Miss Intl HK Rosemary Ling on Finding Herself in Pageantry
Hong Kong/Fashionista/Beauty

Reigning Miss Intl HK Rosemary Ling Talks Finding Herself Through Pageantry

Reigning Miss Intl HK Rosemary Ling Talks Finding Herself Through Pageantry 2

This interview is part of The Beat Hong Kong’s International Women’s Month coverage. Through highlighting women’s voices, we are celebrating and uplifting the women around us through their stories and multifaceted experiences.

Stroll past any ad board or scroll past a post that features model Rosemary Ling, and anyone can agree that she is gorgeous. It should come as no surprise that she currently reigns as the titular beauty queen of the 2021/22 Miss International Hong Kong pageant, having represented the city in Tokyo in Dec. 2022 for the competition’s long overdue 2021 run.

Whilst she also gracefully flits between a career of modelling and offering an innovative eye as a creative producer for a jewellery brand, a deeper glimpse into her achievements unveils the passion driven efforts she puts in behind a glamorous style and bright smile.

Sitting down with The Beat Asia to unpack the work that goes into portraying your genuine self through beauty, Rosemary shares with us her experiences that have helped her slip on the confidence she has today, as well as how other women can learn to find this ability within themselves too.

Photo provided by/Rosemary Ling

Having long felt drawn to the world of modelling and beauty, Rosemary’s aspirations had often felt dimmed by the rigid beauty standards the limelight was limited to – a specific set of features, a certain complexion, a particular body type.

Still, going against the grain to journey into the industry, her modelling career was catalysed by none other than the pandemic. Being barred from university campus and moving around, she dedicated her energy to sports and fitness, leading her to new shifts in not only her weight and appearance, which opened more doors in casting, but more importantly had also redefined her outlook to enforcing action. “If I want this, I can attain it. If I want something else, I can do it,” she remarks.

Literally stepping out of her comfort zone, she had a breakout show walking for Harmony HK, and continued to accelerate on her modelling gigs with a renewed approach that disregarded the ‘industry standard’ of looks as a basis for measuring her capabilities and portfolio.

“What clients are looking for, it's not only the ‘model-looking’ person, they're looking for people that you will see day to day, but with a lot of confidence. I will say confidence, and being outspoken, having their own grounds.”

“I don't think it's there's any more standards for beauty, but it’s how you present yourself, your charisma, and how you're doing something to advocate your thoughts and your voice. And people will find that it's not even outside beauty, but [how you shine] as a person that’s beautiful.”

Photo provided by/Rosemary Ling

Looking to venture into new areas, pageantry arose as a new path. The opportunity of Miss International represented more than a beauty contest. While the stage was set for a massive audience, the preparation behind closed doors and beyond the dressing room opened up what Rosemary felt was a chance to prove to herself she could be able to grow beyond her existing goals and wants to reach for even more.

“I wanted to challenge myself, I wanted to do something different. Being able to represent Hong Kong at one of the world's biggest international pageants would be a dream come true. This is something I want to tell my grandparents, my [future] kids, that I was able to meet girls from around the world with their different values and aspirations.”

“A lot of people say, ‘Oh, you guys are having a competition, there must be a lot of drama. You guys want to win?’ Actually, no, because we are from different backgrounds. Some are actors, some are TV hosts, some are doctors, we all want to make the most out of our life, so to say. So when we're together, it's not when we talk about, we're actually supporting each other because we know the end goal is to all have the best experience, and who is going to win isn’t in our hands at all.”

Photo provided by/Rosemary Ling

Working alongside with her Mr International Hong Kong counterpart by creating content for their shared platform, she was particularly taken with the cause of uplifting confidence among women.

“The beauty pageant scene these [past] years has been focusing a lot outside of outer beauty. For Miss International, before the competition, we were encouraged to do some SDG projects that we could promote and advocate amongst our community. My focus was on human equality and workplace equality.”

Tying into her own work experience and journey of self-growth, she felt a kinship to the communities and individuals who were intent on propping up a stage where all women could shine. Speaking to lawyers regarding how to advocate for causes, stepping up as a global ambassador for the Women of Hong Kong network - the end of the competition became only a first step.

Photo provided by/Rosemary Ling

“When I started my modelling career, and people started asking me how to be confident, I thought for so long. I don't know, it's something that when you experience more, you're not scared about it, you just go do it.”

Highlighting the importance of self-understanding, Rosemary furthers the belief that outer beauty is most recognizable once we can find and sustain our internal confidence. After all, beauty is not a one-dimensional asset.

“I know the experience of being inside of myself and not walking out. It's very important you understand yourself well and try different things, doing something that you're scared of everyday. Then, we will be normalizing all the scares and learn to become a better person. I want to take this chance to cheer all women, to just ask them to do something they want to do – and don’t be fearful about it.”

You can keep updated with Rosemary and her projects by following her at @rozmuhree.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Click here to see the rest of our International Women’s Month series.

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