How I do it: Samantha Katie James

The newly crowned Miss Universe Malaysia shares her beauty habits and fitness regimen, all of which play a part in how she's always camera-ready

By ELLE Malaysia | Published: 6 Mar 2017

HIDI: Samantha
Photo: Slip Studio

I am Samantha Katie James, Miss Universe Malaysia 2017. I'm 22 years old and of Chinese and Brazilian descent. I was born in Klang. I am a model and actress. I can speak English and Malay fluently, as well as a little Mandarin and Tamil, though I lack practice.

I wake up at different times every day depending on what time I fall asleep, but I make sure that I get seven to eight hours of sleep every night. I go for morning runs on an empty stomach and train at the gym in the evenings. As for my schedule, it really depends on whether I have a shoot or job on a particular day. Sometimes I'm free all week, and sometimes I work for two weeks straight, 12 hours a day.

I like wearing colourful outfits, lots of girly stuff. Dresses and skirts are my favourite.

I always have my favourite lip balm from Carmex (it's the best ever), my lipstick, (I absolutely love lipsticks!), my purse, wet tissues, powerbank and my crystals in my bag.

I try to keep my makeup simple or have none on at all to let my skin breathe since I always have loads of cosmetics on during shoots. I like to alternate between Smooth E White Babyface Daily Scrub and a Cetaphil facewash. I tend to use different products each time depending on how I feel, usually Chanel Le Lift Crème Fine Firming Anti Wrinkle Cream or Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve together with La Mer The Eye Concentrate.

My favourite beauty cheat would be always using serum for your face before applying primer or foundation to prevent the makeup from seeping into your skin. Always wait 30 seconds before applying something else on your face.

I've been a pescatarian (that means I don't eat meat but eat fish) for a year now. So for my meals, I usually opt for soft boiled eggs; sometimes oats or cereal or protein pancakes. I always make sure that I check the sugar and fat content in everything I buy and I cook all my own meals.

I have cold-pressed juice every morning: a combo of carrots, celery stalks, beetroot, Japanese cucumber, oranges, lemon, bitter gourd, purple cabbage, and green apples. I follow a 'one meal every three hours' diet, that helps raise my metabolism. I eat only carbs until lunch and then only protein afterwards. I usually eat a lot of eggs, cooked turtle beans for protein, and drink at least three litres of water every day. My favourite cheat meal would be banana leaf rice and iced lemon tea.

I work out for an hour and a half, five times a week. I go for a run almost every morning, I usually go to Goodness Greens for a good post- and even pre-workout meal! I love being a fitness junkie, it makes me feel good, it's my kind of therapy, and I usually have a really good playlist to workout or run to, to keep me motivated. I listen to a lot of upbeat, progressive RnB songs like No Sunshine by DMX, Purple Lamborghini by Rick Ross and Skrillex and Night Riders by Major Lazer. 

A typical day at work is usually fun. I need lots of coffee because shooting a commercial or filming a movie or even a photoshoot can sometimes take more than 12 hours. I once did a commercial shoot that took three consecutive days and I only got four hours of sleep each day. Modelling is really not as easy as people think.

Despite my busy schedule, I try to fit in some exercise by waking up extra early or sleeping a little later. I bring snacks to work too: nuts, fruits, apples, and a can of tuna to make sure I don't binge on junk food.

I never finish work at the same time; it depends on whether we've got the perfect shot or not. After work I just stick to a protein-only meal like boiled eggs or fish. And then I'd watch a Tedx Talk or a good movie before bed to keep my mind fresh and motivated for the next day. I make sure to stretch before bed too; it helps relax my body and gives me a good night's sleep.


The best lesson I've ever learned on the job
Never ever be late, always be nice to everyone, and keep smiling even if you're tired.

How I overcome professional setbacks
Keep trying and remember that you are in control of everything that happens to you.

Best career advice anyone has ever given me
Give your 200% each time!

Advice I would give someone aspiring to do what I do
A good attitude gets you places. Be friendly with everyone. What you give you will receive.

My motto
Go beyond your comfort zone, you'll never know what you're capable of doing until you try.

Holiday: Visiting the beach helps and so does discovering a new place, country or culture.
Day off: I like going to the cinemas.
Night out: I just need good company.

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