rathi menon
Wool skirtsuit; silk blouse; leather heels, Gucci. Helmet, Rathi’s own


Miss Singapore Universe 2014, biker chick, cat lady

Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore: What are your fashion “security blankets”?

Rathi Menon: A pair of black boots and a leather fringe jacket, before I go for a spin on my bike.

HB: What made you decide to try out for Miss Universe?

RM: I had zero modelling experience prior to the competition, but my friends and family always said I should try it out; so I did. I wanted to give it a shot before it was too late. I sent them pictures taken with my phone, and got a call back. The rest is history.

HB: How did you get through the pageant process alone?

RM: My personal style is pretty diverse, I can go from a full leather biker get-up to a slinky gown. But I needed professional help for this. Thankfully, celebrity stylist Ines Ligron was there to mentor me before the big event. We pulled together a wardrobe and worked out all the details, then I flew to Florida on my own with four huge suitcases.

rathi menon

HB: What goes through your mind before stepping out on stage in front of judges?

RM: When the lights are on you, even the slightest ounce of fear or insecurity shows. But honestly,
in that moment, all I feel is exhilaration. I don’t think of what could go wrong, I just start walking and smiling—it’s such a rush. I approach life with a similar carpe diem spirit.

HB: How are you giving back to society?

RM: Since the pageant, I started receiving letters and messages from young girls about their insecurities and I make it a point to write them back in hopes that my story will steer them in the right direction and boost their confidence. I also use social media to spread good messages and show them the real me: A 25-year-old going through university, riding my bike to fashion shoots, and occasionally, fulfilling my role as the neighbourhood cat lady. I used to work in a vet clinic, so whenever a kitten or cat needs to be nursed, it’s Rathi to the rescue.

By Dana Koh and Pakkee Tan
Photographed by Gan
Styled by Windy Aulia
Hair/makeup: Grego, Amy Chow, Cindy Goh, Joy Tan/Indigo Artisans, Joanna Koh/Indigo Artisans
Photography assistants: Ang Jong Jye, Samsidi Baderi
Assistant stylist: Debby Kwong
Additional assistance: Tanya Anthony, Nayeun Kim