Carey Ng, Miss Universe Malaysia 2013, revealed how God helped her to reconnect with her father after many years, from the moment she joined the Beauty Pageant.
Although both of her parents became believers in Christ during their college years and actively served the Lord, the family fell out from church when Carey turned nine years old. But little Carey was too young to fathom the reason. It felt normal for her not going to church and not reading the Bible.
As far as she could remember, her family got into a difficult financial situation during her teens and was estranged from their relatives due to strained relationships. This fueled the negative atmosphere at home. And because of these situations, Carey could not relate to her father as the ‘father figure’ or the ‘spiritual leader’ of the house due to emotional absence of her father who appeared to be carrying an invisible burden. Her mother was also a backslid believer, talking and praying only occasionally about God. Hence, Carey grew up not knowing that God is someone she could depend on. As a family, they were estranged from God.
Only after Carey graduated with a degree in architecture from UK, the whole family started going back the church, initiated by her mother much to the slight unhappiness of her father initially. And so, the years of disappointment and bitterness were slowly replaced by joy in the past year. But looking back, Carey realized that the greatest change in her family happened when she decided to join the pageant in one random act. She was becoming restless one day working as an architect and prayed for the Lord to give her a project to work on. The beauty pageant door was opened, one thing led to the next. And despite discouragements from people including her father she decided to join and finally emerged as Miss Universe Malaysia 2013!
Growing up as a very shy and timid girl up to high school, one would not imagine her joining and eventually winning the beauty pageant. During her teenage years, she was too afraid to try new things beyond her comfort zone. Although she was an excellent student and gifted dancer—becoming state rhythmic gymnast and ballet dancer up to an advanced degree level—she had little time left for social exposure. Hence, she hated public speaking, being in the crowd, and also talking to new people.
“So, when I came out of high school, I got my degrees, I got my certs, I got great resumes but what now? For me, experiences are lacking, life experiences, you know. I feel that I am lacking in people (skills)… I always felt like I was being insecure. I’ve always felt too tall, too pale, too a lot of thing, girls (problems) when they go through puberty and everything,” said Carey. She wanted to join the pageant not because she believed she could win, but because she wanted to build her self-confidence.
Growing up with a father who had a bad temper, she was very afraid of her father and so learned from a young age to pen all her emotions inside. But her father’s perspective began to change when he saw how ‘his little girl’ spoke in public, handled the media with grace, and winning the beauty pageant. He saw how the pageant benefited Carey. Her father started attending church shortly before the pageant and is now active in church! A year has passed since the pageant and her father is now a different man; he is more supportive.
“If that is the reason for me to come (to the pageant), it’s the ultimate goal,” quipped Carey. “I never expected him to be supportive… I don’t think he has changed like 180 degrees but it’s because he wants to and believes that he can make it better, to be the spiritual leader in the family… And he’s trying very hard to patch things up with my mum, to be very caring, to set a good example for us kids. And I feel that there’s a lot of connection there. This connection is not through his own effort but from the love of God.”
Her father started praying and worshiping God in church. She also recalled how her father would massage her mother’s feet for the first time and his apparent effort in holding his temper to not say anything rash. Her father’s support was instrumental during her pageant. When Carey was going through a difficult time in the pageant, her father said to her, “You know we will always be praying for you. We are all here for you.” This really touched Carey’s heart due to her father’s softened ego.
Growing up, Carey recalled the many problems she and her siblings had as children because they felt that something was missing in their homes. They never depended on their parents, but were scattered to live independently.
“Now, it’s better because I feel that I have my father back…He doesn’t communicate with us kids a lot. So, he’s very estranged from all four of us—my sisters and my brothers—all these years. Now, I can say I love my dad. I mean I have always loved my dad but it’s very, very different because you can see that he’s trying very, very hard for the family… It used to be he’s just there.
“It feels like we found a lost man. The last time I saw him like that was when I was eight or seven. He has given my family a lot of courage. He has brought my family back to church consistently. It’s still a learning curve. I think we are all trying to forgive and forget,” said Carey, whose grandparents could also tell that her father has changed.
“I didn’t see how important it is to have a father who’s walking the path of Jesus Christ… I thought that my mum substituting for my dad all these years would have been enough but it’s really, really not the same. I always feel that the father should always be the spiritual leader. It’s a natural thing,” said Carey. Although the year of the pageant was a stressful year, it was one of the best years in her life seeing the step-by-step transformation of her father.
And because of her being able to relate to her father, she started to realize how big her Father in heaven is—merciful and a loving redeemer. Although she backslid for the first few months after winning the pageant, she was thankful that her father and her parents’ connect group held her strong in prayer. They constantly encouraged Carey to be strong and trust that God has a purpose in giving the Miss Universe Malaysia crown to her.
“They told me that, ‘you can’t give up now and do life, you’re throwing everything away.’ So, I’m really, really glad because they were strong and they were like my rock that I knew to come back. It’s important to have a family that is strong in the Lord because if you strayed away you know what’s the right thing to do because my family is there and they are constantly reminding me of it (the right thing to do), it was so much easier for me to focus on God and come back,” said Carey.
The family is constantly praying for more patience and also more opportunities to bond, support, and encourage each other in the family. Many people asked Carey how winning the pageant affected her relationships, given the so many temptations and exposures in the industry.
“I told my mum that I constantly forget that I am someone in the industry. And I often remember myself more as that dorky kid that I used to be and I say, ‘I don’t even think that it’s a bad thing at all because that helps me to relate with people. When people talk to me and everything, I don’t feel that I am Miss Universe Malaysia, like I don’t need to feel so to feel great… And I feel like sometimes it’s because I do have that joy in me and the security that God has shown me and my family,” said Carey. She is thankful to God that He has used the pageant to change her family, bringing all the siblings closer to each other.
Looking back, Carey recalled how she learned to pray and depend on God throughout the pageant. She had to stay in a house competing with 16 other girls during the beauty camp for one month. No phones were allowed, which meant no contact with family or the public. Due to her introverted nature amidst the competitive spirit in the house, she was lost because she didn’t know who she can trust. But she remembered her mother asking her to pray. Hence, she learned to talk to God and to relay on Him to see her through. Every time when she went out for the elimination round and any challenge, she prayed to God, “I am not doing this for anyone else but for you. If it’s Your Will, let me shine. So, I felt literally throughout the competition, I am not doing it for myself.” Hence, she did not allow the pressure to get to her or overwhelm her even though the pageant was the first time she had done a photo shoot, catwalk, public speech, and acting!
“There’s no precedence for me to refer to, so I felt that I can be myself and I think I really grew a lot from that. It was really funny because for the first time. I didn’t feel like I was learning from someone but I was learning from an experience He put me through. Usually, I learn from someone who’s teaching me and that person is in the flesh,” said Carey who saw God’s hands moving in her life.
Indeed, the Lord has used the pageant as an instrument to help Carey realized her identity, from a girl with low self-esteem to a confident girl who has ownership of her talents and skills.
“I subjected myself a lot to the opinions of other’s… You will never be the most beautiful. There’s no such thing. Looking at myself, I never felt that I was beautiful. I think I just feel insecure with my family and everything. I always feel that I was alone a lot. But now, I felt that I am very talkative…I love being with people, I love socializing. I now start to realize maybe by nature, I’m like that,” said Carey whose breakthrough came through the pageant in socializing with people.
“I think He (God) has played a big part in healing me. Otherwise, I would still have this insecurity,” said Carey. When she was in Russia for a month for the Miss Universe International, she did not feel insecure and inferior amidst the 86 beauty queens.
“I felt like just let myself shine and let Him do His Work. You just have stay positive. It was really difficult for me to maintain this attitude for one month,” said Carey recalling the grueling schedule and three-hour sleep daily they had to endure throughout the competition. “I was able to do so because God was with me all the time in Moscow. It also dawn on me that when I am given this opportunity, I have to make the most out of it.”
Living her faith in Christ, is part of who Carey is now. “I can’t leave that part of me and say, ‘Here I am. I am doing my thing. I am not a Christian,’ you know like you don’t talk about church… I am not making a conversation but it’s part of who I am,” said Carey.
“I think my mum and dad had been praying for me constantly that I stay on the right path… People believe that if you want to make it in this industry, you can’t do it straight,” she added. Indeed, injustice and unethical practices exist in every industry, though the entertainment industry gets the most limelight.
She also thank God for sending people who seamlessly came into her life before her pageant to strengthen, empower, and encourage her last year, including her fitness trainer, hair stylist extraordinaire cum mentor Winnie Loo, and the president of HOPE Worldwide KL, whereby she is their ambassador.
“I wanted to do something for young girls. Like for me, I felt that I have a young girl journey then, most typical… you know, not confident, go through the whole puberty, not knowing what you want, all this confidence issues,” said Carey, in thanking the president of HOPE Worldwide KL in supporting her passion.
“For me, it is just watching the unfolding of a story. And I’m not saying that it’s awesome now, like there are still so much uncertainties and there are struggles… But I won’t trade anything in the last two years for anything in the world. It all started off with this random act of joining the pageant… When you look at it from a bigger perspective, then you realize that it all fell into place because of that one act.” she added.
This is a story of how God in His Faithfulness orchestrated His Love to Carey through people and circumstances, in redeeming the tattered identity and shattered heart of a little girl who desired for a father… a Father in Heaven who have always love her and will love her till the end of times.
Beautiful is Carey Ng not because of her appearance but because of her dependence on the Lord; her broken, open and forgiving heart to her father; and her quiet acceptance and understanding of who she is in the Lord’s eyes. Beautiful is Carey Ng, most importantly in the eyes of our Father in Heaven, the redeemer of all broken relationships!
Let us pray that the Lord will let His Light shine brightly through Carey Ng. May her path be straightened and may His Righteousness shine in her like the break of dawn.
References for pictures
All pictures were credited to Carey Ng except for the 12th picture, which is credited to http://bit.ly/1jdtQuR