Miss Grand Malaysia unveils national costume inspired by ‘Mak Yong’ dance

Jasebel Robert wearing the ‘Mak Yong’ costume. Photos: Miss Grand Malaysia/Facebook
Jasebel Robert wearing the ‘Mak Yong’ costume. Photos: Miss Grand Malaysia/Facebook

The Miss Grand Malaysia beauty pageant has unveiled the stunning national costume that winner Jasebel Robert will be showing off in the international round next week. 

Robert, 25, will be enthralling viewers at the Miss Grand International in a gold, red, and silver ensemble inspired by the traditional dance Mak Yong and iconic dancer Khatijah Awang. The outfit, designed by Ain Mohamad, is complete with a headdress.

“My first impression was just in awe with the detailing of the costume,” she told Coconuts today, adding: “My headgear has the details of the Twin Towers and Tugu Negara [National Monument] too.” 

Robert will join 63 other hopefuls at Bangkok’s SHOW DC Mall and Entertainment Hall next Wednesday. She has already arrived in Thailand and is currently serving quarantine. 

The traditional dance, which has Thai origins, was named a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by the global heritage body UNESCO in 2005. Up until the 1920s, the dance was performed for entertainment and spiritual purposes in the Kelantan state. People also believed that watching the dance could heal ailments. 

In 1991, however, the Kelantan government placed a statewide ban on Mak Yong performances due to its “un-Islamic” elements such as its association with spiritual worship and costumes that exposed a woman’s arms. 

The ban was lifted in 2019 to promote the performance as part of tourism campaigns.

Other stories to check out:

Iban man gives Barbie a Borneo makeover

Beauty queen turned teacher brightens up online classes with traditional Borneo costumes

Malaysians quash Dutch expat’s Baju Kurung dream after SCMP interview

Subscribe to the WTF is Up in Southeast Asia + Hong Kong podcast to get our take on the top trending news and pop culture from the region every Thursday!

Reader Interactions

Leave A Reply


Support local news and join a community of like-minded
“Coconauts” across Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

Join Now
Coconuts TV
Our latest and greatest original videos
Subscribe on