One day at a time

By William K.C. Kee

Entrepreneur and busy mum Elaine Daly makes the most of working from home.

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has taken a toll on everyone’s lives, as we adjust and adapt to the new normal. For working mothers, the Movement Control Order (MCO) has been especially challenging.

Datin Elaine Daly, who is mother of two, strives to make the best of the situation, regarding the MCO and working from home (WFH). Married to renowned chiropractor Datuk Dr Nick Boden, the emcee-former beauty queen-entrepreneur balances her work and family responsibilities on a daily basis.

As the national director of Miss Universe Malaysia and channel director of Hurr tv, Daly, 43, continues to be a busy bee at home. In the following email interview, she opens up about finding beauty and peace in the ongoing pandemic.

How are you and your family coping with the MCO?

We are trying to stay calm and sane as much as possible. It’s not easy to keep a four-year-old (Eva) and a one-year-old (Mia) entertained all the time, but my husband and I do the best we can by getting them to do a whole bunch of activities. Plus, Eva has her home schooling and extracurricular activities done on Zoom.

My husband and I work out every morning, and we both also have schedules to adhere to, dealing with work-related matters. I’m cooking a lot more which is great as it’s something I thoroughly enjoy. We used to take things for granted as we all lead busy lives, so this is good in a way. It gives us time to reflect, and enable us to spend more time with the family.

How are you managing, in regards to WFH?

I lead two teams; I am the national director of Miss Universe Malaysia as well as the channel director of Hurr tv. We have frequent Zoom meetings and I have the teams update me daily about their work in progress. On Hurr tv, we just launched the ‘nak beli mart’ during MCO. It is an online grocery store catered to those who need to get food, essentials and personal care items, which I hope will encourage the rakyat to stay home as we bring the goods to you.

How is the local beauty pageant affected by the ongoing pandemic?

Last December, we already picked our top 18 participants for 2020. We were supposed to have our gala in March; obviously everything is now on hold. I doubt we can even have a gala after MCO as we are not meant to hold any mass gathering. So, it will probably be a small event to pick the winner with a few judges in tow and we might stream the crowning live.

Have you been keeping in touch with the participants and previous winners?

Yes, with the participants, we have a group chat and they are constantly keeping busy with social media postings and lots of ‘homework’ from me, especially about the advocacy work they want to delve into. With the winners, we’ve all become firm friends and I get in touch with them often.

How will the international finals be affected?

So far we have not gotten any directives from the Miss Universe Organisation, except to say that we might still have the finals in December,  and that we are allowed to conduct our pageant online if need be. At this stage changes of all kind is possible.

What are your projects for the rest of 2020? 

I launched Lead Up by Elaine Daly ( in November 2019 where I specialise in training workshops for women. Primarily, it’s to empower individuals to be a better version of themselves, focusing on sharpening their non-verbal communication skills (grooming, confidence building). I’ve done quite a number of trainings since then, to equip women with skills to be great individuals, to break glass ceilings.

I enjoy mentoring and training ladies; I would say it’s my passion, especially with all my work I’ve done in all my years at Miss Universe Malaysia. Beauty queens or not, we all want to be better individuals and to be the best version of ourselves. As cliché as it sounds, if I can make a difference in people’s lives no matter how small, why not? It’s a legacy I’d like to leave behind.

Do you have a message for fellow Malaysians during this challenging period?

Stay calm and take each day as it comes. Every time we get frustrated because we are restricted, think of the front liners and how much they are sacrificing. We need to play our part by staying home and make the best of each day as it comes.

What do you think about the recent controversy over a ministry’s advice to women to wear makeup at home and speak in Doraemon tone?

We have done so much work in recent times to build up the profile of women in this country. We have a reputation regardless of the government of producing formidable female leaders who hold their own: Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz and our incredible queen.

I know Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Harun to be someone who is serious about women’s issues, so I was surprised to hear of this and can only assume this was a badly thought out and poorly communicated advice.

The reality is women in most households are the ones ensuring the house is clean, there are cooked meals and kids are taken care of. We are the ones ensuring that life goes on as normally as possible. We are certainly not timid cartoon characters with squeaky voices.

Lastly, happy Mother’s Day (May 10)! How do you plan to celebrate?

I am celebrating two things this year; first, it’s health. Health is the new wealth and something which we take for granted. My mother went through a very serious procedure last year and I am so grateful now, more than ever to have her in my life. Once the MCO is over, I hope to spend precious time with her. Secondly, I want to pay tribute to the incredible female front liners who work so hard and risk so much to keep us all safe.

Location : AN Boutique Salon
Photographer: Albert Nico
Styled by : Albert Nico
Hair : Wendy Quah
Make up: Monica Lee
Photo Edit : Sandy Thee
Lighting & Camera : Ks Du

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