Two pageant crowns were won at a glittering finale of Miss Grand Malaysia (MGM) 2017 held at Grand Pacific Ballroom, Evolve Concept Mall, Aras Damansara in Petaling Jaya on Aug 4, 2017.
25-year-old Sanjeda John, biomedical science student and part-time karate instructor from Kota Kinabalu took the Miss Grand Malaysia 2017 title, with 26-year-old Sanjna Suri, a pharmacist and professional singer from Kuala Lumpur taking the Miss Intercontinental Malaysia 2017 title.
The winning pair was crowned by Miss Grand Malaysia 2016 Ranmeet Jassal and they will represent Malaysia in their respective pageant to compete at the world finals.
Sanjeda, the Dusun-Indian mix beauty who also won the Best in Swimwear subsidiary title took home the main prize winnings worth RM28,888 and another USD500 prize for the subsidiary title. She will represent Malaysia at the Miss Grand International 2017 finale taking place in Vietnam on Oct 25.
Sanjna Suri, of northern Indian mix, won herself a prize package worth RM23,888 and will represent Malaysia at the Miss Intercontinental 2017 finale in India on Nov 24 this year.
First runner-up was 26-year-old marketing executive Cass Chen from Kuala Lumpur who won RM8,888 worth of prizes. Fiolla Redup, 24, from Sarawak earned a second runner-up finish with RM6,888 worth of prizes and the Miss Popularity subsidiary title.
The 16 finalists participated in swimsuit and evening gown rounds and were whittled down to Top 7 contestants for the final Q&A round.
In an interview with Citizen Journalists Malaysia (CJMY), the beautiful Sanjeda and Sanjna shared about their thoughts, experiences, interests and future plans.
How do you feel after winning the Miss Grand Malaysia 2017?
Sanjeda: It’s like a dream come true. I am feeling so blessed, thankfuI and proud of myself. I’m really excited and nervous at the same time since I am a holding a national title and the heavy responsibilities the crown brings with it. I’m going to do my best to bring home the first Miss Grand International beauty title for Malaysia.
Sanjna: Honestly, I feel relieved. I am grateful all my hardwork and effort has finally paid off! It has always been a dream to represent Malaysia internationally and win, and now part one of my dream has come true!
What do you think gave you the edge over the other hopefuls?
Sanjeda: I’m proud of my mixed parentage and I believe that had given me a true persona of a Malaysian.
Sanjna: I believe I was one of the seniors in the pageant and the experiences had made me more confident and optimistic. I have been doing shoots and modelling for more than six years so it came like second nature to me. Apart from that, I am very real and fortunately I believe the judges saw through this.
How was your journey at the Miss Grand Malaysia 2017 pageant?
Sanjeda: It was a fun and interesting journey. The trainings were awesome. I learned a lot from the trainings given and got to meet a lot of new people and make many friends. My favourite part was the dance practice – our choreographer Ash was the best!.
Sanjna: It was an incredible journey and a beautiful experience. The organization was very efficient and it was very well planned and executed. We had good training in pageant walk, and Q&A which I felt was very useful. Some of the girls in the pageant were very friendly and true to themselves. We made good friends and we will remain good friends even after the pageant is over.
You are in the public eye now and have become an instant role model for people who can look up to you. What advice can you offer?
Sanjeda: The only advice I can offer is to do whatever you feel passionate about. It is important to find your passion. Just don’t give up trying to do what you’re passionate about as I have participated quite a number of pageants and today I know this moment is worth the wait and effort with the guidance of people around me. Always be yourself as what you are, stay humble and treat everyone with respect.
Sanjna: My advice is never ever give up and always believe in yourself and your goals. Every experience that you go through only makes you a stronger and wiser person. So always be humble and learn as much as you can, and lastly, always be yourself. The world already has everyone else, but only one You!
What are your plans for the future?
Sanjeda: To pursue my studies and inspire the younger generations that beauty and brains would make the best pair.
Sanjna: For now, I am going to focus on the international pageant, the Miss Intercontinental to be held in Mumbai this Nov. I need to work further on improving my catwalk, styling, Q&A & and many more. If I want to win the international title, i would need to train more aggressively. But there’s nothing impossible i cannot achieve if i set my mind to it.
You have other interests. We would like to know more.
Sanjeda: I am a 2nd Dan black belt karate holder. I started training karate since I was 9 years old. It was my dad’s encouragement that empowered me towards learning Karate. He is also a Karate instructor. I used to represent Sabah every year for the ‘Kejohanan Seni Mempertahankan Diri Kebangsaan‘ and represented Malaysia for Asia Pacific Karate-Do Championship twice. I love the trainings and the championships. Another thing that makes me to continue karate is for the sake of self defence and personal safety. It helps me avoid bullies and abuse.
Sanjna: I am a pharmacist but always loved singing, and I never knew it was possible to make a career out of it until I was spotted by a musician. I started by DJing while singing background vocals and harmonies for the popular live band MadSally. They trained me for a year, and now I am the lead vocalist of the band. I sometimes do acoustic gigs on the side and I have my own original single released in 2016. However there is still a long way to go, and I am learning every single day.