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Success Interview - Tan Su Wei

Miss Malaysia/World 2000
Su Wei is more than a beauty queen. From my interview with her, she is a person with both beauty and wisdom. She is kind hearted and friendly. She is humble but outspoken. She knows what she wants to achieve and has set clear goals. She is a person who is filled with passion. Let’s get to know her better and explore her secrets of success!

What is your childhood like?
My parents were pretty strict because they used to be school teachers. My father subsequently became an auditor and he had to travel extensively to other states. So I often had to travel together with him to other states. When I was young, I hated it because after I settled down in a place for a while, I had to shift to another place. However, thinking back now, it helped me train myself to be a more adapted person. It also helped me pick up Cantonese. I picked up Cantonese when I was in Ipoh for 2 years.

Were you good at athletic when you were at school?
I was not so much into athletic although I had long legs because I couldn’t run. The most I could do was high jumps. I was also into cheer leading.

How was your education?
I entered Form 6 for 2 to 3 months and then I applied for diploma in UPM. I got accepted into Diploma for Fishery for the first year. After the first year, I got promoted into the Science stream for Industrial Chemistry. Then I am doing business now, pursuing MBA in Marketing.

So now you ended up doing business?
I liked studying science. But whether it’s science or art, by the end of the day, I think I need to be back to business. That’s what I would like to equip myself with before I start working.

What was your first job?
Right after SPM, I worked in an optical shop. I was the only employee there. So I had to do everything, from cleaning to cutting lenses. After I got into UPM, I stopped.

Can you name the 3 qualities in you which you think are most important in grabbing the Miss Malaysia title?
The first one would be good personality because for Miss Malaysia you have to be someone kind from the heart because charity is important and you need to be interested to know more about our country. Next is an acceptable look because first impression is very important. Substance, the inner beauty is also very important like what I know, what I’m doing, what I think about my future and my country.

Were you a model before you participated in the Miss Malaysia/World pageant last year?
I was studying and working as a part-time model as well. I wanted to participate a few years back but it always clashed with my school term. Last year, I was lucky because it was during my semester break so I got the chance to participate.

Can you tell us your role as the Miss Malaysia 2000?
My first responsibility was to represent Malaysia to participate in the Miss World pageant and now it’s done. I need to help publicize the Miss Malaysia title and to help recruit more potential participants. Another thing would be for charity because this pageant is for good cause. We did a fashion show and the fund raised was donated to TasPutra. At the pageant night, we raised RM50,000 for NASOM (National Autistic Society of Malaysia). In London, we raised 2,000 pounds by auctioning a guitar for a children’s variety club.

What is the most unforgettable event/experience after you were crowned the Miss Malaysia 2000 title?
It’s got to be my opportunity to go to London and represent Malaysia in the Miss World pageant. I don’t know how to tell you my excitement in words because it’s something really different… having 95 girls from other countries and we’d been together for a month for the same purpose. You don’t have friends or mom there and you need to start from scratch and make new friends. I learned a lot of things and I changed some of my perspectives in life.

What kind of changes have you made?
I used to be a very timid person, not adventurous enough because before I did something, I would think about “would I get myself hurt”? That pulled me back from doing things I really wanted to do. The girls in the pageant were more daring and adventurous. They were willing to take the risks in life and probably this brings me the courage to go for what I want although this is difficult and risky as well.

Who do you admire most & why?
My mom. She is the one who shaped my personality of what I am today. She is a small woman but she has a tough spirit which is something I admired a lot. The next one I admire is the Body Shop Founder, Anita Roddick. I am very interested in beauty line and skin care products. She does business in a unique sense. She put her business together with the good will of the world, community, environment and children. I hope I can do something like her, being in business while contributing to the community and environment.

What was your worst moment in your life and how did you overcome it?
I didn’t have any particular bad moments so far but I found that not having a direction and losing my belief is scary. When I was younger, I thought “A” was the right answer. However, when I got older, I might think “B” was right. So sometimes, I got a bit lost.

What are your dream goals in 5 years’ time as regards career and family?
By then, I would like to travel and see more of other countries and their cultures. In terms of career, I would like to have my own brands for beauty stuffs, like what Anita Roddick is doing, hopefully!

When did you start surfing the Internet and how often?
I started when I had to do my school work a couple of years back. It was easy to do research on the Internet rather than doing it in the traditional way. I now check my emails a few times a day if I have time.

What sites do you normally visit?
When I was about to travel, I would check out some travel sites. I am very interested in fashion and beauty and so sometimes when I read about some related websites in magazines, I would check them out.

Have you made any online purchases over the Internet?
No. The main reason because I was not comfortable to give out my credit card info on the Internet because of the security reason.

Do you now have your own web site?
I am in the process of working on one. I am learning to use a web creation software. I am now putting my photos in a digital format to be used for my website in future.

So very soon, we will see
I do hope my dream will come true soon!

What would you like the website to do for you?
When I go for work, carrying a physical portfolio is difficult. Since we have modern technology, I thought why don’t I make use of IT and set up a website. They can visit my website to see more of my pictures. I also plan to put up the write-ups about my Miss Malaysia title and also my fashion shows shots.

If you were running a small business, would you get your business online now and why?
Yes, even though people may not choose to buy online at this moment but they can get info online and read up about the company. Internet is something that we should not miss out.

What sort of obstacles do you have if you want to get your business online?
Probably the PC ownership is still low here so the number of people who will be online will also be low.

What does “success” mean to you?
In a lifetime, there are a lot of mini-successes before you get the final success. To me, success is a series of mini-successes in achieving a goal that had been set by me.

Share with us your best tip of how to become successful.
There is no short-cut to success. My formula is first, you must have a goal of what you want to achieve, secondly, you should have a plan, a path to lead you there, and thirdly, it’s your hard work and persistence…don’t give up easily. Lastly, it would be self-reflecting and evaluating. If it doesn’t work, change to another path to lead you to your goal but without giving up your goal.

We would love to hear from you, if you are inspired by this interview. You may also suggest a successful person for us to interview. Just send an email to together with his/her achievements and the reason why you think he/she is successful.

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Tan Su Wei - Miss Malaysia World picture

Tan Su Wei - Miss World photo

Tan Su Wei - Photo Interview

Success Interview with Miss Malaysia/World 2000 Tan Su Wei
By Fione Tan, the President & CEO of

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