25-year-old Kuching-born Dayak native, Francisca Luhong James, has made her state proud after beating 17 finalists to be crowned Miss Universe Malaysia this year.
According to Borneo Talk, Francisca has rich mixed roots in the Kayan-Kenyah-Iban lineage. Her father, James Bungan, is of Oran Ulu descent from Ulu Sungai Asap and her mother, Pauline Japok, is an Iban from Kanowit.
Both a Public Relations & Marketing Executive as well as a part-time model, Francisca is a huge champion of women empowerment. Following her Women Rise movement, the newly crowned Miss Universe Malaysia believes that women can reach greater heights when they support each other. Francisca also serves as an active voice for #StirringUpBorneo, undertaking charity work in the rural areas of Sarawak.
Francisca said winning the crown was a surreal experience for her. She strives to continue being an advocate for women. “My advocacy is on women empowerment and I believe that women empowerment begins with yourself. I realised that when I fell and got back up, a lot of people lost their trust me in during my journey.”
“What I learnt is that believing in yourself is the most important thing in order to achieve your goals. I’ve been on this pageant journey for a very long time and I actually wanted to give up on pageants before, but something told me that I should join Miss Universe Malaysia, so I just followed my heart,” said the reigning Miss Universe Malaysia in a press release.
Francisca was crowned in the grand finale that was streamed live for the very first time on Saturday evening (5 September) on the pageant’s official website for those who purchased viewing tickets.
Finalists had to go through many rounds of evaluation such as the evening gown parade, swimwear, and a Q&A session with the MC.
In second place was Charissa Chong Su Huey from Selangor, followed by Serene Chai Yong Bin from Johor who was in third place.
Congratulations, Francisca! What do you guys think of this?
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