SET­TING HER SIGHTS ON LA LA LAND

Model, ac­tress and beauty queen Sa­man­tha Katie James wants to broaden her hori­zons to Hol­ly­wood, writes AREF OMAR

New Straits Times - - Entertainment -

POS­I­TIVELY charm­ing and dis­arm­ingly beau­ti­ful, Miss Uni­verse Malaysia 2017 win­ner Sa­man­tha Katie James will be vy­ing for the crown in the up­com­ing Miss Uni­verse 2017 pageant on Nov 26.

She will be com­pet­ing against 41 other del­e­gates in the 66th edi­tion of the pop­u­lar in­ter­na­tional event, to be held in a host coun­try that has yet to be an­nounced as of press time.

When met, the con­fi­dent 22-year-old was also mus­ing on her dream to be­come a bright spark in Tin­sel­town.

“I want to make it big in the United States,” said the Pan-Asian beauty of Chi­nese and Brazil­ian de­scent, who hails from Klang, Se­lan­gor.

A model since 17, Sa­man­tha’s ca­reer has seen her liv­ing in the United States, Brazil, In­dia and Thai­land. She has also done com­mer­cials and movies in In­done­sia and China.

In 2015, she had a lead role in hor­ror mys­tery, Kastil Tua, a Malaysian-In­done­sian co-pro­duc­tion, which fea­tured a story set around Kel­lie’s Cas­tle in Perak.

The 170cm-tall lass with flow­ing dark brown hair said she wanted to take her chances and dream big with Hol­ly­wood.

“I feel that my look is ac­cepted there,” she said at a char­ity func­tion for Har­low’s & MGI Sdn Bhd in Kuala Lumpur re­cently.

Sa­man­tha lamented that she would never get a reg­u­lar Malaysian role back home due to her for­eign-look­ing features.

“I just look very orang putih, so I keep get­ting those type of roles here,” said the tal­ented woman, who speaks flu­ent English and Malay, and also un­der­stands Tamil and Man­darin.

Her dream projects?

Not one to shy away from aim­ing high, she said with a smile: “Some­thing in a Marvel movie or tele­vi­sion se­ries, or even a Disney princess role.”

Sa­man­tha said she re­ceived lo­cal act­ing of­fers al­ready, but could not di­vulge any de­tails yet.

“But, don’t judge a book by its cover. I may look white but I’m Malaysian on the in­side,” she said with a steely gaze.

And, a steely de­ter­mi­na­tion is what brought her suc­cess.

Sa­man­tha first took part in the Miss Uni­verse Malaysia 2013 pageant and ended up in the Top 8 group­ing.

Not one to give in eas­ily, she took part for the sec­ond time and was crowned Miss Uni­verse Malaysia 2017 on Feb 23 at The Ma­jes­tic Ho­tel in Kuala Lumpur.

“I felt proud of my­self. All my hard work and pos­i­tive af­fir­ma­tions had worked out. So, never give up.”

On whether she is feel­ing the bur­den now that she will be rep­re­sent­ing Malaysia at the up­com­ing in­ter­na­tional beauty pageant, she said: “No pres­sure re­ally, I’m ready.”

Part of her prepa­ra­tion has been a phys­i­cal one as well, which she nar­rowed down to run­ning.

“I’ve been train­ing hard and I re­cently ran a 21km marathon. If I win, I want to be the first Miss Uni­verse who runs marathons,” she said.

Be­ing in the lime­light does draw its fair share of haters aside from the ad­mir­ers.

“I just ig­nore it, I know where I stand and who I am, so I don’t care. I just fo­cus on the pos­i­tive (as­pects) and keep the com­pany of peo­ple who are pos­i­tive, too.”

She of­fered a piece of ad­vice to peo­ple who want to have a whole­some and happy life: “Choose the right friends.”

As for her chances of win­ning the pageant, she said: “Whether I win or not, at least I get to make new friends.”

Miss Uni­verse Malaysia 2017 Sa­man­tha Katie James says de­spite her looks, she is a true Malaysian on the in­side

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