Chantal Zaky was recently crowned the new Miss Universe Jamaica 2012 and will represent Jamaica at the 61st Miss Universe pageant in December 2012 at a location to be announced by the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) by the end of July. Chantal is no stranger to the world of pageantry as she entered the pageant last year and was unsuccessful. Proving to be very persistent and resilient, she tried again and was successful and she will be representing Jamaica in our golden jubilee, something she’s very ecstatic about. I did an interview with CZ to find out about the whole pageant experience, the strategies she will employ to ensure success at the international pageant and her future aspirations.
Q1. How would you define Chantal Zaky?
Lover of life and nature, I appreciate the Arts and creative expression. I enjoy traveling and learning about different cultures. I am a humanitarian, one who is determined to make a better life for myself and others around me. Very passionate and perspicacious.
Q2. Describe your upbringing
I was raised with the belief to respect my fellow man and to live in the liberties of life. There was a strong emphasis to work hard, study hard and to believe in myself and my heritage. I grew up as part of a very large tightly knit family. I spent my youth and summers travelling. I was very active and social. I loved the outdoors from climbing trees to playing football. I was a little busy bee.
Q3. Outside of your immediate family, who or what inspires you?
My Jamaican heritage and genuine love inspire me. Passion inspires me. I think it is the road to happiness.
Q4. You are the new Miss Universe Jamaica. How was the experience this time considering that you entered last year?
The second time was more rewarding, my perseverance paid off. The experience taught me a lot about myself and interacting with different personalities, which will help me in the long run with my career. I walked away with great friendships, some I now consider sisters.
Q5. Now that the local pageant is over, what strategies will you employ to ensure that you are successful at the international level?
I will continue to be genuine and relatable. Most importantly live in the moment and remember I was blessed with this opportunity to represent my country. I plan to showcase the many facets of Jamaica and let the world see the beauty of Jamaica through me.
Q6. Imagine yourself being one of the final two (2) girls standing at Miss Universe 2012, and the announcer says “Miss Universe 2012 is…drum rolls…Miss Jamaica”. How do you think you would react?
Hmmm. Well knowing me I might be the first Miss Universe to do a back flip. (giggles)
Q7. Describe your style
It depends on the occasion. My personal everyday style is Bohemian chic / stylish chic. I dress according to my mood.
Q8. What are your fashion must-haves?
Confidence and unique accessories. Accessories can really pull an ensemble together, while having fun with fashion. When it comes to accessories, I invest in core pieces – like shoes and handbags.
Q9. How do you stay focused and block out negativity?
I believe and look to someone greater than myself. I use the negative as motivation. I practice the power of positive thinking and that really helps. I believe what we put out in the universe we get back. I am just naturally a really optimistic person and look for the best in people.
Q10.Tell your fans something about yourself that we might find intriguing?
I can be very silly and lively and I always try to have a good time. I am most happy when others around me are having a good time. I have a thirst for knowledge and enjoy learning new things and having new experiences.
Q11.Are there any charities you support?
Yes, to name a few : Jamaica AIDS Support for life, The Delcena McKenzie Foundation, a charity for children who have lost a parent to cancer. I am also in the process of finalizing my foundation, Sunshine Youth, a charity dedicated to youth empowerment.
Q12.What is your philosophy?
I have a few.
Live life, respect yourself, respect others and always believe in someone greater than yourself.
“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness, and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone” – Audrey Hepburn
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying” – Michael Jordan
“People without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots” – Marcus Garvey
Q 13. In 10 years, where do you see yourself?
I see myself established in my career, having a positive impact on my community and in a loving and supportive marriage raising my family and setting goals for the next ten years.
Q14.What is your message to Jamaica as we celebrate 50 years as an independent nation?
The 50th year anniversary is a time to reflect on how far we have come and where we are going. It’s important that we as Jamaicans support each other in a spirit of unity. Remember the same fundamental teachings taught to us by our elders and continue the responsibility we have to teach our youth. There are many opportunities available to those who are seeking to contribute to the development of our nation. I urge you embark on a mission of nation-building, as we look towards Vision 2030. We can all play a part. We can start with things such as contributing to your favorite Jamaican charity.
Q15.When you leave this world, how would you like to be remembered?
I would love to be remembered as someone who made a difference and was a positive force. Someone who helped to make the world a better place. I want to be remembered as a strong-willed individual with a passion for bettering myself and others. I want to be seen as an inspiration to other women, especially women from rural Jamaica, that we can overcome obstacles regardless of the twists and turns of life.
Pictures owned by Ryan Lue-Clarke.