With just three applicants, there was some concern as to whether one of the Rock’s most widely anticipated annual events would take place at all. But the show must go on, and it did. We catch up with the lovely ladies after the event to see how it felt in the eye of the storm.

STAR FARRUGIA, 22, Receptionist

What encouraged you to apply for Miss Gibraltar?

I had heard a lot from past contestants and past winners and their varying experiences sounded like a lot of fun and like it could be a worthwhile experience for me. My friends and family have always tried to encourage me to join and I finally agreed with them. It seemed like it would be a great opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and try something new.

How has the process been?

The process has been a very interesting one. I have had great opportunities to meet new people and to get to know them better than before. At times it was tiring and difficult, but it was all worth it in the end as all of our hard work really paid off. We learned a lot from Charlene and Christian and we would not have been able to go through this process without them. We were constantly encouraged and inspired by them to be the best versions of ourselves that we could be and I will always be grateful for their support during this whole process.

How were other people’s reactions?

Before I entered, some people were wary of my participation, but those worries quickly disappeared. My family and friends have been constantly supportive of my decision and were always quick to encourage me. This support continued throughout the weeks of preparation and when the big night finally arrived, they were all extremely excited and happy to sit in the audience and cheer me on. It is wonderful to know how much they love and support me and I am so thankful to have had them all there to celebrate. Now that the show is over, they continue to be by my side cheering me on and they are extremely excited to see where this year takes me.

How did you feel during and after the show?

During the show I felt a little nervous, but above all I was very excited. Fashion is a big part of my life and I was honoured to be able to wear two stunning creations by Charlene Figueras and Paul Perez. Every aspect of the show was riveting. Being able to model in our national costume was something I’d always hoped to be able to do and I am very much looking forward to wearing it again at the Miss World Pageant, representing our beautiful Gibraltar. My feelings after the show were all sorts of excitement. I was incredibly surprised to have won and it was very overwhelming at first, since it had not completely sunk in yet. However, my feelings quickly turned into extreme happiness and pride at having achieved this honour. The celebrations after the show were amazing and to share them with all of my loved ones was the perfect ending to the night’s event.

What are your plans going forward?

The most basic plan going forward is to represent Gibraltar in the best way I possibly can. A top priority of mine is definitely to try my utmost to serve my community with selflessness and make a real change. I’d like to inspire our people to be the best versions of themselves and to really love themselves as they are and I think that living up to those expectations for myself will be a helpful example to them that if I can do it, so can they. I think that preparing for the Miss World pageant this year will be a great way to grow even more in my self-confidence and I plan to try my best to make all of you, and myself, proud.

Anything else you’d like to add about the experience, from beginning to end?

I would like to thank everyone who has made this possible and for all the support that has been given to us contestants. I am grateful to have gotten to know the other girls more and spend this time with them and I won’t forget about this experience. Thank you.


 

LILLY GOMEZ, 22, Legal Assistant and Kids Party Entertainer

What encouraged you to apply for Miss Gibraltar?

As from a young age I had always dreamt of being in the Miss Gibraltar pageant, I thoroughly enjoy doing pageants and modelling. I have always watched Miss Gibraltar shows and looked up to beauty queens as they have such grace, elegance, confidence and the passion to do amazing things in the world! So that really inspired me to enter. However I wanted to wait for the right time and age to enter. I always listen to my gut feeling and I really felt that this year was the perfect time for me to do so.

How has the process been?

Even though we were not expecting this year’s outcome and the format was different to previous Miss Gibraltar pageants, the experience was just amazing. Being only three us it was easygoing; Jenny, Star and I already knew each other, and we got along so well. I am so glad we decided to stay in the pageant together despite the number of entrants; it takes courage to do that. We had a lot of fun together and it didn’t feel so much like a competition which was a nice feeling.

Rehearsals were a lot of fun, we got to attend the Visual Arts Exhibition, we also got to do the official Miss Gibraltar photo shoot where we were introduced to the makeup artist Nyree Chipolina, who is a lovely, talented lady, and we met the fantastic Mayfair on Main team for the first time, who were our hairstylists throughout. The photos were taken by the Jayden Fa and I am a big fan of his photography. There was also an interview and a little photo shoot in the Alameda for the chronicle, as well as guests on the Hub where we got to speak to Louis and Kelly Anne, chatting about this year’s pageant and the experience that comes along with it. I was also included in a radio interview with Radio Gibraltar, both of which were a pleasure to be a part of.

How were other people’s reactions?

There was a mixture of reactions upon hearing the show was to go ahead. I respected other people’s opinions on Miss Gibraltar and pageants as a whole, but if there is something that you want to do and you’re passionate about it, then go for it. Life is for living and you should plan to make the best of it, and to be honest the reaction of my friends and family mattered to me the most. They were so loving and supportive since the day I entered, and for that I am forever grateful.

How did you feel during and after the show?

Honestly, during the show I was nervous, as this pageant was a huge thing for me. However I was excited more than anything, being on stage was so liberating and I was happy to have modelled in clothes designed and made by well-known fashion designers. I love how the show was planned out for the three of us. It was a small and exclusive event, in a more fashion show style rather than a pageant. Christian Santos has once again organised a fantastic show.

When I won Best Interview I was over the moon, as I was once this shy and reserved girl who was terrified of going on camera and on stage, but that night I felt like a different person. I felt confident and I enjoyed every minute, I am so proud of myself. I am happy that Star won and I wish her a fantastic year ahead. Jenny was great too! Being her first pageant, she did so well.

What are your plans going forward?

Jenny and I will be accompanying Miss Gibraltar on some of her duties throughout the year – I look forward to attending events. I will also be focusing on working towards my journalism degree! I have always had a keen interest in investigative journalism as well as writing and publishing articles, so I hope that I pass my English Literature GCSE in order to proceed to the A level. I also hope to do more kids party entertainment, and to travel a lot this year! In terms of pageants however, who knows?

Anything else you’d like to add about the experience, from beginning to end?

For me the experience changed me so much, in a good way of course! It is thanks to Charlene and Christian. They really motivated me; they advised and helped me so much to believe in myself and to enjoy the journey, which I most definitely have. I had such an amazing time, and I really am going to miss them. So with that I say if anyone is planning on entering, whether they are passionate about modelling/pageants or simply want a confidence boost, then Miss Gibraltar is definitely the perfect system for that. It really brings out the best in you and what you are capable of as a woman. You will learn and grow as a person and the experience is unforgettable. You will make memories that you will cherish forever. Go for it girls! Show Gibraltar what you’ve got!


 

JENNIFER MUÑOZ, 23, Investment Administrator

What encouraged you to apply for Miss Gibraltar?

What encouraged me the most was my sisters and my mother, also my beautiful niece Eryn. Eryn will be turning 1 next week. She was diagnosed with PKU at week 6. I thought that if I’d have won, I would have more followers and I’d raise more awareness for Eryn and other kids out there who need all the support they can get, seeing as I come from a small family and I’m not closely related to anyone in Gibraltar.

How has the process been?

Trying to make time for rehearsals has made me realise I am quite a busy person and it’s been hard to make time coming closer to the pageant date. The process has been stressful to be honest, but without struggle there is no progress. I like a challenge, and I enjoyed taking part in Miss Gibraltar.

How were other people’s reactions?

Everyone was shocked I entered and thought I wouldn’t be suitable in undertaking the title. However, my family and I believed I could do it so I went for it, not caring – or should I say blocking all negativity out of my life. After all this has been a great experience and I’ve learnt a lot. Some advice to girls out there: if you have tattoos like I do, please enter; let’s change people’s perspective on the physical image and let them see that beauty is within, and the body is just our temple.

How did you feel during and after the show?

I felt very nervous, I was shaking all the way, my legs felt like they had a mind of their own and I felt like crying backstage. My favourite part was wearing my evening dress; all I could hear was the crowd behind me saying “Wow!” as I turned around and walked back down towards the other ladies. At this point I lost my balance and my sense of direction but managed to play it cool. I will never forget the whispers from the audience and how happy and good about myself that made me feel. Even now I still get compliments from people who saw pictures on how much my dress was their favourite.

What are your plans going forward?

Well, I didn’t win Miss Gibraltar and I won’t be representing my country in the Miss World but one thing I will be doing is raising money for important causes.

Anything else you’d like to add about the experience, from beginning to end?

I’ll leave this question out and let you beautiful ladies out there tell the story next year!
Jennifer will be raising money for the NSPKU, an organisation that provides support for families with children with PKU, a rare metabolic condition. She will also be donating her hair to the Little Princess Trust on Saturday 28th July 2018 in her continued efforts for charity. To donate, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/jennifer-munoz.