The beauty pageant industry in our country may not be as enormous and fanatic as seen as compared to neighbouring countries like Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia but that does not deter one Sarawakian man who has taken a personal interest and passion to drive this interest to the next level.
Jude Benjamin Lisa a Lun Bawang native, born and raised in Miri before relocating to Kuala Lumpur at 15 left all he had to pursue for a better education. His father who was former assemblyman for Bukit Mas, Lawas then was very determined to get him to pursue Law and eventually to maybe have his future ahead of him to serve the Lun Bawang community.
Instead, Jude has a bigger dream to fulfil that was to reach beyond the stars. Being a minority native in the buzzling city of Kuala Lumpur, Jude never took no for an answer and instead took that as an opportunity to realise to his many potentials. With a master degree in communication behind him, Jude has served with leading world brands throughout his career including Mercedes-Benz, Carlsberg and Watsons before calling it quits in 2017 to pursue another dream.
But what led Jude to dream the impossible was to carry a national duty, where in 2015 an opportunity landed him the opening of doors involving in the pageantry world. His close friend Santhawan Boonratana participated at Miss World Malaysia then where he helped her to furnish some trainings before eventually representing the country to Miss Grand International 2015.
Ever since, Jude has not stopped realizing that his true calling was in the pageant world. As the national director of Miss Grand Malaysia from 2016, he master mind the national pageant into the fastest growing pageant in the country and within 3 years successfully produce 6 state level pageants across the country – none is achieved by any other pageant organization in the country today!
Jude maybe a stranger to his homeland Sarawak, but his accolades in the pageant industry is nothing new with a string of international success under his belt where Malaysian queens has brought success for the country including Ranmeet Jassal (Top 20 Miss Grand International 2016), Sanjna Suri (Top 10 Miss Intercontinental 2017), Scarlett Megan Liew (Top 20 Miss Intercontinental 2018) and just recently Jasebel Robert (Top 10 Miss Grand International 2020). And this feat again is none achieve by any other national director in the history of Malaysia’s pageantry.
With his achievements in a short spend, he owes them to many who has inspired him including Mr Nawat Itsaragrisil the President of Miss Grand International organization for his game changing approach to the industry and business as a whole. Jude also drew inspiration from former Malaysian national directors like Andrea Fonseka (Miss Universe Malaysia) and Marlene Lim (Miss Global International Malaysia). He acknowledged that his success is not fall short because of the strong support system, his business partner and executive producer Josh O’Neill being the greatest mentor and friend pushing him to be better at what he can achieve. Puan Lyna Doll, one who has spotted his capability and always bringing him to senses and also Apple Green Luna – one who always make sure that he is at the right frame of mind.
Jude wishes to remind young Sarawakians that nothing is impossible when you have the strong will and desire to pursue your dreams. Always take obstacles ahead as an opportunity to rise rather than reason to not to. And putting God first in all you do.
One of Jude’s greatest ambition with his involvement as national director is to continue to inspire young women who he meets annually who are as inspiring as he is to continue to be a better self so that communities who are reached out are benefited. He always reminded them that by joining the program, Miss Grand Malaysia is your platform to achieve bigger accomplishments in life and inspiring people around you.
Jude also dreams that one day, or possibly in the near future that Malaysia (Sarawak even better) will be host of Miss Grand International because pageantry is not just a showcase but a program that can be an international entity to boost eco tourism and industry networking that gathers countries participating. Annually, Miss Grand International gathers between 60-80 countries from all over the world and imagine the cohesiveness that brings when staging an international showcase at our backyard!
Like what Jude always believes in, nothing is impossible because any realization to accomplish something beyond you always starts with a dream.