SPOTLIGHT: Miss Universe Malaysia 2020 Francisca Luhong James

A 25-year-old part-time model and former public relations and marketing executive, Francisca Luhong James, will represent Malaysia at the 69th Miss Universe pageant in Hollywood, Florida this May.

The Kayan-Kenyah-Iban native from Kuching, Sarawak, is the first woman with full native heritage to win the Miss Universe Malaysia title. She holds a first-class honors degree in mass communications and majored in public relations.

Beauty-and-brain Francisca used to be a track-and-field athlete who despite having asthma was awarded three medals and she would like to inspire more native women to pursue their dreams. Besides advocating for women's empowerment, she also started a foundation Beyond Aid to raise money for refugees and underprivileged children.

In a recent interview with a Malaysian morning TV show, she was asked "Why should you be the next Miss Universe?" and she genuinely replied: "I should be the next Miss Universe because I am not just representing myself and my country but I'm representing all the women who think that they are small, and those who came from a minority group, that they too have equal chance to create their own history and to be their owned universe."

Malaysia has yet to win the Miss Universe pageant. The country's highest achievement happened 51 years ago with Josephine Lena Wong who placed in the Top 15 during Miss Universe 1970.

Photos: Blackpepper Production / Hair: Sheila Mohamad / Makeup: Shaari Amin / Wardrobe: Rizman Ruzaini / Shoes: Rizman Ruzaini

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