Our special guest is a young lady who won the national titleholder thanks to her graceful Lebanese beauty, elegance, and style. When she appeared on stage for the first time, back in July of 2011 at the Miss Lebanon finale, she looked confident, fierce, and ready to take it all by storm. The controversy that surrounded her victory later, was almost baseless, because if you look back at the other candidates, you could tell she was the only one with the necessary qualifications for such a title. She was the one with the best body, best performance, and best attitude; her smile that lights up a room, spoke volume about her. She has been extensively involved in charity work for a year, and she dedicated her time and energy to make a positive change within our environment. She had the honor to represent Lebanon at the 2 most prestigious pageants, Miss Universe and Miss World, where she gave the world the best image of her beloved country Lebanon. It is Miss Lebanon 2011, Yara Khoury-Mikhael, a 20 year-old ambitious Theater student, with many dreams on the horizon.
We wanted to share this special interview with you now, at the end of our interviews season. Enjoy it, give your rating.
Lebanese Beauty Press: Hello and welcome Yara, it’s our pleasure to have you here! – If you were not a Miss Lebanon 2011 candidate, whom would you have chosen to win instead? Which contestant? and why?
Yara Khoury-Mikhael: Thank you! Well, all the candidates were very different, and each one of them had a special asset that would have been great for the title, but if I have to choose, I would pick Geva Eid, a very classy, simple and down-to-earth girl, and I believe these are the most important qualities every beauty queen should have.
LBP: You were attacked a lot by the press, but you resisted and continued on strongly in your reign. What or who helped you to overcome this?
YKM: I’m a very optimistic person, I believe in positive energy. I believe everyone can control their happiness based on how they wish to see and judge their life. I always surround myself with positive, simple, driven and kind-hearted people who always give me the “boost” I need. I thank God everyday for what he had given me, I’m very grateful. And I believe attacking, hating and criticizing people does not necessarily bring them down.
LBP: You said you have had a lot of support from non-Lebanese people more than the Lebanese people. Do you think the Lebanese people are more exigent in beauty than other people? Are they hard to please?
YKM: I am very thankful as I’m one of the rare Misses Lebanon who got that much support from foreigners and from Lebanese people living abroad. However, I can’t forget my fans here in Lebanon, who were also very encouraging and supportive. On the other hand, I think there isn’t enough media coverage for these competitions, so if you’re not interested in these pageants, you will never know about them. In Latin America, pageants are a huge thing because they like festivity, that’s why they are more supportive, and up to date with activities of beauty queens from around the world.
LBP: You were one of the most elegant delegates in both Miss Universe and Miss World, and you were one of the few Misses Lebanon who took seriously these international pageants (since you did all your best and performed excellently there), don’t you find it unfair you haven’t received any special awards, let alone you haven’t placed?
YKM: Well, it is unfair on one hand when you meet all these girls that are representing their countries amazingly. However, these international competitions focus on other things too, such as politics and the amount of money the candidates raise for their respective charities.
LBP: Were there some Miss Universe or Miss World semi-finalists that you found less qualified than you to advance to the finals?
YKM: In these competitions you don’t really focus on winning, you focus more on leaving a good impression on other candidates, the judges and the organizers. Your main goal is your image as an ambassador for your country, because at the end we are all already winners and we got the title we wanted. International contests experience is just an extra gift.
LBP: Some people prefer Miss Universe and others prefer Miss World. Which one do you think is better based on your experience in both competitions?
YKM: Both of them are unforgettable experiences, but I personally prefer Miss Universe, because we could be more in touch with the international media, and it was much easier to send our message across.
LBP: When you pass on the crown to your successor, will you breathe a sigh of relief, or regret?
YKM: A sigh of relief, because I will be a part of another girl’s dream. And because I know that one day my successor will live the same moments I’ve lived which I can relate to, so I will be able to guide her well and help her as much as possible. Another sigh of relief because my journey has just begun, I still have bigger dreams to achieve.
LBP: You were the first Miss Lebanon to support Lebanese Beauty Press and we will always be grateful for that. What do you think of it? What other events and areas you think we should highlight?
YKM: It is a great site and I will support it non-stop. It’s good to have websites that bring the latest on these competitions and the Miss Lebanon activities and coverage of international competitions. It’s very supportive, and it gives everybody the chance to stay up to date with our activities.
LBP: What are some of your upcoming plans and how are you keeping up with all the charities?
YKM: Since day one, I have been working non-stop with children from orphans to children with disabilities, and children with cancer and heart diseases. Also with ‘Jeunesse Anti-Drogue’ to raise awareness against drugs in universities all around Lebanon. I have also organized touristic tours once a month, for cultural discovery with children from different organizations.
LBP: Will you stay in touch with your fans on Facebook and Twitter after your reign is over or will you become less active and more busy with your studies?
YKM: I’m already very busy with my studies, and my activities as Miss Lebanon, however, I try to stay as active as possible, and to reply to all my supporters and keep them up to date with my activities through Twitter and Facebook.
LBP: Questions requiring short answers:
LBP: Describe yourself in three words.
YKM: A positive thinker with an obsession with food and fashion.
LBP: If I take a look inside your refrigerator, what would I find?
YKM: Lebanese food and wine.
LBP: On a scale of 1 to 10 how happy are you right now?
LBP: A smart well-educated but poor husband versus a very wealthy husband. Who would you choose?
YKM: A well-educated but poor husband, because he would be rich in so many other ways. This may sound like a cliché, but education is the only thing we can never lose.
LBP: If you had the opportunity to represent Lebanon again in another international pageant, would you go for it? If so, what would you do different to stand out?
YKM: Miss Universe, because I think I’m more ready now to represent my country as I gained a lot of experience after this year, but I don’t believe I will stand out more, because I’m very happy with the results I got.
LBP: Thank you very much, and good luck in your future endeavors.
YKM: Thank you for this nice interview.
Yara’s official FB page: http://www.facebook.com/misslebanon2011
Photo credits: Colette Tabet; “Exposure”
Research & interview: Ali Harb
A special thanks to Yara’s manager, Mrs. Nanette Ziade, LBC