A law degree holder, model, singer, personal trainer, Unduk Ngadau beauty queen and now, politician. Jo-Anna Sue Henley Rampas has worn many hats in her 28 years of life, and according to her, the latest one is the one she is most passionate about.
The Kiulu native first made waves at the Unduk Ngadau, a Kadazan dusun beauty contest, some 10 years ago and has been in and out of the limelight since.
The multi-talented British-Dusun is a former Bintang RTM star with a law degree from the United Kingdom. She is also a certified fitness instructor.
She worked in advertising, curating Samsung’s Milk Music for Malaysia and Indonesia while in London.
Since returning home about a year ago, she has put her law degree on the back burner for now. She plans on making permanent waves as a people’s representative in her hometown as part of the new Parti Warisan Sabah and as the icon of Wira wati, the party’s young womens’ wing.
Her venture into politics may seem out of the blue, but those in the know are aware that she comes from a family of politicians; her grandfather was a native chief, and her mother was also into politics, having stood as a candidate for the now defunct parti AKAR.
Her uncle, Datuk Louis Rampas, was a three-term former state assemblyman for Kiulu.
Despite her obviously Eurasian looks and slight British accent, Rampas finds it easy to mix with locals, thanks to her command of Dusun and local Sabahan slang.
It helps that she is naturally outgoing, and although happy to share most things about her life, she insists on keeping certain things, like her marriage, private.
Young, ambitious, bubbly and proudly Sabahan, she talks about everything from a gym injury to her venture into politics and being the heaviest girl to win the Unduk Ngadau title.
In her own words:
Growing up in Kiulu, KK, Penampang and Petagas, I think I had a fun childhood. I had friends from the city and the kampung, and they are two different worlds. I thought I adapted well to both, although they were very different. I was just as happy to run around outside climbing trees as I was playing video games. I guess when you’re young, you don’t care, you just want to play.
The state Unduk Ngadau in 2007 was my first and last beauty pageant — I was encouraged to join it by my friends while waiting for our SPM results. I didn’t think I would win. I was at my “maximum chubby” at the time. I was the heaviest contestant at 60kg. Everyone was in their 40s and 50s. I was not insecure but I find it funny. I don’t know how – maybe it was just luck I won – I had prepared for it, and I had a good command of Dusun. I guess it’s about confidence and how you can embody the “huminodun” spirit to represent the KDM culture.
I really like to eat, I like egg yolks with rice for instance. At the age of 19, I was getting bad headaches and the doctor told me I had high cholesterol for my age. It took me awhile but I began to lose weight over the years. I was going to the gym regularly, and I got certified as a fitness trainer in the United Kingdom, as a way to earn extra income. I think I surprised myself and everyone by being so into fitness now, especially weight lifting. I was never into sports in school. My mum is surprised, she never thought I would get involved in anything so physical.
I dislocated my shoulder at the gym last year while in the UK and had to have surgery. I’ve now got three screws in my shoulder, and had to stop weight-lifting for awhile. It’s not the same anymore, the doctor says I won’t have the same strength anymore and I’m more fragile now. Recently, a vigorous handshake with a villager caused a muscle tear in my shoulder. For a weight-lifter to have this injury, feels like the end of the world. But I won’t give up though, I will prove the doctor wrong and get back into training.
My venture into politics is not that surprising, actually. I’ve always been interested in the issues concerning the people and everyone in my family has an opinion. My mum was a candidate for AKAR in 1994, my uncle was a state assemblyman from 1999 to 2013 and my grandfather was a native chief who was among those who discovered Kiulu… it’s in my blood.
I actually heard about Warisan from the workers who were renovating my house. I googled them and found out that Darell Leiking, whom I already knew, was also part of the new party. I found out more about them and thought if I were to join a political party, this would be it. Later on they told me they were looking for a youth icon for the Gen Y and Z in Sabah and wanted to give me the opportunity. I thought it was the right platform for me.
A Local Artis from Kiulu, Tuaran had a wonderful talent not even in her voice but her natural beauty and so forth that had made all the youngster crazy about her night and day. Her mother Mdm Sullah Rampas was originally came from Kiulu not far from Tamparuli Town.
She study at Britain and meet her husband there. Many years ago I still remember that her mother have joint a political party and become one of the candidate in Kiulu. She is under the opposition party and was easily beaten by the legendary Datuk Gisin Lombut of Kiulu under the flags of United Sabah Party (PBS).
Jo Anna Sue Henly Rampas have relation with Kiulu current assemblyman Datuk Louis Rampas. Datul louis is her uncle. A very charming, easy to get along is one of the wonderful character of Jo Anna Sue Henly Rampas. She was really famous at Kiulu, Tamparuli and Tuaran.
She is the the Runner Up for Bintang RTM 2009 and also the 2006 Reigning Queen or Unduk Ngadau for the Sabah State Level. She is damn beautiful. 🙂 She was just graduated from University of London as she got her Law Course in there. Smart and beautiful, isn’t? 🙂
Parti Bersatu Sabah’s (PBS) Joniston Bangkuai won the Kiulu seat with a razor-thin margin of 44 votes in the 13th general election (GE13).
Come GE14, however, he is confident of brushing aside a challenge from former beauty queen Jo-Anna Sue Henley Rampas, the vice-chief of Parti Warisan Sabah’s women’s wing.
When contacted, Henley Rampas, who is also a Kiulu native, said the voter demography in Kiulu, which features more people aged between 21 and 45, would help swing the result in her favour.
“To lead this generation, we need someone from the same era. We need someone fresh who sees the current issues and what the young generation really wants,” the 29-year-old told FMT.
She said Bangkuai had succeeded her uncle, Louis Rampas, the previous assemblyman.
Despite her Eurasian descent, the former model and singer speaks fluent Dusun and is familiar with the problems on the ground.
She has been vocal in criticising Bangkuai, claiming that he ignores his constituents and fails to look into issues like road development, falling rubber prices and job opportunities in the area.
She said land issues had also been neglected. “Many villagers told me they had applied for native land titles ages ago but have yet to get them.”
She said it was welcome news for villagers when Bangkuai and government officials held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Tebobon-Gonipis road.
“But there are other roads that are also needed. And we should also address real issues such as these people needing jobs,” she said, adding that the ruling government was responsible for resolving such problems.
“So I hope when Warisan forms the state government, all these issues will be addressed,” she said.