Last week, we had Holly Allen, Miss Wyoming - USA 2012. Indeed, many were inspired on her advices. This week, you'll get to know a lady who speaks of great knowledge. She is Nathalie Den Dekker. She has won the Miss Tourism International crown and just this year, she became part of the Top 15 in the 2012 Miss World. Get to know her better in this week's "Pageant Vixen Talks." Take note that this interview was done before she flew from Netherlands for Miss World 2012.
UBC: What's the life of Nathalie before winning Miss Tourism International?
Nathalie: I grew up on a mushroom farm in a small village in the south of Netherlands called ‘Made’, only 40 minutes driving from Antwerp, Belgium. I feel blessed with 2 loving parents, an elder sister, a younger sister and a brother who is 10 years younger than me. My grandma used to come in 2 days a week to take care of us. We are a close family.
Besides working very hard on my study (I managed to graduate last august for my Masters of Law at the University of Utrecht with GPA 4.0, in two different directions being just 22 years old), I have worked for 5 rewarding years in homecare, taking care of Mrs. Sosef who couldn’t walk anymore since her 18th because of a rare illness. She was captured in a bed for 55 years!! Sadly she passed away last year.
UBC: How do people describe Nathalie?
Nathalie: They will probably describe me as a friendly, social, positive and committed person with a lot of discipline. Someone who likes to be prepared and dares to dream big. If I want something I am prepared to work very hard to realize my goals.
UBC: What decided you to join pageants?
Nathalie: On one hand I can say that I was a real ‘girlie girl’ and like many other young girls I always dreamed of being a princess, on the other hand I see pageants as a great opportunity for young woman to travel the world and to meet so many people from different countries. You can learn about other countries and their cultures, but you certainly lean about yourself as well and helps you to develop as a person. It can open many doors, like you could have never imagined.
Any pageant truly is a great experience, a complete different world compared to our daily life routines. You have the chance to be a worldwide ambassador for your country, which I think is a great honour.
UBC: How do you prepare for pageants?
Nathalie: Currently I am in a full-time preparatory by the Miss Netherlands organization and an international team. I have a personal trainer Niels de Wildt, Farouk systems makes sure my hair looks great and Hannah is taking care of my skin. Furthermore I got media training, performance coaching, shoots and catwalk training. The designer for my final gown will be announced soon. I am lucky with such a great team to support me, but you need to be willing to work hard yourself as well and give your best efforts. Being an ambassador for your country is a big responsibility and it gives you the opportunity to really make a difference in the world.
UBC: How do you balance time for family towards pageant life?
Nathalie: It’s truly a responsible and busy job to be Miss Netherlands, however it is important to take good care of yourself and your loved ones. You simply need to make time for friends and family. Be there for them like they are there to support you. Luckily it’s easy to stay in touch through all the modern media, but for me I need to be able to embrace them in person! Therefore I make sure I go home to my family at least every other week. Their love gives me strength and energy. I hope that will make me shine during the finals of Miss World, since my family will travel all the way to Inner Mongolia to be there with me at this important moment in my life.
UBC: Winning Miss World Netherlands, how did it changed your life?
Nathalie: I am very honored to represent The Netherlands at Miss World 2012. It’s a dream coming true. I have put everything in my life on hold so I can fully focus on my preparations. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I want to make the best out of it! Very few girls get such a beautiful chance to travel the world and to make friends from so many different countries. I will go for it 200%, give my best and hope make the impossible possible…! I want to make my country and fans proud.
UBC: What goal/s are you reaching aside from winning the Miss World crown?
Nathalie: My future ambition is to work as a family lawyer and to gain enough work experience to work at the infant welfare centre. I hope to be able to combine my profession with a promotion at the University of Utrecht which I need to become one of the few female professors at Dutch Universities. There are lots of beautiful women but little on top positions!
UBC: What makes you say that you are "Beauty With A Purpose?"
Nathalie: I have a my heart on the right place, as they would say it in my country. As Miss World Netherlands I am involved in goodwill and charity activities. For my own project, I am organizing a run for the Free a Girl foundation. The foundation strives after a world in which children are no longer the victims of human trafficking and sexual abuse. Priority are projects aimed at preventing and combating child prostitution. My heart goes out to children who cannot stand up for themselves and as Miss World Netherlands I hope to be able to assist the disadvantaged in our society.
Furthermore, I am very committed and ambitious and I transfer my dreams into goals to make them come true. I always give my best efforts and believe everyone should have enough courage to pursue their dreams.
UBC: As a beauty queen, what are your advocacy?
Nathalie: (1) For woman it is important to realize there is no glass ceiling. There are no barriers limiting career opportunities for woman. With preparation, a lot of ambition, hard work and learning from failure every one can reach the top. This is what I have learnt from professor Van Oostrom (University of Utrecht).
(2) We should be more respectful towards each other and put our best efforts in understanding one another. I have personal experience in this field; when I was young I was squinting (the consequence of an accident). I needed to paste a plaster on one of my eyes every day for a couple of hours. I got bullied a lot by the ‘older children’. On top of that the teachers thought I wasn’t smart because I was looking silly. I even got downgraded. To correct my eyes, I had to undergo 3 dangerous surgeries of which 2 failed. The third one was successful. I hope I can be a role model for everyone who experienced similar difficulties. Don’t let anyone bring you down. Believe in yourself.
(3) It is too easy to say that the financial system must change. We are indeed in a dip in Europe but there are many new opportunities in the world. That goes for support with aid to other countries, and then I am talking about real help not just give money; in my opinion it’s better in to invest in knowledge in poorer countries so that they can be self supporting.
One of the biggest challenges we are facing in the world is the food supply. We are going to 9 billion people on the earth and the food supply is getting under pressure. A world food shortage is a bigger threat than lack of energy and water. What we should do is support local agricultural organizations in developing countries with knowledge and money to stimulate local production, not just subsidizing exports to these countries.
The unrest in certain countries was not a desire for democracy or a matter of faith, but the immediate cause was a massive rise in food prices, partly caused by speculators, that caused immediate problems for civilians. As an ambassador of Miss World, we can A) make future problems more visible and B) use our influence to stimulate sustainable local food production. Furthermore, we can use the giant knowledge in our respective countries and combine our wisdom for greater effect.
UBC: How will you treasure this experience?
Nathalie: This experience is my treasure because it lies within me; it is a part of who I am today.
UBC: Will we see Nathalie in other pageants?
Nathalie: My dream is to become the next Miss World! I am fully focusing on that dream right now.
UBC: Beauty Tip to All.
Nathalie: Take good care of yourself; rest, exercise, eat healthy and drink a lot of water.
UBC: Message to your fans.
Nathalie: Thank you for your support! It means a lot to me and gives me confidence, positivity and energy. I am going to do my best to make you all proud! xoxo
Universal Beauty Council wishes Nathalie Den Dekker all the best! We want say thank you to Miss Kim Kotter, her national director for allowing us to be given this chance to have an interview with her, we also want to thank her for sending us pictures for this interview! Tune in to our "Pageant Vixen Talks" next week!