Press Release - Auditions 2015



The search for Borneo culture ambassadors entered a full swing with auditions completed in Miri, Bintulu, Sibu and Kuching from 13th March till 15th March last weekend. Hosted by Borneo Heritage and supported by Persatuan Warisan Sarawak, Borneo Hornbill Festival celebrates it’s seventh year this time around and the response thus far has been very encouraging.

The Auditions
The auditions are conducted to shortlist Sarawakian and Sabahan finalists for Miss Ethnic Iban, Miss Ethnic Bidayuh, Miss Ethnic Orang Ulu, Miss Ethnic KadazanDusun, Miss Ethnic Sabah Open, Mister Ethnic Sarawak and Mister Ethnic Sabah.

The main criteria to participate in the Sarawak Ethnic Pageant category is to be of Sarawak native parentage or a mixed parentage of Sarawak native. Similarly, the Sabah Ethnic Pageant categories are strictly for candidates of Sabah native with Miss Ethnic KadazanDusun for KadazanDusun origins and Miss Ethnic Sabah Open for the rest of Sabah ethnics which includes, but not limited to, Murut, Rungus, Ida’an, Lundayeh, Orang Sungai, Cocos , Bisaya, Bugis and Bajau.

The audition will continue in Sabah locations covering Kota Marudu, Kota Kinabalu and Keningau from 21st March to 22nd March.
The final audition location is Kuala Lumpur on 4th April 2015 at Pusat Pelancongan Malaysia Jalan Ampang.

Borneo Hornbill Festival auditions are conducted in different places across Malaysia to enable the organizers cover more regions and give equal opportunity for Sarawakians and Sabahans regardless of their current locations, whether in Borneo or Malaya. The audition road shows also allow them to educate the public about the event’s purpose, philosophy and prospect.

Finalists’ Criteria
Borneo Hornbill Festival is not merely an ethnic costume pageant. It incorporates beauty and grace, culture and heritage as well as interpersonal skills. The finalists are selected based on their pleasant appearance, communication skills and knowledge on culture. A twist of IQ test is also included as the candidates attempt to elaborate and relate their answers to a thematic question.

Each year the organizers apply a specific theme for the pageant to gauge the candidates’ intelligence and communication skills. To score well, they must be able to elaborate their answers by relating to their own experience and observation of their physical and social environment.

Current Theme
The theme for this year’s audition is “The Impact of Culture On The Economy”. It defines the economic benefits gained by people who conserve, preserve, uphold, practice and promote at least one aspect of culture, tradition and heritage in their daily lives.

The practice of culture, tradition and heritage may be part of their daily routines whether at work or at home. It may also be part of their hobby or passion during their free time; their personal calling or mission to ensure that their culture, tradition and heritage remain in the grasp of the present and future generations.

Examples of cultural practitioners are cultural dancers, cultural consultants, masters of ceremonies and rituals, ethnic fashion designers, ethnic costume makers, fabric weavers, basket weavers, traditional craft makers, carvers, painters, folk tales & story tellers, traditional healers, ethnic singers and songwriters, ethnic musical instrument players, social and cultural activists, traditional farmers, traditional food and beverage producers and many more.

Some cultural aspects do not require a single sen but most traditional practices nowadays require an increasing number of materials and equipment which can hardly be found or have become very expensive to obtain . Therefore their cultural practices must be self sustainable in order to endure the test of time.

The Grand Finals, BHF 2015
After going through the audition and the popularity contest based on facebook votes, the shortlisted finalists shall attend the grand final stages which will be held in the nation’s capital at Pusat Pelancongan Malaysia Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.

Their journey continues in Kuala Lumpur on 24th July 2015 with the critical closed door judging where each of them will present their ethnic costumes and cultural knowledge to a group of jury, all experts in their own fields. This is where a bulk of their marks will be accumulated as they are interviewed by the judges.

A day after the closed door judging, on 25th July 2015, they must shine on stage where the public is able to witness the grand display of impressive costumes, the graceful moves of the maiden beauties and the proud stance of the brave warriors.

Miss & Mister Borneo 2015
The champions of each ethnic category have another big task the next day, Sunday 26th July 2015. Five female champions vie to be crowned the grand Miss Borneo and two male champions fight for the Mister Borneo title.

The Miss & Mister Borneo pageant sessions are interlaced within the Ethnic Dance competition to inject different moods between the dance categories.

For more information on the auditions, grand finals, ethnic dance competition and history of Borneo Hornbill Festival, please visit

Prepared by : Agustus Sapen, Pageant Director, Borneo Hornbill Festival 2015

Miri Candidates, Kampung Sukan Petronas, Miri

Bintulu Candidates, Dewan Suarah Bintulu
Sibu Candidates, Dewan Suarah Sibu

Kuching Candidates, Old Courthouse, Waterfront Kuching