Growing up, she was actually the tallest among all her friends.
“However, I stopped growing and they just kept on getting taller,” says the newly-crowned Miss Singapore World 2012, Karisa Sukamto, 19, with a laugh.
She is only 1.6m tall, which is unprecedented for a Miss World winner.
But her charm and personality won over the judges on Wednesday night.
She told The New Paper on Sunday: “I wasn’t too comfortable with my height at first, but eventually I realised that the only way to bring harmony to yourself is acceptance.
“Plus, I’m actually average size for a South-east Asian woman.”
In a competition which has had its fair share of controversy (think Miss Ris Low), Miss Sukamto stands out with her wit and intelligence.
Currently studying English literature at King’s College in London, she speaks with an American accent and is articulate.
She is the youngest of three children, her brother and her sister being 10 and eight years older than her respectively.
Growing up, it was her older sister who was her greatest influence. Her sister was very maternal and protective of Miss Sukamto.
“After I turned 18, my sister told me that it was now up to me to make my own decisions.”
And she decided to take part in Miss Singapore World 2012. She almost pulled out of the competition because of her height, she says.
As the other contestants are at least 1.7m tall, she felt that she didn’t stand a chance.
“My stepmum and dad were the ones who gave me encouragement.
“He told me, ‘You’d regret not doing it. When you’re on your deathbed, it’s the things that you didn’t do that you’d regret.’”
With that in mind, she gritted her teeth and continued to fight for the crown.
Of course, she had help from her favourite accessories – her heels. “I’ve been wearing heels since I could fit into adult-size shoes,” she readily admits.
Ms Sukamto says she often wears heels, with her highest pair topping out at six inches.
Despite the confidence she radiated during the competition, she reveals that it was all a brave front.
“I was so nervous. What made it worse was that it was my first pageant. I have never modelled or done anything similar, so this was really nerve-racking!”
Of course, her family and friends were behind her all the way.
Since winning the title, has she received more attention from guys?
Blushing slightly, she says: “I have received alot of ‘friend’ requests on Facebook. I don’t even know how many; I don’t even want to count.”
After some prodding, she confesses that she has someone special in her life.
With the international finals in August looming, what are her thoughts about her height and chances?
Miss Sukamto says candidly: “The first thing everyone will say is, ‘What the hell is that girl doing here?’ They’ll all be tall and beautiful and I’ll just be... different.”
She adds: “I’ll stand my ground and represent Singapore.
I’ll tell all the girls about that and convey what being Singaporean is all about.”
This article was first published in The New Paper.