28 October 2016
Jennifer Ling Coosemans (right) from Vancouver won the Miss Chinese International Pageant 2016. Hong Kong's Louisa Mak hoped her fans enjoyed the show. Photos: TVB
Jennifer Ling Coosemans (right) from Vancouver won the Miss Chinese International Pageant 2016. Hong Kong's Louisa Mak hoped her fans enjoyed the show. Photos: TVB

Could this be the end of the hype for Louisa Mak?

Miss Hong Kong Louisa Mak Ming-sze (麥明詩) broke the hearts of her fans over the weekend by coming away from the Miss Chinese International Pageant 2016 without a trophy. 

The result was expected, but to make things worse, she was not even among the five finalists.

A visibly unhappy Mak herself knew she wasn’t among the hot favorites, like trombone-playing Miss Vancouver Jennifer Ling Coosemans (朱亞琳), who took the crown at the event, held Saturday at TVB City in Tseung Kwan O.

But what was unexpected was the overwhelmingly negative reaction Mak received from netizens and the media.

One internet user posted this comment on Facebook: “Louisa Mak is underqualified as a beauty queen. What a shame … she doesn’t belong there.”

To add insult to injury, the poster said Mak looked like an underdeveloped 12-year-old girl.

The 24-year-old Cambridge University law graduate was officially listed as 5 feet 4.5 inches tall (she must have been measured in high heels), the second-shortest contestant. She admitted her chest size, listed as a generous 33.5 inches, is her “congenital defect”.

Netizens gave many different explanations why Mak didn’t win this time.

Among the funnier ones was that Mak wore ethnic clothing similar to that worn in a TVB drama series by Eliza Shum Lai-heung (岑麗香), the winner of the Miss Chinese International Pageant in 2010.

These negative comments mark the end of the much-hyped Hong Kong fairytale of a young woman with brains — she scored straight As in her school exams and once aspired to be the city’s chief executive — who took the beauty challenge and won the Miss Hong Kong pageant last year.

It is perhaps the excessive hype in the media and on the internet that, ironically, made her a less popular Miss Hong Kong (unusually, none of the other contestants hugged her after she won the trophy, perhaps because she had stolen the show from Day 1).

Mak was seen as a model winner at the game of life (人生勝利組) because she had achieved so much at such a young age.

And there will always be those who are envious and cruel.

Mak wrote a 500-word post on her Facebook page after the Miss Chinese International Pageant.

Apart from thanking her family, team and supporters, congratulating the winners and saying “we had so much fun”, she gave her take on what many see as her storybook life so far.

“I was rejected by many universities, and more than 30 companies rejected my applications,” she wrote.

“I have not scored any merits or distinctions. I was empty-handed in countless singing, speech or writing competitions.

“But I am not a loser – because I have not lost anything.

“So when someone said ‘Louisa Mak finally lost’, I do not have this mentality.

“I also think it is a bit superficial to say I am a winner at the game of life.

“I was only lucky in some important moments and incidentally came up with good results.”

“Why so serious?” she asked those who complained she had let Hong Kong down.

Nevertheless, Mak apologized for failing her supporters with her performance in the pageant, but she promised to do her best next time.

While her indomitable spirit is one of the things that make Mak outstanding, fewer Hongkongers now think she has a chance to win anything at the Miss Universe 2016 competition in Las Vegas at the end of the year.

Can Louisa Mak win it again? (Jan. 19, 2016)

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EJ Insight writer

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