Jun 14, 2023


We rarely find professional lawyers participating in beauty pageants but a desire for a change led 38-year-old high-achieving litigator Datin Woon Huei Chin from Kuala Lumpur to join her very first pageant last year. Her decision to join a beauty pageant certainly paid off handsomely, as not only did she win the inaugural Mrs Peace & Culture International Pageant 2022 crown, but she also managed to transform herself completely during the entire process which lasted around 2 months. She also won herself loads of new friends, fans and supporters along the way.

For someone who is quite used to arguing cases in front of judges, she had to face a whole new kind of judge during her pageant competition, who needed more than just words to convince them. Not only did she win the main title against twelve other delegates she also secured the GEM Ambassador & Most Popular Award subsidiary titles. She was also one of six finalists given the opportunity to compete in the talent round where she performed a crowd-rousing KPop number.

She was selected as the winner by a panel of esteemed industry judges that included International Tour Master Gregory Chew, Founder & President of Asia Success Media Group Dato' Dr Jacky Chee, Founder of Angie Jewels, Angie Ng and Emily Tang.

Datin Woon graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of Reading, United Kingdom in 2006 and completed her Bar Vocational Course (BAR) at the University of the West of England, United Kingdom in 2007.
She began her law career immediately upon receiving her BAR when she started chambering at Shearn Delamore & Co, one of the nation’s most prominent law firms, in late 2007. This is where she met her husband whom she married in 2012. She joined another prominent firm Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill in mid-2009 before starting her own practice Tiong & Woon (currently Tiong Woon & Khusyri) with her husband. She has been a successful lawyer for more than 15 years, having won most of her cases throughout her distinguished career.
After the pandemic, she was more focused on networking and marketing for the company’s business expansion.

When asked by people around her why she decided to join a pageant which Is a totally different world from her current professional and life path, she had this to say;
“For the past 15 years, I have been doing litigation and dealing with all things black and white - gathering evidence, facts checking and studying & preparing documents etc. After two years of the pandemic, I wanted something different. Something that could create a breakthrough for me.”
The mother of two beautiful daughters aged 3 & 9, shared that she joined pageantry to learn from the type of training which will speak to her body language, one that was different, all-encompassing and more dynamic. It was the first time she learned to walk on the runway, dance Korean K-Pop, groom, style etc. Initially, she found it unbearable and exhausting but being driven she persevered on, as she wanted to equip herself with all these newfound skills.

“On the stage, we really have to use our body language, especially how we carry ourselves, how we walk and how to look elegant at all times,” she expressed.
Learning to walk on the runway was a big challenge for her.
“For the past 38 years, I have been walking like a normal person. It’s different on the runway. You have to sashay when you walk and twist your waist and hips, in a more feminine or slightly exaggerated way while looking engaging and elegant. Your posture throughout has to be upright without being stiff in order to look beautiful and desirable,” added the newly minted-queen."
Datin Woon only had two months to prepare after auditioning and qualifying in March 2022. Her semi-final was in April and her grand final was scheduled for June 2022. Being the perfectionist that she was, she decided to hire catwalk mentors to help her improve her runway walk.

“I engaged 4 different mentors in training me to walk on the runway, including engaging the renowned catwalk guru Benjamin Tong. It was quite trying for me and also costly. More costly than legal fees, but in the end the results were clear,“ she declared.
She spent 1 1/2 hours per session four times a week to get the desired results.
She also had to find a mentor to train her in K-Pop dancing and choreograph her dance performance for her talent round. Her performance was only 2 minutes long but it took her 2 weeks just to learn the beginning 30-second sequence of her performance.
“Not only did I have to learn the routine, I had to prepare my costume, find someone to cut and prepare the song and I also had to rent a studio for the training sessions.”
“My body was just not used to high-energy K-Pop movements. It was very stressful initially but once I broke through, it became easier and everything was okay. I was very happy that I could go through it all and perform it well on stage during the grand finals. I found out later that everyone had enjoyed my show.”
The other major challenge for Datin Woon was walking elegantly in a long gown by Star Fashion.
“I had to wear a pair of six-inch heels and had to find the right kind of shoes to fit me properly and comfortably. It took me a long time to find a suitable one. I kept falling down, mostly from stepping on the back of the gown. Despite all the mishaps, I continued to learn the catwalk, even late at night at home. Finally, I had my shoes custom-made after I found the right shoe designer. It was very satisfying because I felt so secure after that and I could walk much better. You have to be honest with yourself. You cannot walk effortlessly if you do not have the right shoes. It was an invaluable experience.”
The most memorable experience Datin Woon had during the course of her pageant journey was finding and making new friends among the participating delegates and being part of a new group of people from another side of the world.
“I saw how they dressed, how they maintained their body figure, and how they took care of their appearance. I gained new insights as a woman.”
“Previously as a working woman, make-up and dressing up were not very important to me but then after my participation in this pageant journey I found it quite natural and practically essential, and I started practising it more and more each day. Making myself more attractive became an enjoyment to me as a woman,” she laughed in amusement.
“My skin is also healthier now that I am taking care of it better.”
“The whole process of being in this competition has transformed and also empowered me. I had to change into someone different in a very short period of time.”
“I had to find the right make-up artist and hairstylist to prepare me for the competition. I also had to find an image stylist to create a look that was suitable for me.”
“I had to train myself to face obstacles and overcome them, and become more courageous, “ she articulated.
“In the end, it was a great final for me. I slept very little during the 2 months leading up to the finals, I had to continuously prepare and upgrade myself,” she proudly declared.
“But the most important thing was the belief - to make it happen. - no matter what happens. It was my mantra for the competition.”
“I was very grateful that all the of the contestants had a good relationship and rapport with each other. There was good team spirit throughout the competition.”
“After two years of the pandemic, peace is very important to all of us because the world needs to gather itself, heal itself, reduce conflicts and face so many difficult challenges collectively. The last thing we need is more wars. Everyone gains by having peace. Everyone can move or travel freely and not worry about debilitating conflicts.”
“I like the Peace and Culture in the pageant title. It is perfect for the post-pandemic era,” she proclaimed.
“During MCO we were living with a lot of pressure, stress and anxiety. We were all concerned about the virus, its effects and its never-ending spread.”
“It’s good that Malaysians have adapted themselves well to the new way of living. They are more alert and careful with their health and hygiene. They are taking better care of themselves and also their children,” Datin Woon expressed.
When Datin Woon joined Miss & Mrs Peace & Culture International 2022, she was hoping to cultivate a different kind of body language that was more feminine and elegant, and give her a new balance in life and make her more complete as a woman.
As a lawyer she was always in corporate suits or donning coats, discussing cases and dealing with documents and evidence throughout her career. The pageant experience has transformed her beyond the courts and corporate offices and opened up new avenues for her, and has given her a more wholesome outlook on life. The experience has changed and enhanced her and has unleashed her full potential.
As the title winner, she has commitments to the organiser as their ambassador and also some duties to perform as an advocate for peace and culture. This will keep her busy and occupied beyond the courts for at least one year. She will also have some international duties to perform as the queen but all of her activities will take place one by one according to a schedule that the organisers will draw up.
Her number one supporter was her 41-year-old husband Dato’ Angus Tiong Chau Siong. When she informed him about her intention to participate in the competition, he more than encouraged her to participate and was behind her all the way. He had so much confidence in her that he immediately told her that he wanted to buy a stretch of 6 front row tables for the finals, inviting their family, friends and colleagues, so that they all could be there to give her the best support and encouragement during the grand finals.
Datin Woon’s life before the competition was mostly between office, courts and home. During the pandemic, she spent two whole years indoors. After joining the pageant and after going through the comprehensive pageant training program, she has also become sportier and fitter. She slimmed down a lot during the competition and was very thrilled with her shapely new figure. In order to maintain it and keep feeling good about herself, she has started playing badminton and basketball and has become a more active person compared to the past. She has learned to utilise her time well in order to enjoy more variety. It was some of the major changes that she adapted after the competition.
Datin Woon hopes to be an inspiration to other women. It was also one of her intentions when she enrolled in the pageant. She sincerely hopes to help other women unleash their full potential. She feels most women are actually capable of much more and are only utilizing 30% to 40% of their full potential. They can achieve more if they try different things and make things happen for themselves despite any obstacles.
Speaking from her heart, Datin Woon hopes to have more balance in her lifestyle, more time for her family, a beautiful marriage, a happy family, and a better work-life balance. In fact, the title has opened up more doors for her when she is approaching clients for business. It’s a lot easier for her to connect with people now when she is networking. People trust her more and have a lot more confidence in her to deliver.
Her success in Miss & Mrs Peace & Culture International Pageant has seen many other pageant brands approaching her to participate in their competitions. She may consider them after her tenure with the current pageant is over.
Her advice to others who may be considering joining pageants or those who do not believe they can do it;
“We can only know whether we can or cannot, only after we try.”
The inaugural Miss & Mrs Peace And Culture International Pageant, which focuses on respecting and promoting peace and culture through education in order to change the world, was presented by Eminent International and organised by L'Cadeau.


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