Interview: Singapore mum wins Mrs. Planet 2013 title
44-year-old, Singaporean mother Carol Neo is the first Asian to win the Mrs. Planet title.
The Singaporean gem
Standing at 1.65 centimetres tall, the Singaporean beauty agreed to meet me for a chat and so graciously shared her thoughts on winning the Mrs. Planet 2013 title, as well as being a stay-at-home mum of two.
As star struck as I was at the beginning, she took me by surprise and calmed my nerves with her very humble personality and jovial ways. And I realised that as beautiful and stunning as she appeared to be, she remains a dedicated homemaker, a loving wife and most importantly, a devoted mother.
Carol represented Singapore in the Mrs. Planet 2013 pageant and was crowned winner out of the 45 contestants from all over the world. The competition took place in Sozopol, Bulgaria, from the 16th to 23rd of June. The mother of two children, 13-year-old Vanessa and 11-year-old Brandon, emerged champion after naming Mrs. Ukraine and Mrs. Russia as the first runner-ups, Mrs. Malaysia as second runner-up and Mrs. Nigeria as the third.
Chatting with Mrs. Carol Neo
TheAsianParent: “How has winning Mrs. Planet 2013 changed your life?”
Carol: “Nothing really changed much. After I came back, I was still the queen of the toilets,” she said with a laugh.
TheAsianParent: “How do you think your title made an impact or inspired other Singaporean mothers like you?”
Carol: “I guess every woman has that tiny desire inside—that desire to be known as more than a housewife, or a woman who is more capable than that. This pageant shows that I am a normal housewife, a stay-at-home mum. But if you really put your heart to do something you wanted to do all these while but have been put off because of family commitments, you just need to step up and step out like what I did.”
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She continued talking about her realisation, “Even when you think things are impossible, they are not. It happened for me. There’s much more potential in every woman, especially in housewives or single mums, than what’s on sale, how much are the fishes sold in the market today. We are definitely worth more than that and know more than that, but many of us have sacrificed our jobs to be a full-time housewife and a stay-at-home mum. We just got to be given the opportunity.”
TheAsianParent: “What would you tell other mothers, to inspire them or encourage them to reach for their own desires?”
Carol: “I wish to tell them that if your wish is not fulfilled, maybe it’s time for you to step forward and make it happen. Otherwise, it will never happen and it will remain a dream forever. Despite what others might say, it’s still up to you whether you want to do it or not. You may start out really gung-ho but when someone throws a wet blanket at you, there your dreams go.”
TheAsianParent: “For many mothers out there, they still don’t have the courage to let go and aspire for the things they want to do for themselves even when their children are independent enough. What would you say about that?”
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Carol: “I face that problem too. As mothers, you’ll naturally have that attachment to them, it’s hard to let go. My own mother treats me like a 20 year old, so it’s normal. I would tell them to give themselves time. Or do things while your kids are at school, do it while they are away. When they are back, try to be with them. I do charity work while they are away as well, because I am still quite attached to them.”
TheAsianParent: “Knowing the amount of time you are required to prepare for Mrs. Planet or Mrs. Singapore, how do you manage homemaking as well as preparing for the pageant?”
Carol: “Mrs. Singapore was more tricky for me because I was in Singapore during the preparation. I had to send my kids to school. Thankfully, my kids are independent. There are days I had to go for rehearsals. If my hubby is around, he will take care of them. If we are both not free to shuttle them around, I have also trained them to take the bus themselves. I planned carpooling with another parent as well and I’ll return the favour the following week.”
TheAsianParent: “Have your kids been supportive of your participating in pageants?”
Carol: “Yes, my kids are very supportive. They are the ones who encouraged me to go for Mrs. Planet.”
TheAsianParent: “I read about how you were supposed to go to Perth for a family vacation, and your kids were the ones who pushed you to go for Mrs. Planet instead.”
Carol: “Yes, I felt bad because we planned the family vacation two or three months before and the opportunity came to me, and I told them, ‘Mummy was nominated to represent Singapore for Mrs. Planet but I won’t go because we already planned for the holiday.’ But my children told me to just go for it and I may have a chance to win, and there would be another holiday at the year-end. I was like ‘Really!?’
“My daughter was especially encouraging. She told me to do something that makes me happy. They really reassured me, so their dad went for the holiday with them in the end. If they hadn’t had given me the green light, I would not have gone,” said the beautiful mother.
TheAsianParent: “How do you find time to make sure that your family still spends sufficient time together? What is the one activity you make sure your entire family participates in?”
Carol: “My husband doesn’t hold a 9-to-5 job but on days that he’s around, I will try not to have my kids attend classes and take the day off, especially during the weekends, to go for a movie or outdoor activities. I think Singapore lacks outdoor activities because kids are so busy with their schoolwork. Dinnertime is important to us. No TV, no phones, no books. I do not give them iPads or phones, and my daughter is only allowed to use the phone when she needs to call me to pick her up from school. We already have so little time to talk to each other. What more with a phone?”
What did you think of this interview? We’d love to hear your feedback! Here’s another video for Mrs. Planet from this year: