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by Alexandra Nicole Nuralam

Zahra Khanum: Life Lessons From the Miss Universe Pageant

Zahra Khanum (@iamzahrakhanum) is more than the woman who competed at the Miss Singapore Universe 2018 pageant and walked away with the title. The 26-year-old first embarked on her modelling journey as one of the contestants of The New Paper New Face in 2016. Today, Zahra is a dedicated English teacher and content creator partnering with brands like Estee Lauder, Make Up For Ever, Puma and Love Bonito.

“I wear many hats so being a multi-tasker comes naturally,” Zahra tells BEAUBIT. “Apart from my full-time job and creating content for the brands that I work closely with, I also take the time to prioritise my self-care days. It’s important for me to stay healthy by eating well and staying fit. I also make sure to dedicate time for my family and friends.”

Being a part of the Miss Universe pageant, she had the opportunity to meet and interact with people from all walks of life: “What I loved so much was that all these people were incredibly humble, grounded and always ready to serve and help the people around them. It has always been a life goal of mine that I hope to carry out in my personal life.”

She cites the beauty pageant as where she learnt that hard work and discipline was essential to achieving your goals. “Through this incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience, I learnt that nothing comes easy and a lot of hard work, dedication and discipline needs to be inculcated in everything you do to be able to achieve your goals,” says Zahra. “What I learnt was that I had to be clear on my purpose and what I hoped to achieve so that my mind was focused to help drown out the negativity.”

“With every setback, it all comes down to your purpose and how much you’re willing to do to achieve that goal. I learnt how to see my setbacks as an opportunity to learn and grow. It is very important to keep going, keep learning and to be highly adaptable.”

And one of the most important lessons she can impart? To not be afraid of being yourself. “I learnt how to be confident in my own skin and not have doubts about the woman I am and who I’ll become.”

As for her future plans, Zahra says she hopes to continue growing and learning. “I hope to put myself out there more, in terms of modelling, acting and building a brand of my own. I want to strengthen the relationships I have with my loved ones and to give back to the community and make it a better place, one step at a time.”

Five Questions with Zahra

What is your earliest memory of beauty?

Watching my mother going about her makeup routine and dressing up for work or for events!

Talk us through your skincare routine and your holy-grail beauty products.

I work very closely with my facialist at Haach to address skin concerns and to ensure I’m using the right products for my face. But I find that these three steps are essential to my routine: exfoliating, cleansing and moisturising.

My daytime and nighttime routine are the same. I start with cleansing, followed by applying a thin layer of Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+ for my dehydrated skin. Then I’ll go in with Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair, followed by the Revitalising Supreme+ Bright Power Soft Crème before I start my day and before I go to bed.

I make sure I exfoliate once every two weeks with The Body Shop’s Drops of Youth Liquid Peel. It’s a gel-to-peel exfoliator that isn’t too harsh on my super sensitive skin.

Three makeup staples?

Concealer, bronzer and lipstick.

‘No-makeup’ makeup or actually no makeup?

I alternate between the two based on the events I have planned out for the day. I’ll go makeup-free for those days when I just want my skin to breathe; and I’ll go with a more natural, ‘no-makeup’ look if I have casual meetings planned or when I head to work. I love that it’s a quick look to create and it looks effortless!

Favourite skincare step?

Moisturizing! I love the ways moisturizers leave my skin with a glowing radiance! I’ll apply it on bare skin before I begin my day or at the end of the day and my face will be glowing with absolutely no fuss.

Zahra’s Beauty Picks
Dr Haach Enzyme Cleansing Gel, SGD48
Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+, SGD60
Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex Serum, SGD224
Estée Lauder Revitalising Supreme+ Bright Power Soft Crème, SGD191
The Body Shop Drops of Youth Liquid Peel, SGD32


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