It was a very special birthday present for 21-year-old Cassey V Pilos after she was crowned Miss Sabah Malaysia Universe here on Saturday evening. As the State winner, Cassey who turned 21 on Saturday, will represent Sabah in the Miss Malaysia Universe contest in Kuala Lumpur on April 13 and will stand a chance to represent Malaysia in the 57th Miss Universe beauty contest to be held in July. The accounts clerk from Semporna was stunned when her name was pronounced as the winner to thunderous applause and whistling from the floor. Looking almost in disbelief, she still managed to put on a lovely wide smile and waved to the crowd as resigning Miss Malaysia Adeline Chin Ai Nee placed the coveted crown on her head. “I really didn’t expect to win as I didn’t do very well in the question and answer session. I was very nervous and got my answers all wrong. I really screwed it up and I thought I have lost my chance to win the title,” she said when met back stage after the crowning ceremony. The Tawau Unduk Ngadau and State Miss Hotlink Popular said the whole competition was a gruelling process and nerve racking for her, specially the interview session which was the final judging stage before deciding the winner. The second eldest among six all-girl siblings said she had taken part in a number of traditional beauty pageants before and this was the first modem one that involved cat walking in swim wear. “I was a little bit uncomfortable and shy. I got very nervous every time I walked around the stage. It was very tough,” she said. But thanks to her healthy workout routine, her stunning body accompanied by her winning smile captured the eyes of the audience and the heart of the judges who gave her the Miss Body Beautiful subsidiary award and picked her as one of the top five to go through to the final stage. Cassey and four other finalists — Edna Walker, Teah Su Yin, Chloe Nicole Majimbon and Bianca Lim Zie Kuan - made it to the interview session where each of them had to answer a different question. Initially 14 finalists were selected from across the State. The Malay and Kadazan speaking Cassey was asked what beauty means to her and she answered nervously but sincerely. Her words were blurry and not well organized but good enough not to cost her the competition. Teah perhaps gave a better and more thought provoking answer. Asked how to keep Sabah greener, she said the Government is not just about power, money and corruption but it should also be about protecting the environment. The Government, she added, given the power and position it has, must play an active role to lead and be right at the very forefront of the conservation efforts. However, standing at 1.7 meters tall with a 32”-25”-37’ figure, Cassey came out winner beating Teah and the rest of the top five. She is currently taking a pedicure and manicure course and planning to open her own beauty saloon. The Kadazan girl who speaks fluent Mandarin, hopes the Miss Sabah title will help her business in the future. Apart from the title, she bagged RM12,000 cash prize, a trophy and beauty products from Marie France worth RM8,000. Finishing first runner-up was Chloe. The 19-year-old who stands at l67cm with a 34”-26”-36” figure, also won the Miss Popular subsidiary award. She walked away with RM8,000 cash, a trophy and beauty products worth RM5,000. Bianca, also 19, who took four subsidiary titles, Miss Elegant Tawau, Miss Friendly Big Apple Donut, Miss Popular Shaninigen and Miss Photogenic, was the second runner- up. She received RM5,000 cash, a trophy and RM3,000 worth of beauty products. US billionaire Donald Triumph, owner of the Miss Universe contest, will attend the final of Miss Universe 2008 to be held at the Diamond Bay Resort in the coastal city of Nha Trang, Vietnam.