Our very own Malaysian pride, Dato’ Nicol David opens up about herself (beyond her smashing squash career!) and her partnership with Louis Vuitton and UNICEF’s #MakeAPromise campaign to make the world a better place for children in need.
Marie Claire: Tell us more about the SRAM Women’s Squash Invitational Tournament 2016 you organized in July, was it part of the #MakeAPromise campaign?
Nicol David: The SRAM Women’s Squash Invitational 2016 was a tournament where we invited 4 top professional players from around the world to compete in KL with our No. 2 Malaysian female player, Delia Arnold and myself to build up towards the coming season that starts late in August. The players were Omneya Abdel Kawy from Egypt, Joelle King from New Zealand, Joshna Chinappa from India and Jenny Duncalf from England. It’s also a unique event having the Malaysian National Sports Institute’s support through the Podium Programme to provide sport science assistance throughout the week for the players. Since we have all of these global players in KL, this seemed like a great opportunity to get them to participate in this #MakeAPromise Campaign with Louis Vuitton because it’s a global campaign for UNICEF.
MC: How were the other top squash players’ reaction to lending a hand and supporting you with it?
ND: They were excited to be supporting a great cause and playing a role in creating an awareness through their squash following. Also, I was excited to hear that LV was keen about including the squash girls in the campaign especially because I had the privilege to do the first wave of the campaign with former Miss Malaysia, Deborah Henry. It is not often that all of us squash players are able to do campaigns or activities like these together at competitions because timing is tough to coordinate everyone. This was the ideal moment because it’s a small group of us plus it’s an invitation only event that it gives them a bit of time to take part in something significant with LV + UNICEF’s campaign.
MC: What is the main aim of the #MakeAPromisecampaign by Louis Vuitton x UNICEF and how does it benefit the children worldwide? What was your initial reaction to it?
ND:The #MakeAPromise campaign is such an important initiative by Louis Vuitton in support of UNICEF’s mission to provide health aid for the children worldwide that are in urgent need of help and assistance. The #MakeAPromise lockit by Louis Vuitton is sold worldwide and most of the proceeds goes directly to aid these children. I feel that if we are in position to spread the awareness and contribute in someway to #MakeAPromise then more people will understand the struggles that is going on and would take part in making a difference for the children. I’m very passionate about making a change and creating better futures for kids in less fortunate circumstances.
MC: You are also a Goodwill Ambassador for United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), tell us a little more about your involvement in that.
ND: I’ve been appointed as a UNDP Goodwill Ambassador in Malaysia for more than 12 years and the main purpose was to make the most of my profile in Malaysia as a top athlete to reach out to our nation, especially our youth about the UNDP global goals within Malaysia and also creating an awareness of the current issues faced within our nation. I have done some campaigns touching on the topics from the UNDP global goals and mission trips in the rural areas of Sarawak and Pahang to witness first-hand the on-going projects to help villagers live their lives with the little resources they have. This was a real eye opener for me to experience this as our own country still have places that struggle to get the basic necessities and that we all can play a part to reach out to their needs.
MC: Do you have any future expansion plans for this campaign, to create more awareness, or even to go into the field and help out underprivileged children?
ND: I would like to do more mission trips to help the children and work with the UNDP projects as well after my squash career with more time on my hands. My next thing I’m hoping to set up soon is my own Nicol David Foundation to reach out to girls through sport to build their self esteem and give them the proper guidance that they can believe in their own capabilities and strive for excellence in anything they do. Everyone is special with their own gift and being constantly around different forms of media everywhere nowadays, there are expectations to fit into a certain criteria or profile that doesn’t encourage these girls to discover their own unique quality in themselves. The younger generation coming through can be very critical and without a strong foundation in themselves, we will face more troubled girls that will be left astray doing the wrong things in their life. This is something close to my heart using sport to reach out and give more girls a sense of self worth in themselves through my foundation.
Hair : Kay Tuan / Centro Hair Salon
Makeup : Siew Ching and Make Up Forever
Stylist: Cho Wee Chee
Photographer: Colin Wee
Read the full interview in our October issue now!