Miss Gibraltar 2012
Jessica Louise Baldachino
We all know that Gibraltar is an area of outstanding natural beauty but it is also home to some of the most gorgeous women in the world. In 2009, Miss Gibraltar (Kaiane Aldorino) was crowned Miss World, garnering the Miss Gibraltar pageant unprecedented interest from the international media, yet the event’s history stems back to 1959. You may be surprised to learn that the first Miss Gibraltar, Viola Abudarham, was married! This was because the rules stipulating that candidates actually needed to be single were not applied until 1964, rules stipulating that candidates actually needed to be single were not applied until 1964, when the show was revived after a mysterious five-year hiatus.
Since then, the pageant has taken place every year, laced with glamour and featuring performances by some of the world’s top artists, including Paco del Lucia, Rolf Harris, Michael Bentine and Gibraltarians Albert Hammond and Melon Diesel. Currently, the Miss Gibraltar show is one of the highlights of the Gibraltarian social calendar. This month, we offer our readers an exclusive interview with Miss Gibraltar 2012, Jessica Louise Baldachino, the 50th winner of the pageant, who also happens to be a teacher at a secondary school, where she teaches students aged 12 to 18.
What are the biggest challenges that lie ahead for the children you are teaching?
Sometimes I wonder if they’ll find it hard to obtain employment in the future, given the current state of global economics. I also hope that they will make the right decisions in their lives when challenging situations arise.
How did your students react to your win?
My students have always been extremely supportive so they were so excited when I won. I was greeted with applause at school and even signed a few autographs.
What do you most enjoy about being a teacher?
The fact that each day is different and you never know what might happen before the day is over. It’s also really satisfying to know that you are helping people obtain valuable qualifications. Young people have very genuine opinions and it’s refreshing to hear their thoughts.
Why did you decide to sign up for Miss Gibraltar?
I had always been a fan of beauty pageants and beauty in general but I was very shy and thought I wasn’t the right type of person for it, until my family convinced me that I would regret it if I didn’t give it a go. I signed up last year and finished as first runner up. Never in a million years did I think I could have achieved that. So this year, I was much more determined and confident.
Can you describe the moment when your name was announced as Miss Gibraltar?
It was a strange feeling. I was feeling quite relaxed during the whole show, but that moment was an absolute daze; I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming. About five minutes after they crowned me, I realized the eyes of Gibraltar were on me and I felt a surge of pride.
Do you see your future in Gibraltar?
I lived in the UK for four years when I was at University and I loved it but there was no doubt in my mind that I would return to Gibraltar. I want to travel, experience different cultures and learn more about the world but I will always base myself in Gibraltar.lt is a haven of peace and tranquility where people of different walks of life live in harmony. And we know how to have a pretty good tine too!
How did you train for Miss Gibraltar, both physically and mentally?
I put in maximum effort and determination. It took a lot of training, many hours at the gym and a healthy diet to make sure I had enough energy to be at my best. Obviously, there were lots of rehearsals to attend and I practiced the catwalk countless times. Mentally and spiritually, I convinced myself to think positively and reminded myself that it was about doing the best you can do and not regretting a single moment.
What do you do in your free time?
I don’t have that much free time because my job is quite demanding, I enjoy going out for coffee with my friends or my mother. I also enjoy cooking. It helps me wind down. Sport has become a very big part of my life and I’m very interesting in hiking.
Which ambitions are you yet to achieve?
In the future, I would love to purchase a house and have a family, but I need to achieve some things before then. I want to make the most of my year as Miss Gibraltar, attend as many events as possible and help as many people as possible. At Miss World, I want to network and take every opportunity on offer. I’m interested in photographic modeling and would like to pursue that further. I’m lucky to already have a career at a young age so I can also concentrate on other things.
Have you set your mind on winning the Miss World pageant this year?
I will be attending the Miss World pageant in Inner Mongolia this year and I have set my mind on making my country proud and performing to the best of my ability, whatever that may bring.
How have your friends and family reacted to your win?
They are all extremely proud of me I think some of my friends still can’t believe it.
Are you a fashion buff?
I absolutely adore fashion; it’s such a fantastic way of expressing who you are. My favourite designer has to be Chanel; I love the timeless French elegance – l am a French teacher, after all! One day I will be able to afford something from their collections and possibly a Louis Vuitton bag. I also admire the lady who designs and makes all of my pageant dresses: Priscilla Sacramento. She is a close friend and possibly the most talented person I know.
How do you stay poised in tense moments?
I always get a bit nervous when doing routines, as I’m worried I’ll forget the steps, but with practice they always turn out alright I take deep breaths, close my eyes and focus on the energy I want to release before going out on stage.
What qualities do you think it takes to make a great Miss World?
I think Miss World has to be a woman who accepts and understands different cultures and beliefs, someone who is elegant and poised, a positive person who has found joy in her life and is comfortable with her looks.
What musicians or artists do you admire and why?
I admire my brother Nathan, who is studying music performance in the UK. He is a brilliant composer and vocalist and one day he will be number one in the charts. My favourite singers are George Michael and Dusty Springfield but I listen to anything that makes me want to start dancing.
Who has been your greatest influence?
However cliché it may sound, my greatest influence are my parents. They share my day-to-day life, they have seen me at my best and at my worst and they are by my side. I cannot begin to thank them for everything they have done in my life and love them more than words could describe.