She has been a fashion model, a beauty pageant contestant, and an air stewardess. With a resume like that, few would guess that 2nd Sergeant (2SG) Helena works in the Singapore Armed Forces Detention Barracks (SAFDB) today.
All these experiences - especially taking part in the Miss World Singapore competition in 2008 where she ended up a Top 10 finalist - have made her more confident and outspoken, she said.
In some ways, a career in the military was not so far-fetched. Her Nepalese-born grandfather came to Singapore and worked as a prison warden, while her father enrolled in the SAF Boys School at 14 and has been with the Army ever since. Today, he works as a trainer at the Infantry Training Institute.
As the Records 2nd In-Charge at the SAFDB, 2SG Helena is in charge of processing incoming detainees and ensuring that their documentation is in order. While working in a military prison is a world away from the glamour of fashion shoots and catwalks, she is proud to follow in her father s footsteps and serve in the SAF.
The movie buff is definitely bold enough for the job if her film genre of choice is anything to go by. "I love to watch thrillers and horror movies where there is gore and blood everywhere!" she said with a laugh.