Binibining Pilipinas International 2007 Nadia Lee Cien Shami.


79 things you didn’t know about Nadia Lee Cien Shami


DUBAI – Filipino beauty queen Nadia Lee Cien Shami has called Dubai her second home.

The Binibining Pilipinas International 2007 moved here two years ago after being offered a job as a marketing executive for one of Dubai’s big companies.

“[Someone sent me a message] on LinkedIn if I wanted to work in Dubai. Although I had plans in mind, but not exactly Dubai. I was thinking Australia or New Zealand, you know? Opportunity only knocks once. [Just like] how Binibining Pilipinas came into my life. The opportunity [came]… everything aligned,” she told on the sidelines of Man of the Philippines-Dubai, where she is one of the pageant judges.

It’s been a decade since Nadia last wore her crown, but the 30-year-old is happy to carve an entirely different path.

Here are 79 things that the beauty queen revealed:

1. It was her mother and her grandmother who really wanted her to be a beauty queen

2. Nadia actually wanted to be a theatre actress

3. Her mother is Filipino and her father is Jordanian

4. She can speak a few Arabic words, but is still learning the language

5. She’s an only child

6. She stopped attending college for a year to fulfill her beauty queen duties

7. After her reign as Binibining Pilipinas International, she moved to Davao to live a “normal life”

8. She finished Mass Communication, and also got a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at Ateneo de Davao, Philippines

9. She paid for her tuition through her post-pageant gigs

10. She moonlighted as a motivational speaker and loved teaching girls self-confidence

11. She hosted a TV show in Davao

12. She’s Christian and she always finds time to read “The Word”

13. She used to work for Krispy Kreme Philippines

14. She relocated to Dubai after getting a job offer on LinkedIn

15. She never imagined working in Dubai

16. She thought that if she were to leave the Philippines, it would be to go to New Zealand or Australia

17. She now works as a marketing executive for Landmark Group’s five restaurant brands

18. Being a beauty queen has helped her improve her communication skills

19. She runs half marathons, swim, run and occasionally bike during her free time.

20. Her dream is to join a triathlon

21. Her Suunto watch for triathletes is one of the things she splurged on in Dubai

22. She’s a huge Coldplay fan

23. She spent Dh500 on a ticket to Coldplay’s concert in the UAE last year, she says it was one of the most expensive things she bought in Dubai

24. Living in Dubai has taught her to save

25. She thinks a lot of Filipino expats in the UAE are good looking and very smart

26. Four things she loves in a man: looks, the brains, the self-confidence, the conviction

27. She prefers to be behind the camera

28. She spent her first two months in Dubai just touring the emirate

29. She has learnt to cook her own food and prepare her own clothes

30. She has a female roommate and they like to vlog

31. People still recognize her in public

32. Some people in the UAE say she looks like an Arab or Indonesian

33. She gets plenty of attention from Arabs

34. She loves chai

35. She also loves paratha and avocado shake

36. She also finds it a mystery why Filipinos are fond of beauty pageants

37. She thinks male pageants should get more media exposure

38. She thinks we will be able to find a male counterpart of Pia Wurtzbach

39. She watches Netflix at home or reads

40. Her favourite running areas are La Mer and Jumeirah Road

41. She is a member of the Filipino exercise group 3F

42. She stays in shape by eating well and drinking a lot of water

43. She loves Thai food

44. She visited her father in Jordan last November and they checked out Petra, Amman and the Dead Sea

45. His father has not yet visited Dubai

46. She’s grandma’s girl

47. She’s only been back to the Philippines once this year

48. She prefers to travel on her vacation

49. She asked her uncle to take a video of her family opening her first balikbayan box

50. Her balikbayan box contained chocolates, old clothes, toiletries and a comforter, among others

51. She goes to Max’s Fried Chicken when she misses Filipino food

52. She craves for isaw, and street food

53. She goes to a small cafeteria in BurJuman for her dose of chai

54. She feels comfortable knowing there are many Filipinos in the UAE

55. Her grandmother was afraid about her decision to come to the Middle East

56. She can watch a movie alone

57. The hardest pageant question is: If you were to learn another language, what would it be and why?

58. She answered Arabic because she wanted to talk to her father in his native tongue.

59. When her father calls her samina, she knows she needs to lose weight

60. She doesn’t get special treatment at work just because she’s a beauty queen

61. She does feel pressured to look good

62. On a normal day, she has messy hair and wears a loose shirt

63. She often dresses down in a shirt, jeans, sneakers and no make up

64. She loves shopping during the sale season

65. She loves fashion items for H&M, Mango, Forever 21, Splash, Iconic and Zara

66. She goes for neutral colours when picking clothes: white, black, brown

67. On weekdays, her day starts at 6am

68. On weekends, her day starts with a 5am run

69. Getting her Master’s Degree was her most memorable experience because of the amount of work she had to juggle

70. While doing her Master’s Degree, there were times when she worked from 8am and come home at 3am.

71. She was heartbroken when her grandmother died in January

72. She took care of her grandmother while doing her studies

73. She beat depression by reading the Word, attending church and talking to friends

74. When she’s sad, she goes to a cat café in Jumeirah to pet the kitties.

75. She’s focused on her career right now

76. She has plans of pursuing a PhD

77. She might have a family if the right man comes along

78. She’s open to work opportunities anywhere in the world

79. Man of the Philippines-Dubai is the first pageant she’s judged in one year


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