Meet Filipino beauty queen who made Dubai her new home

You might have seen her on the Dubai Metro or having chai at a small cafeteria in Burjuman.


“I can drink chai every day… Even if it's summer, I don't care. I will drink my chai every day,” Filipino beauty queen Nadia Lee Cien Shami tells Gulf News #Pinoy with a grin.

The former Binibining Pilipinas International has been trying to live a “normal life” under the radar since winning the crown in 2007. She finished college shortly after that, and even got a Master’s Degree in Business Administration before taking on a job as head of the PR division of a popular donut chain in the Philippines. She’s been a Dubai resident for the last couple of years, moving here in 2016 after she was headhunted for a job as a marketing executive “with a bigger salary”.

She remembers her first time in Dubai as being a “mixture of everything”. 

“My first two months in Dubai I felt like a tourist. You know, going around with your friends treating you and showing you places. It felt like that. On your third month, that's when all the hardships step in because you're on own, you cook your own food, you prepare your own clothes,” she says on the sidelines of Man of the Philippines-Dubai, a male pageant that she is judging.

Shami says she has now settled quite comfortably in Dubai; running, biking or swimming during her free time. She’s also recently taken to vlogging, humouring fans with make-up tips and pageant Q&A samples peppered with light jokes.

"It was for fun, because I realised my roommate and I seem to be very funny, always having different kinds of conversation, so I said, hey why don't we just upload this on Facebook and make our friends laugh?" she says. 

Although she’s away from home, she says the sheer number of Filipinos in Dubai make it almost impossible for her to feel homesick.

“I never knew that we're over 700,000 Filipinos here. When I first came and rode the Metro, been to Satwa, Rigga, I was shocked that, oh my God! Movies didn't show this,” she says.

She’s been back to the Philippines to visit her mother and is hoping that she would visit her in Dubai. She’s also hoping to reconnect with her Jordanian heritage, and had “a lot of fun” visiting places in Jordan with her Jordanian father in November.

“But I'm still learning to speak Arabic. Hopefully soon, inshallah, I could learn,” she says. 

Does she know a few words? “Sabah al khair, even the pronounciation. Shukran. I know Samina. It means you're fat. When my father says samina to me I know I need to lose weight,” she says, chuckling. 

Highlights of our tell-all Q&A with the beauty queen: 

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Source: gulfnews

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