updated 28 Nov 2013, 23:59
Login password
Wed, Nov 27, 2013
The New Paper
Email Print Decrease text size Increase text size
A grand bust-up
by Charlene Chua

It was to have been Miss Elizabeth Houghton's first overseas beauty pageant.

But the Singapore representative's experience at the recent inaugural Miss Grand International, held in Bangkok, didn't end the way she expected.

She was dropped before the finals last Tuesday.

This came as a shock to Miss Houghton, who had earned her spot in the pageant after finishing first runner-up in Miss World Singapore 2013 in July.

The British-Eurasian nursing student, 18, alleged she was dropped from the pageant because she had "talked back" to the organisers. She arrived in Bangkok on Nov 3 and was sent home 10 days later, six days before the pageant's finals on Nov 19.

Her mother had flown there to be with her for three days.

Miss Houghton told The New Paper: "They (the organisers and the chaperones) were humiliating some of the girls like Miss Germany and Miss Sweden and calling them fat.

"So I spoke up for Miss Germany and told the organisers to stop calling her fat because it's not nice.

"They told me to shut up or I would be sent home."

She also claimed that many of the more than 70 contestants were handled roughly by the organisers.

She claimed that as a result, she pulled a neck muscle and had to be sent for treatment at a hospital in Bangkok.

After she returned to the hotel the same day, she said that she was told by the organisers that they didn't want to "look after" her anymore and she was on a flight home soon after.

Miss Puerto Rico, Janelee Chaparro, ended up taking the crown.

The first and second runners-up were Miss Dominican Republic, Chantel Martinez, and Miss Australia, Kelly Louise Maguire, respectively.

Miss Houghton said: "Despite the bad treatment, I was having a good time with the girls and getting along really well with all of them. "Although I've returned hurt and felt like I had let people down, I am now a bit older and a bit wiser.

"Hopefully, my experience can serve as a warning to others (who are thinking of joining pageants)."

She added that she is not thinking about joining more pageants.

"For now, I'm just going to concentrate on my studies."


Her parents, Mr Adrian Houghton and Mrs Emelda Houghton, said that they too, were greatly affected by the incident.

Mr Houghton, 41, operations director of Tadcaster Hospitality, said he had spent $5,000 on his daughter's clothes, make-up and gym membership to ensure that she was a bona fide beauty queen.

He said: "Although it's never been about the money, it's so disappointing to go through all that and put in all that effort (and end up with her being sent home).

"Elizabeth is a strong person and I'm confident she will grow through the experience."


Miss Grand International


Nov 19


Bangkok, Thailand

Did you know?

This is the first Miss Grand International.

The pageant’s president, Thai TV host Nawat Itsaragrisil, was director and executive producer of the Miss World Thailand beauty pageant from 2007 till last year.

According to its website, the pageant aims to “stop violence in society” and “make a stand for the betterment of humanity”.

Get The New Paper for more stories.

readers' comments

Copyright © 2013 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.