Beauty starts from the inside and works its way out – Belisa
Stylish and beautiful model, Nashaira Belisa has evolved from being a beauty Queen to a top-notch philanthropist. Her Foundation based in Curacao and Columbia seeks to address the everyday challenges women are faced with. In this interview with IFEOMA OKEKE, she speaks on her foray into fashion, her charity works and other issues. Excerpts:
What is your first memory of fashion, beauty and the world of style?
I would always love to walk on my mom’s high heels and play with her makeup, next thing I remember is my mom registering me at a modeling agency at the age of 4. That’s how it all started
Before now, many considered beauty queens as airheads with no ambition. As a well accomplished woman, how does it feel to be more than just about beauty?
Somewhere between jean sizes and makeup palettes, the definition of what it means to be beautiful seems to have been overtaken by physical and materialistic standards. Beauty might be in the eyes of the beholder, but it’s not entirely about aesthetics. Beauty starts from the inside and works its way out, meaning the more beauty you internalise, the more beautiful you’ll feel in your skin, your clothes, and the more confidence will radiate from a simple flash of your smile. There’s no one lipstick shade or little black dress you can throw on that’ll automatically make you feel beauty. It’s more than that. Personally, I feel my absolute best and most beautiful — both mentally and physically — on days when every creative juice inside my body is flowing. It typically starts with a workout that pushes my body to its limits, followed by a nice warm shower and a good book.
Then later, when I set my pen to paper and the ideas pour onto the pages, forming a string of words that sound as good as they feel, to me, that’s beauty. Those are the kinds of days when I look in the mirror, and the person reflecting back at me feels beautiful.
I’m glad I have the opportunity to enlighten some of the viewers, that beauty queens are just more than airheads. Unfortunately, this has been a wrong notion and the time to clear the air is now.
A lot of these beauty queens have been through a lot before and after the pageant, some have gone ahead and made names for themselves, some have built empires, careers, families, businesses etc. To stand on the stage to speak and represent one’s country is a whole lot. There is a lot involved in the selection process and if one makes a mistake at any stage of the pageantry, it means one isn’t ready to represent one’s country and if one gets as far as the big 4 pageant, any mistake made is to tarnish not just the person’s image but the country’s image as well.
The pageant industry can be quite competitive, what is your personal recipe for success?
Enthusiasm: Choose a career which you love not just the one which makes you the most money.
Time: Don’t take on so many projects that you end up rushing or abandoning most of them.
Energy: Giving yourself the down time that you need to relax and re-energise.
Support: Look for a conference or other event that relates to your goal – you’ll get a real buzz from a focused period of time spent in the company of others who share your dreams and ambitions.
Tell us about your Foundation and all your other exploits focused on women and mothers?
So, I launched my Foundation in 2013 in Curaçao and Colombia. The idea of providing aid to women and mothers started when I saw the need for it. What I mean with this is that I’ve seen so many women actually become superheros. Mothers, sisters, hard workers, trying to have a personal life, students and to be fair it’s not easy. The help is needed and the opportunity for me to provide it presented itself
If not pageantry, modelling or all that you currently do, what would you love to do?
That would be philanthropy; otherwise, I’ll be involved in some other type of business full time. I am a fan of developing things/projects and to be involved with community at the same time. To be involved with the community and to be able to add value to the society is definitely the goal.
When did you come to Nigeria?
I arrived in Nigeria in March and started pitching my project. Six months later it is becoming a reality.
Have you experienced beauty pageants in Nigeria; what was it like?
Because of Miss Universe and Miss World, I have experienced and understood pageantry around the world, including Nigeria since I did meet and get close to your beauty ambassadors and at the moment the company I started required me to do more research as well. Trust me, you will find me at the front row of these next events coming up
One of your focused outreaches involves single mothers. What draws you to the cause of women and single mothers when there are several things to be passionate about all around the world?
So I launched my Foundation in 2013 in Curaçao and Colombia. The idea of providing aid to women and mothers started when I saw the need for it. What I mean with this is that I’ve seen so many women actually become superheros. Mothers, sisters, hard workers, trying to have a personal life, students and to be fair it’s not easy. The help is needed and the opportunity for me to provide it presented itself.
If you could turn back time; what would you do differently?
I feel like wisdom and life lessons from our parents should be taken more serious. These powerful life experiences should be taken as a gift and are meant to our lives easier but as a young person we tend to do and or follow whatever we think best meanwhile we could actually save ourselves some heartache.
Which of the titles or awards you have won means the most to you?
When I won Teen Princess of the World in Dominican Republic, it was an honor to have represented my island and have won even though Curaçao is a small island. I must say it was shown that we are a hidden treasure.
What’s the next exploit for you?
I will mention my current journey which I know will take the next two years of my life to launch properly which is Pageant House. A mother company that is involved with 7 business models but my personal main focus is TV production, e-commerce and advisory.
Any plans to extend your foundation to Nigeria?
In fact, Pageant House Foundation has started work and is already involved in some projects. We have been involved in a water project. We have had the privilege to share with some communities and orphanage homes and look forward for further project with more NGOs, orphanages, and communities. We intend to reach out to so many and hope to work with notable organisations in Nigeria.
What’s the most amazing thing about being a beauty queen?
To be able to access women all around the world and to be able to impact women positively. Obviously, the fact that I got to feel like a princess and the combination of it is just amazing.