Miss Malta
Category: loves

Miss Malta

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.

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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.''

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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

- We've heard a lot about you already. But tell us more about Yanika Azzopardi's everyday life.
I live a very basic day to day life! I recently started a new job with Vodafone and it's been one of the best changes in my life. After work, I always head to the gym and get my workout done for the day. Food is a big part of my day to day life too :) I love to cook and am always cooking healthy things. During weekends I love to visit my favourite restaurants and just enjoy myself!
 
- When did it all start for you in the world of modelling?
I've been modeling since I was 14. I took after my mother and great-grandmother as when they were my age they used to model too. I've represented my country many times abroad and am always looking to grow in the world of modelling. Took part in various competitions, photoshoots, fashion shows and events which taught me so much.
- How does modelling help you in your day-to-day challenges and achievements?
I used to live in the UK for 6 years, so at the age of 8 when I came back to Malta, I was very shy to speak and learn Maltese. I had forgotten the language completely in my time in the UK. Since at school and at home we were English-speaking, I struggled a lot to communicate in Maltese. When I started modeling it gave me the courage and confidence to speak it. It also helped me with my confidence and accepting who I am as a person.
- You have been crowned Miss Malta of 2017. What does this really mean to you? Tell us more about your experience so far.
 
I am still in disbelief sometimes that I've been crowned Miss Malta. It has been my dream to be on stage and to win an important title such as Miss Malta. I always used to follow it ever since I started my career and when I used to go shows such as the finals of events or even take part in a smaller competition, I would say to myself: "ONE DAY I will be crowned and make my dreams come true". Here I am today Miss Malta 2017 and I've had the best time yet. The journey was amazing and I knew I had to be 100% focused. I met so many beautiful people along the journey and it was one of the toughest competitions ever for me but I'm proud I made it. As I sit here today, as Miss Malta I am proud to be representing my country and have a year full of new adventures and of having the privilege of such an important title. I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart Vince Taliana, Mauro Kitcher and Joanne Parascandolo.

 

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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. 

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Naomi Hammett - Miss Tourism of Malta

- We've heard a lot about you already. But tell us more about Naomi Hammett's everyday life.
 
I believe that I am just the girl next door, and I consider my everyday life to be far from extraordinary! I often spend my days at university, where I’m currently studying law, and at home relaxing with my family. Lately, I have become much more involved in modelling activities such as photo shoots and fashion shows. I am very much into fashion as well, I like to keep up to date with the latest trends and you'll find me browsing for clothes very often. I also consider myself to be quite the foodie, and I love going out to eat and trying out different restaurants.
- When did it all start for you in the world of modelling?
 
My modelling career started out very unexpectedly. The thought of me modelling had crossed my mind before, and many people had told me to try out modelling before but I was not really interested as I believe that I am quite shy and awkward in front of a camera. I always thought that if I try out modelling, I would not do very well. Then one day, a Mr Vince Taliana approached me on Instagram, telling me that he is looking for inexperienced models to take part in Miss Malta 2017. At first, I was not interested for the same reason that I never tried out modelling before, but then I thought that maybe Mr Taliana saw potential in me that I didn’t see myself, and that I should try out something new and see what it has to offer. Looking back on this memory, I still cannot fathom how far I’ve come within a span of just a few months!
- How does modelling help you in your day-to-day challenges and achievements?
 
Since I started modelling, I feel much more confident in my own skin. It has given me a huge confidence boost which I desperately needed. Up until just a few months ago, I was much more introverted and very shy when it comes to approaching people. My experience in Miss Malta, and as Miss Tourism of Malta, has also taught me that I should always believe in myself, and my only limitation was my imagination, if you work hard enough, you can achieve greatness. My success in this pageant also made me realise how important it is to remain humble and to remember where you came from, and to remember the people who helped you when no one else did.
- You have been crowned Miss Tourism of Malta of 2017. What does this really mean to you? Tell us more about your experience so far.
 
I must begin by saying that I am extremely honoured to hold such a title, and when I entered into Miss Malta, I couldn’t even imagine myself as one of the Top 10 semi-finalists, let alone in the Top 3! For me, this title proves that when you work hard and stay grounded, even when facing some serious drawbacks, you can achieve anything you desire! The title of Miss Tourism of Malta also binds me with a great responsibility, which is that of being a good role model for girls and young women. It is vital that I set a good example for other young women to follow, by speaking out about issues that matter, helping others in need, and by using my voice and platform to stand up for what I believe in on issues such as gender equality, mental illness awareness, racism, domestic violence and violence against children, and many other issues which concern all of humanity.

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!

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This year, Miss Malta will take place on December 1st at Radisson Golden Sands. Applications are open till the 31st May. 

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