or not, my focus will be on winning the majority vote,” she said.
You go, girl!
In a nutshell, Jo-Anna is definitely an inspiration to most of us, especially to the modern day women! We hope that her strength, ambition and intelligence will continue to inspire more youngsters to achieve their dreams.
We wish Jo-Anna all the best for GE14 too!
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