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Success Interview - Sasha Tan

Miss Malaysia/World 2001
Sasha Tan, the newly crowned Miss Malaysia/World 2001 / 2002, is cute, charming and loves to smile. Here she shares her views on success, her inner worlds and ideas in her upcoming plans, in an exclusive interview with Fione Tan, President & CEO of

Please tell us more about your background (education, working experience, family)
Right now I’m doing Bsc in psychology, it’s something general that covers from child to developmental side, clinical to biopsychology, and something statistical like that. After Form 5, I worked for SA for 3 years because I needed the money to support my studies. So I was an air stewardess for 3 years as they were really paying well. I’m the eldest, I have a younger brother (19) who just shifted to KL and 2 little sisters and it’s going to be really hard for my mom and the tuition fee is really expensive. So I worked with SA for quite some time. I got to travel for free and I’m more interested in it as I get to know other people, I get to talk to them and why they do things, their opinions. That’s fun to me.

Can you name the 3 qualities in you, which you think are important in grabbing the Miss Malaysia title?
I'm really, really very much myself. I never pretend to be someone else. Sometimes I think I should put in more effort in being more confident and pull myself up high. I'm very smiley but I couldn't smile on stage. I tried very hard last night to smile and just walk down the aisle and retain that smile for like 15 minutes or so. That was pretty difficult for me. Also, I try to make eye contacts with the audience, although I can't really see through the lights!

The second thing I think is that I'm very sincere when I treat anybody. It can be a little kid or so, and I’ll just treat them like a friend. I just think they're all the same, regardless of age.

I carry myself pretty well. I handle myself really well. I don't dare saying I have high confidence although some people think so but my close friends know that I don't have that. But I have really high self-esteem; it's like a self-belief. I know who I am and I don't have to put on something I'm not, for instance for me smiling when I don't feel like smiling. Sometimes when I don't smile it's not because I'm not up for it, but I just don't feel it. I don't want to lose the sensitivity of smiling, if I were to smile all day long. Especially during the pageant, when they were announcing the winner, I was pretty nervous and also stressed up a little when a few people have predicted that I would win the pageant. My mom, my friends...almost everyone! But I thought that if I were to win the top 3, I'd be going home feeling happy. But now, it's more of 'THANK GOD!' I was really worried when I didn’t get the 2nd or 3rd place, it's either I win or lose! Furthermore, they're all really pretty. However, when it comes to handling people, I'm natural at that.

Can you tell us your role as the Miss Malaysia/World 2002?
I have not been briefed yet on my role, but I do know about the charity bit and that’s going to be really fun. Besides keeping the image of the pageant and the country, I haven’t been briefed on what I’m supposed to do.

Whom do you admire most & why?
A friend of mine, I think he is really successful in career wise. He can work 22 hours a day, as in REALLY work. He really loves his work; he’s not a workaholic. He’s not a dull person; he loves to walk his dog! I like the fact that he’s really focused on what he does and has the discipline in achieving his goals. I guess he’s a multimillionaire right now. He used to be an investment banker but he has his own company now.

What was your worst moment in your life and how did you overcome it?
Well, my dad passed away almost 2 years ago, this December 21st to be exact. It’s really weird because I came back every year and last Christmas, I didn’t plan to come back but something hit me to come back. So I called my dad and told him I’m coming back again. He came to pick me up, but the next day he had a fit and followed by a heart attack, I managed to give him first aid. Everything was really fine but after 3 to 4 days, the second heart attack occurred and he didn’t survive that one. He’s only 47 years old. That’s one hard thing, but the other hard thing is that my family forced me to go back to Canada, although I can do credit transfer and be close to home. They told me that I have to go back there. I got depressed but I do pity my mom, and I feel like I’m now the head of the family. I kept in control of everything. Slowly, time heals but sometimes pictures of dad and being in the hospital can make my tears roll down. I really, really have a good relationship with my parents. I treat my mom like a friend, whereby I can talk to her about everything and anything! Even with my 12-year-old sister, we’re really like friends.

What are your dream goals in 5 years' time as regards to career and family?
I’m 24 this year, so I think I’d give you a 6 year plan when I will be 30! I’m hoping in finishing my Masters, and then maybe I could work and support myself. I can also help my mom out. Family has always been my first priority. Career wise, I’d love to do research and venture into Industrial Organisation Psychology. I would just like to earn as much money and learn about investment from this friend of mine. Basically, I’d go for a career that can support myself and give my mom a better life. I want to get her a nice car! My main priority is my family, definitely. I’d love to be a housewife. I can try really hard to manage everything. Earn as much money and be a really good mom to my kids. Experiencing different roles in life. I want to see my kids grow up. I’m 24 now; I don’t think I’m getting married in the next few years. There’re just so many other things to do now.

When did you start surfing the Internet and how often?
I think it’s 18 years-old. It’s in Singapore, I surf a lot and my longest was 18 hours. It’s usually chatting. There are so many things to know, sites and more sites. Looking at albums, emails…peoples’ websites.

What sites do you normally visit?
It used to be Yahoo, but now I go for Google. They have a lot of stuffs. There are 20,000 matches that correspond to your searched key word. It’s good and bad, cause you have to read every single result. I was doing a research on gas and oil in Indonesia and there were a lot of them! I’ve never downloaded songs; I prefer to buy CDs. I look for recipes, lyrics and mostly, research for the companies.

Have you made any online purchases over the Internet?
Victorias Secrets! I couldn’t even get them in Canada.
I also bought a board game, Backgammon because they didn’t have one in Canada. I would buy something that I don’t find it here. Otherwise, I’d really love to try them but sometimes factors like when you buy a clothing or food, you’d want to see and feel the texture and not just look at them from your computer screen.

When you have your own website, what would you like the Website to do for you?
Since I’m a role model now, especially to my 2 little sisters, I’d like to use it to communicate with people about everything. Advise them what to do for fun. It’ll be really nice to hear from them and communicate with them.

What does "success" mean to you?
Success can’t really be measured. To me, if I’m contended with what I’ve achieved, that is success. For example, if I wish to get my mom a Jaguar now and I managed to, that’s a success for me. Or even to set up my own company or something. Being the best mom…having a wonderful family and a caring and loving husband.... It depends on the different roles I’m doing.

Share with us your best tip of how to become successful in less than 20 words.
I don’t think I’m successful, but I’m happy with myself. I can tell you only how to be happy. Just by being myself. Basically, just being natural, true to others and yourself. Sincerity is really important.

For girls planning to join beauty pageants, what are the important preparations that they should do in order to excel?
Pageant is not just about the face, body, how you talk and stuffs. It’s more like how you want to do things well. Know about our country, the culture…tourism and always be curious in what’s going on in the world. It’s really important to make use of what you know. As Suwei says, you need to know yourself. It’s how you want to say it and how you want to be understood. Describing yourself best on how you feel about something. Be natural, be as you are.

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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Sasha Tan - Miss Malaysia World picture

Sasha Tan - Miss World photo

Sasha Tan - Photo interview

Success Interview with Miss Malaysia/World 2001/2002
Sasha Tan
By Fione Tan, the President & CEO of

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