I start by getting a usually very sensitive question out of the way but I don't have
to prod Selina for an answer.
"I'm going on to 30." That's ten years down the road since she was crowned
Born of a Singhalese father and a Chinese mother she grew up in Kuala Lumpur, the
eldest of three girls. She had her first taste of the limelight when she took part
in a traditional costume contest at school.
"I was 13 then and I wore my mother's wedding cheong-sum. I enjoyed being all
dolled up." That probably fuelled the desire to become a model but her parents
were strict. They wanted her to acquire a skill she could fall back on. So she enrolled
in a college for a secretarial course and she walked away with her certificate and
a beauty title on graduation night.
Then it was on to a secretarial post at a hotel and once again, she left with a title
under her belt this time it was Miss Regent. By then, she had enrolled in a modelling
course and it was only natural that she went on to bigger and better things for one,
the Miss Malaysia pageant.
That was her dream and she had to try. Being the last contestant to sign up she was
very conscious of the other girls sizing her up. Everyone being a rival, it was a
formidable situation. Fortunately for Selina there were some contestants who were
extremely nice and they have remained friends.
"Every girl was treated as if they had already won and we were accorded special
treatment," she recalls. "We had our pictures in the newspapers and at
19 it felt good being recognized."
However, she was not confident of capturing the title. Having signed up late everything
was a chaos and a rush. Her gown was still being sewn on the night of the final and
she had to be content with her hair stylist doing her make up.
When she was announced the winner, her dad was at home sitting by the TV eagerly
awaiting the news and he was a proud man that night. Unfortunately her mother had
"All the other girls had their families with them but there I was with my designer
and my hair stylist three odd people standing backstage," she says. I can see
from her eyes how vivid the memory is.
The years have been kind to Selina and
trust me, the screen doesn't do her justice. She is ravishing. And she laughs easily.
Throughout the chat she insists, amidst a flurry of gestures, that she's an extremely
She still accepts invitations to officiate at functions and as she candidly puts
it, "As long as there is demand I will supply."
After her year of reign she went back to modelling until Gold Quest, the glitzy gameshow
aired on Metrovision, came along. It so happened that she was getting bored and was
looking for options.
"When my casting house asked me to go for the audition I thought it was a wasteof
time," she says. "But when I was chosen as a co-host I was like a jumping
bean around the house. I thought about it because I didn't want to give up my privacy
but the money was a big help to decide."
And off she goes on a fit of chuckles.
She met anchor man, Adam, on the set and they were groomed for their roles.
"It wasn't easy," says Selina. "You had to be aware of your body language
and although you know what that is, you don't practise it. Suddenly it's a big thing.
Then there are certain words that you can't say like 'Oh, my God' or something a
little less define."
I am wondering that it must take supreme effort on her part to restrain those very
active hands of hers while she's on a show.
Selina and Adam had done a commercial together in the past but it still took them
a while to be comfortable working with each other. On top of that they had to work
at breakneck speed to shoot 36 shows within a month.
"But I wouldn't have wanted it any other way," says Selina. "It would
have been more nerve-wrecking if we had to do it a little at a time."
She knows that she is often compared with Vanna White of Wheel of Fortune fame and
she's quite irritated about it because her role is much more demanding than Vanna's.
"She hardly speaks but I do and there is no scripting too. I also have to count
on the spot. I was watching her the other day and thinking if my life were like hers,
wouldn't it be a breeze. I would just have to look pretty and trot up and down. The
only thing we're emulating from Wheel of Fortune is the costumes, the glitz. And
except for the clothes I'm very much myself when I'm on the show."
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