by –– DUBAI: Saudi model Rumy Al-Qahtani is no stranger to the spotlight, having competed in a number of beauty pageants across the world — her most recent turn on the stage was at the Miss & Mrs Global Asian beauty pageant in Malaysia. Arab News spoke to the model to learn more about the challenges involved and what it means to share Saudi culture with the world. “The biggest challenge is my personal representation of the (typical) Saudi girl and her appearance, (as well as the appearance) that befits her as a Saudi,” Riyadh-born Al-Qahtani said, before adding that she has also competed in the Miss Planet International pageant in Cambodia, the Miss Woman International Beauty Contest in Rome, the Miss Europe Continental competition in Naples, the Miss Arab World pageant in Egypt, the Miss Arab Unity competition in Algeria, and Iraq’s Miss Middle East and North Africa pageant.

The 27-year-old model sees her role as something akin to a cultural ambassador for her country and said that her main aim when taking part in global competitions is to raise awareness about the Kingdom and its people. “My contributions are to learn about world cultures and to transfer our authentic Saudi culture and heritage to the world,” she said. To that end, Al-Qahtani makes sure to celebrate Saudi culture on stage — wherever she is in the world. She even wore the traditional Najdi dress at the Miss & Mrs Global Asian beauty pageant in Malaysia and kept her 870,000 Instagram fans updated with regular posts on her pageant looks. “I wore the Najdi costume and was happy because I was representing the Najd region and its popular costume was admired by the public and the press,” she told Arab News. Twenty-five contestants from 12 countries and territories competed in this year’s pageant that wrapped up on Jan. 27, including Australia, Borneo, India, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Malaysia.