IF YOU see Soo Wincci 'begging for discounts' along Orchard Road today, don't be alarmed.
The 24-year-old Miss World Malaysia 2008 is hanging up her stilettos and evening gowns to take part in the Great Shopping Challenge (GSC).
A well-prepared Wincci told The New Paper: 'I brought my running shoes and my shorts. I don't care if I look ugly.'
She will be pitting her bargaining and shopping skills against local participants and representatives from nine other countries like Australia and Dubai in this competition, which launches the two month-long Great Singapore Sale (GSS).
Teams of two will be given a Fevo Prepaid MasterCard with $950 and $50 cash to purchase items like toys and apparel from five shopping destinations, including Marina Square, Centrepoint and VivoCity.
The international team which completes the task using the least amount of time and money will win $10,000 cash.
The winning local team wins $10,000 worth of shopping vouchers.
Contestants also get to keep what they have purchased during the contest.
Even though it has been four years since she last visited Singapore, Wincci is undeterred.
She arrived on Thursday and has explored Singapore's various shopping spots since.
But as for her haggling skills, Wincci admitted they are below par.
She chuckled: 'I always get conned.'
While she claims to be a 'prudent spender', she did not think twice about splurging on a pink gown - her most expensive buy so far - which she wore during the pageant.
Even though designer Carven Ong had sponsored half the cost, the dress still set her back RM2,500 ($1,034).
She said: 'Contestants usually rent gowns instead of purchasing one. I bought it as a keepsake.
'Besides, it was at half price.'
Wincci also has a weakness for bags and has nearly 40 of them which she shares with her mother.
They have also 'taken over' her father's and two younger brothers' wardrobe space at home. Wincci, who is a Louis Vuitton fan, is already eyeing a Monogram Denim bag to add to her collection.
If there's one thing Wincci has to curb, it would be her love of food.
The 1.7m, 52kg beauty queen was already asking for recommendations in the Orchard precinct.
But Wincci - who is an avid baker and cook - remembers how fellow Malaysian beauty queen Andrea Fonseka had to endure harsh criticism five years ago when the latter was crowned Miss Malaysia Universe despite being on the heavy side.
Now, the Singapore-based actress-host has shed the weight and is the spokesman for slimming centre Marie France Bodyline.
Incidentally, Andrea and Wincci are law graduates. Wincci, who has met Andrea at Malaysian events, said: 'She's done very well for herself after what happened.'
But while some may say Wincci's degrees are 'a waste' in the entertainment business, the practical budding singer thinks otherwise.
She said: 'I never intended to be a lawyer anyway. I just wanted the degree as a backup.'
After GSC, Wincci will head back to Malaysia and record her debut album, which is scheduled for release in August.
This article was first published in The New Paper