What makes a NatCos? #NationalCostume

With the recent commotion on the Twin Tower National Costume done for Malaysia’s hope at Miss Universe, here’s my share of thought. You can agree, or disagree but the bottom line is I give the Organization a pat on their back for the commendable effort.

The National Costume (NatCos) has been synonym to most international beauty pageant as a showcase parade of entertainment. To some countries who are rich with colorful culture and tradition, it was a platform to show off like the Latin Americas and Asia. To some countries who don’t have that advantage instead use the NatCos as a creativity platform like the Americas, Europe and Caribbean.

I put Malaysia in the first group because no doubt the country is so rich in culture. But there are two downside to this of why Malaysia’s NatCos do not make a big impact in the past 60 years or so at Miss Universe or anywhere else (aside from the only placement of coming third in Best National Costume in 1978 through Yasmin Yusoff):


  1. Malaysia’s NatCos during those years were not lavish, not extravagant and mind you the NatCos round was a showing off segment – our Misses came fall short to those big fluffy costumes from Latin.
  2. NatCos was never the main core of concentration back then. Because we were either too complacent as there were so many choices to choose from so the extra mileage to create any extravagant NatCos would have been a heavy cost to pay.

So came the New Era of beauty pageant where NatCos was nothing about just the ingredient of culture and heritage, but to move along with the advancing society – Organizers add in the added element of creativity content.

You start to see countries emerging with creative NatCos which represents the best of their national identity. I will remember Miss Thailand’s Tuk Tuk costume for many years to come.


So again, this has happened for at least 10 years or so now since the New Era change and again Malaysia fall short due to the following reasons:

  1. Again, we have so much to choose from that in the end it was just putting on what we can grab.
  2. We were not thinking out of the box of what NatCos was, that did not do justice for any of Malaysia’s representative.
  3. The cost to create one costume just for a showcase. Who would pay for the bill?

I refresh our memory on how Miss Universe Malaysia has evolve ever since its revamp and re-branding to the ‘Hip Urban Real Relevant’ motto:

Untitled design.jpg

  • We were still stuck to the ‘tradition element’ but slowly moving away from just being traditional but edgy.
  • 2011 had a significant representative to the Wau Bulan worn by Deborah Henry.
  • 2012 was a step up design despite being lambaste for not being traditional enough.

Untitled design (1).jpg

  • 2013 was seen to go back to the safe side.
  • But hello 2014 to Goddess of Kenyalang which was a fresh of breath air.
  • 2015 you either like or dislike.

So came 2016 when Malaysia decided to be more aggressive. The idealization of having the Twin Tower as a NatCos was nothing new. It has been talked by so many  and for many years but no one stood up and took that challenge until the Rizman Ruzaini duo decided to.

I would rather put that the design was on the futuristic side giving much room of explanation. But because it was the first of its kind ever produced in the history of the pageant, you are scrutinized.


I look forward for an interesting year ahead for the Malaysian beauty pageant industry.

This comes back to my personal opinion on the NatCos to Manila. Oh yes, I love it lah! An eye opener indeed that someone finally decided to step up and take the challenge.

Although I badly wished no one would have that courage to do it until Miss Grand Malaysia will do so for Miss Grand International 2017 – but well, most importantly it is for the country. Malaysia Boleh! #K4MU

If you would like to share some ideas on your NatCos, I’m all ears opened and can be reached at contact@missgrandmalaysia.com



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