Sun, 19 May 2024


Tambunan lass makes her mark
Published on: Sunday, September 10, 2023
By: Jeremy S Zabala
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Walker with the teachers, students and alumni of SM All Saints as well as members of Sabah Kinabalu Pink Ribbon.
ENDING her journey at the international stage of Miss Supranational 2023 by securing among the top 24 is not defeat but a huge success for Sabahan, Deidre Ann Walker.

Deidre, who represented Malaysia at the pageant, said it was not just a whole new experience. It gave her a better understanding that there are hidden talents in Sabah that could reach further if given the chance.

An advocate of breast cancer awareness, she said it would be another mission for her to further encourage locals in the State to step out of their comfort zone and display their abilities and talents, especially on the world stage.

“I did not view it as a defeat (after securing top 24) but a win as it was not only a valuable experience and exposure, but it has given me a whole new understanding towards what Sabahans can do, especially at the international-level.

“Although I am currently focused with my role as Miss Supranational Malaysia and engaged with my advocacy, the recent experience had been an eye opener that Sabahans can do better or even the best at that stage.

Walker wearing the Contemporary Sabah Ethnic Gown designed by Bruno George Sadiwa.. Right pic: Walker donning the National Costume.

Walker holding up the Malaysian flag at the Miss Supranational 2023.

“That will be another mission for me. I will try to carry out programmes or activities to encourage locals to step out of their comfort zone and seize the opportunity as I have,” she told Daily Express.

During her three-week journey at Strzelecki Park Amphitheater, Nowy Sącz, Małopolska, Poland, the 29-year-old from Tambunan performed as a proud Sabahan against 64 other finalists, going through a series of challenges to showcase not just her beauty but also her skills.

Walker maintained her confidence and resilience upon reaching the European continent with her mentality programmed to one thing – to win the pageant.

With the determination and commitment, she was able to stamp her presence in the pageant after obtaining titles amongst the finalist under several categories comprising – Top 2 Asia Top Model, Top 10 Supra Top Model, Top 8 Talent and Top 10 Fan Vote.

She shared that going through the challenges was not nerve-wrecking but instead made her further realise how Sabahans could achieve and obtain top spots in the international stage if given the proper platform – immediately planting the idea of “harvesting” talents in the State.

“Securing places amongst other contestants throughout the competition while at the same time stamping an image did not only further encourage me in going through the competition to win it but also having the desire to make an impression as a Sabahan.

“Having obtained a place in the challenges made me realise even further that there are locals – not just me – who are capable to present impactful performance on the world stage.

“That is one of the main reasons that the idea of creating a platform or carry out programmes would help pave way in uncovering hidden talents in Sabah that could reach not just the national stage but also internationally,” she added.

Growing up, Walker said she admired beauty pageants, especially those from Sabah, who left a mark in the industry’s growth in the State.

She said they showed abilities and talents that have not only inspired her to emulate their footprints but also to reach heights that would bring further positive changes not just towards the nation but also Sabah.

“I hope this would create a ripple effect as it did for me. I hope more Sabahans would try their best and be the faces of the State – if not – the nation,” she added.

The former showroom manager said she will not stray from her initial advocacy on breast cancer awareness but she intends to thrive in both fields.

Since before the pageant, she was always committed to ensure that the awareness message regarding the disease will reach women across the country.

Now being a national figure, she intends to use her position to further amplify the message to women and ensure that everyone is aware about the disease and that early detection is vital.

“My breast cancer awareness advocacy was inspired after having losing my late mother to the disease in 2021.”

She said that there are plans to carry out programmes with non-governmental organisations.

Meanwhile, Walker said her three-week journey at the international stage was a remarkable and memorable experience.

Walker sharing about her journey as a caretaker and emphasising the importance of ‘Early Detection Of Breast Cancer’ at SM All Saints.

She said her confidence did not waver. The presence of other international finalists boosted her determination not just to return home with the crown but also to leave a positive mark on the world stage.

She also said it was undeniable that the pressure to compete against 64 finalists was not an excuse for her to lose focus.

“As the first Sabahan to secure top 24 in the pageant, there is nothing else to feel but proud, fortunate and blessed having to secure the position although it was challenging as there were a lot of amazing contestants.

“During my three-week journey in Poland, I would say I was very consistent and performed well,” she said, adding that she had the winning mindset throughout the competition.

Walker also said she would have not been able to perform as well if not for the continuous support from her team, Audrey Wilson Rantau and Clarvie M. Charles Spawa.

With their presence, she said the competition went smoothly.

“There had always been close communication between us which was vital throughout the international competition.

“We were on the same page and every plan was executed to perfection,” she added.

She said the final stage was an eye-opening experience as it not only gave her the chance to share other countries the cultures and traditions that exist in Malaysia, particularly Sabah, but also helped her understand other cultures as well.

She felt proud to be given the chance to carry out performances not just by donning traditional outfits but also showcasing her abilities in traditional dances such as the Igal Igal dance – a famous Bajau dance.

“I am just a girl from the interior but managed to reach such heights. I believe there are many more Sabahans, especially women, who could do the same or even better if given the chance or platform,” she said.


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