End of last year, I was honoured to be one of the judges for Miss Malta 2017. I know for sure that this will remain an experience I'll always remember because I felt so proud seeing so many assertive ladies confidently and elegantly walking down the catwalk, representing their localities.
I also got to learn that rather than just another beauty pageant, Miss Malta's contestants get to embark on a months-long journey prior to the actual show. Miss Malta is not an ordinary beauty pageant. As confirmed by Mr. Vince Taliana - Director of Glamorous Entertainment and responsible for the whole organization of Miss Malta 2017 - models will learn how to adhere to strict deadlines, how to work in groups with people whom they never met, how to take part in discussion programmes on tv, how to present themselves to the public. They will also learn that they can use their beauty for a good cause, like collecting funds for institutions who cater for Women in Need (Dar Merhba Bik). Above all, models from perfect strangers will become the best of friends. To top it all they will definitely learn more about fashion and the industry.''
Preparations for Miss Malta usually start from early February where, as a team, the organizers will start brainstorming about the logistics of the whole concept and the final night show. After that, contestants for Miss Malta aged between 17 and 26 will start to be recruited. No prior experience is required as the team behind Miss Malta provide the girls with all the necessary training. Following submission of applications, a professional team of judges will select the contestants during auditions. Once the contestants are established, a full programme of activities (including the Red carpet launch, appearances on TV, appearances in the various localities, photo shoots and modelling rehearsals) is put into action. As expected, the whole journey reaches its peak on the final night with a spectacular live show on tv.
That night I was a judge at Miss Malta, I made a mental note that I wanted to tell you more about this great event and introduce you to the three bright beauties who walked away with three titles; Miss Malta, Miss Republic of Malta and Miss Tourism of Malta. Today, I feel that it is the right time - even for the girls - to tell you more about this journey, a few months after they bagged these meaningful titles.
Yanika Azzopardi - Miss Malta
Jess Gherxi - Miss Republic of Malta 2017
- We've heard a lot about you already. But tell us more about Jess Gherxi's everyday life
Quite a busy person; I am a student at the University of Malta, doing Masters in Accountancy. Usually, when I am done from the day at University, I hit the gym and I look forward to it since I find it quite stress-relieving. I also work as a part-time fashion advisor in a retail outlet. Spending time with my loved ones is a must and every day I look forward to finish off my schedule to be able to spend some time with them. During the weekends I enjoy going out for dinners with my partner or hitting the clubs.
- When did it all start for you in the world of modelling?
I have been in the industry from the age of 13, and been taking part in beauty pageants since then. At first, I got criticised, everyone kept telling me that I was still too young however I kept my mind set to what I really wanted. I chose to enter in the modelling industry because I was a shy individual and I truly believed that modelling would really help me become a better person. Since then, I started believing more in what I was capable of and it also boosted my confidence. At the age of 15, I was chosen to represent Malta in an international beauty pageant in Italy, where I returned back home with the title of Miss a New Star Beauty. In 2012, I was crowned Miss Image Model Malta and later on took part in other beauty pageants such as Fashion Model Malta and Face of Malta. In 2014, at the age of 18, I was also a finalist for Miss Malta where I represented my hometown, Naxxar. After that, I stopped taking part in beauty pageants, however, I still modelled for different outlets and designers in fashion shows and posed for several photo shoots. Last year, after finishing my first degree at University I decided that I wanted to get back into the industry since I had missed taking part in these beauty pageants. When I saw that Miss Malta 2017 was coming up, I decided to give it a go again, since I had more time on my hands. I also believed that this competition was the perfect comeback since Miss Malta is one of the most prestigious titles on the island.
- How does modelling help you in your day-to-day challenges and achievements?
Modelling has been a great influence in my personal life. The minute I set foot in the industry, I became a more confident individual and started to believe more in what I was capable of. I learned that hard work and dedication would help me accomplish anything I believed in.
- You have been crowned Miss Republic of Malta of 2017. What does this really mean to you? Tell us more about your experience so far.
It has been a dream come true. I was happy with this achievement, however, I was even happier that I made the people who have worked by my side throughout this journey proud; my family. It has been quite busy. Few days after the final night we had been invited by the Her Excellency Mary-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta, had a number of shoots, including the official shoot and sat for a number of interviews. Lately alongside, Miss Malta and Miss Tourism of Malta, we have worked on a small school project with students from San Gorg Preca Primary School with regards to Valletta 2018. It has been quite busy till now, however, I wouldn't mind going back and do them all over again.
-What would you recommend to anyone who is willing to try and take up modelling but is still not sure?
GO FOR IT! I started at quite a young age and it really helped me in a number of ways - it boosted my confidence and also strengthened my character. Although it is not an easy industry and one may be subject to criticism, this should not set you back. Being able to travel abroad to different beauty pageants will help you broaden your mind, learn about new cultures, meet new people and also helps you grow into a stronger and more independent individual.
Naomi Hammett - Miss Tourism of Malta
What would you recommend to anyone who is willing to try and take up modelling but is still not sure?
I definitely recommend my experience to every woman I know. The journey of the pageant has taught me so many things which did not only relate to modelling, such as teamwork, discipline and confidence, but it also provided me with great friendships, and a great bond is created amongst all the models. It was an incredibly positive experience throughout! An opportunity that can only happen once in a lifetime which can change who you are as a person!
This year, Miss Malta will take place on December 1st at Radisson Golden Sands. Applications are open till the 31st May.