Monday, October 3, 2011

2011 Meet the Misses v.24 - Miss Northern Ireland 2011

Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the northeast of the island of Ireland, Northern Ireland consists of six of the nine counties of the Irish province of Ulster. It was created as a distinct division of the United Kingdom on 1921. For over 50 years it had its own devolved government and parliament but it were abolished in 1973. Repeated attempts to restore self-government finally resulted in the establishment of the Northern Ireland Executive and Northern Ireland Assembly in 1998. Northern Ireland was for many years the site of ethno-political conflicts which was caused by divisions between nationalists, who are predominantly Roman Catholic, and unionists, who are predominantly Protestant. Northern Ireland was covered by an ice sheet for most of the last ice age, the legacy of which can be seen in the extensive coverage of drumlins. The centerpiece of Northern Ireland's geography is Lough Neagh, the largest freshwater lake both on the island of Ireland and in the British Isles. Northern Ireland's volcanic activity formed the eerily geometric pillars of the Giant's Causeway on the north Antrim coast.  The valley of the River Lagan is dominated by Belfast, whose metropolitan area includes over a third of the population of Northern Ireland, with heavy urbanization and industrialization along the Lagan Valley and both shores of Belfast Lough. The whole of Northern Ireland has a temperate maritime climate, rather wetter in the west than the east, although cloud cover is persistent across the region. Northern Ireland debuted in Miss World 2000 and placed thrice in the semifinals. This year, the beautiful Finola Guinnane, Miss Northern Ireland 2011, will be one of the host contestants at the 61st Miss World pageant.

The Times of Beauty proudly presents Finola Guinnane, Miss Northern Ireland 2011, in an exclusive interview for our interview series, Meet the Misses.

1. Give us an introduction of yourself.
My name is Finola Guinnane and I am the current Miss Northern Ireland 2011. I'm 22 years of age and was born and live in Belfast, my country’s capital city. I was crowned Miss Northern Ireland 2011 on Monday 13th of June 2011 and have put the final year of my business studies degree on hold to concentrate fully on my new role. After completing four A-levels I spent a gap year traveling around Europe experiencing different cultures and meeting different people. This experience helped cement my dream of becoming a teacher and I plan to return to my studies when my reign is over and dream of becoming an inspirational teacher to help young teenagers realize their potential. Music is a passion of mine and I have been a member of the Ulster Youth Orchestra playing the trumpet and the French horn. Since winning a national Specsavers modelling competition I have modeled part time to fund my studies both on the catwalk and off at Belfast Fashion Week and also I have fronted nationwide billboard campaigns. I have been passionate about fund raising for The Northern Ireland Hospice for many years and I'm delighted to announce this is my chosen charity and I will continue to do all I can to help this local charity care for local people.

2. Tell us a bit more about your country and hometown.
Northern Ireland is a country which is made up of six counties and has a population of 1.7 million. It is a country steeped in historical and cultural diversity and is renowned for its friendly people and natural beauty such as Northern Ireland's most popular tourist attraction the Giants Causeway, a magnificent, mysterious geological formation on the North East coast of Co Antrim steeped in myth and legend.
Belfast is Northern Ireland's capital city and my home town, it is a city brimming with choice and is fast becoming one of the most popular city break destinations in Europe as it offers the buzz and vibrancy of a capital city whilst being a gateway to the rural retreat of Northern Ireland. The extensive regeneration of Belfast particularly in recent years has seen it develop into a cosmopolitan city that is rich in Edwardian and Victorian architecture with dynamic and innovative structures such as Victoria Square shopping complex and the signature Titanic project.

3. What does it mean to you to represent your country at the 61st Miss World finals?
I think for anyone to have the opportunity to represent their country is a tremendous honor and I’m sure any of the Miss World finalists would concur with that sentiment. For me, it’s more than I ever could have dreamed of. The Miss World finals are the embodiment of what is pure and positive in competition and brings together capable and dedicated young women who are ambassadors for their respective countries. I am extremely proud to be from Northern Ireland and to represent Northern Ireland is a monumental accolade for me, and it is the epitome of my years of hard work, motivation, self belief and perseverance, and it is an opportunity I will be eternally grateful for.

4. If you have to choose a song to describe yourself, which would you choose and why?
A song I would choose to describe myself is When You Believe by Whitney Houston is a song about dreams and believing in yourself. If you believe in yourself and utilize your talents you can achieve your dreams and make them a reality. I would describe myself as a dreamer and a very determined positive person who would do anything to realize my dreams.

5. How would you describe a typical day in your life?
The beautiful thing about my life since winning the title of Miss Northern Ireland 2011 is that there has been no typical day in my life, every day is different. Since the beginning of my reign just over a month ago I have been involved in many interviews and appearances for local press and magazines, many photo-shoots and PR activities however the highlight of my time so far as Miss Northern Ireland has been working with my chosen charity The Northern Ireland hospice and the opportunity to help raise funds for this amazing establishment which helps support adults, and children with time limiting and life threatening illnesses. I am very excited to see what the next months has in store with the highlight being my trip to the 61st Miss World final in London.

6. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
10 years from now I hope to be happy, healthy and content with a successful career as a teacher, settled with my own house and considering starting my own family. I hope to still be fund raising for my chosen charity the Northern Ireland Hospice with links still with the Miss Northern Ireland Contest.

7. Which well known person from your country do you most admire and why?
Northern Ireland has had many inspirational and award winning sports men and women, Nobel peace prize winners and celebrities but the well-known person I most admire from Northern Ireland is young golf sensation Rory McIlroy. Rory is a 22 year old young man from Northern Ireland known world-wide for his golf triumphs including winning the US Open this year. I admire his talent, self belief, focus and dedication to his sport and his talents but I most admire him for using his fame to help his role as ambassador for the charity UNICEF Ireland and for his fundraising efforts and frequent visits to Haiti. He has demonstrated that although he is a major champion he is a humble human being who wants to contribute to a better world.

8. If you had to choose any other country to live in, which one would you choose and why?
If I had to choose any other country to live in I would choose Indonesia. The disaster in 2004, with the earthquake and the tsunami, there were so many people dead with widespread destruction and the way the people had to begin the process of rebuilding their lives, the coming together of the global community to support them and how they helped rebuild it was truly inspirational and a testament to what people are capable of, even at the worst of times.
It's a country that’s not without its problems but filled with a lot of good people who want to resolve their issues and move on, and in that respect draws many parallels with Northern Ireland. Indonesia motto is “unity in diversity" - it’s so succinct and so fitting. If a country’s reputation rests on its people then Indonesia is a country I admire.

9. After the Sendai Earthquake, nuclear energy has become a focus of attention. Are you in favor or against the use of this kind of energy as a way to reduce the dependence on oil?
The Sendai earthquake was a tragedy that shocked the world. It was devastating to see the destruction of lives and property and it will take people a long time to rebuild their lives after what has happened.
While the benefits of nuclear energy such as the near total absence of carbon emissions have been espoused by many in the scientific community for years, I think nuclear fission is too dangerous. Even though there is a lot of work being done to improve safety at nuclear reactors, the risk to human lives is too great. Apart from the inherent risks associated with a situation at a nuclear plant, you also have the problems of the storage of radioactive waste, spent fuel rods, who might have access to radioactive materials: the problems are numerous and could have disastrous consequences.
I think the focus should be put on the research and development of sustainable and renewable energy resources. There is valuable work being carried out to harness things like solar and wind energy and hydroelectricity. It’s laudable that so many people are striving for improvement in that field, if the oil from chip shop fryers can be recycled into biodiesel, who knows what can be achieved?

10. What do you think is the worst kind of human injustice or prejudice happening now?
There are a lot of injustices and prejudices that cause suffering throughout the world, but the accelerating rate of human trafficking is deeply disturbing, 27 million people live in slavery, half are children. So many people, particularly women and children, are having their freedom taken away and are effectively being imprisoned and exploited. They are bought and sold like commodities on a global scale reminiscent of the slave trade which is what they become. They are kept in horrible conditions and are forced into a life of unimaginable horror.

11. What are your duties as Miss Northern Ireland?
My duties as Miss Northern Ireland all center on being an ambassador for my country. As a role model for girls and women in Northern Ireland I lead a healthy and happy life style with great emphasis on education, opportunities and achieving your goals. I am a charity ambassador for the Northern Ireland hospice to help raise vital funds to keep this service operating. My duties as Miss Northern Ireland also include opening of venues, working with the press and in fashion and importantly to proudly represent Northern Ireland on a global scale at Miss World.

12. What role can social media (ex. Facebook, Twitter, etc) play in the life of a beauty pageant titleholder?
As an avid user of social media I believe that if used correctly social media can play a positive role in the life of a beauty pageant titleholder. When you are in the spotlight people are interested in you as a person and the activities you carry out. Social media enables people to feel more connected to someone in the spotlight, and it is advantageous to a title holder like myself to be able to interact with people on a more human level, albeit via internet, on a daily basis it is a really useful conduit.
It does have a more important role however, especially for young people. The life that they want maybe doesn’t seem so distant to them, whether it’s an aspiring model, performer or politician they realize that they can relate to the titleholder and prove to be a real motivation for some people.

13. What does it mean to be a human being?
Life is a precious gift and essentially I think it’s about contributing to a better society while treating people as you’d like to be treated yourself. It’s about the individual pursuit of happiness within the parameters of how your actions affect others. Compassion, forgiveness and altruism are all desirable qualities in humans, but they’re much easier to advocate than implement. That is a challenge and being a human being is all about the challenges we encounter and how we strive to overcome them.

14. What do you feel is your purpose in life?
I feel my purpose in life is to make a contribution to my society, my country and in turn the world.

15. Share a message to your supporters and readers of The Times of Beauty.
I would firstly like to thank the readers of the Times of Beauty for taking the time to read my interview and to send a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me and who has helped make my dreams of becoming Miss Northern Ireland a reality. I have been over whelmed by the support I have received and I wouldn’t be talking to the Times of Beauty or going in front of the 61st Miss World judges to represent my county if it wasn’t for the support I have received. I am honored and delighted to be Miss Northern Ireland 2011 and I aim to be a great ambassador for Northern Ireland and make the people of my country proud at Miss World 2011 in London.

and finally...
Personal Motto: Live, laugh and love.
Personal Goal: To become a teacher.
Personal Dream Destination: The Maldives
Favorite Food: Apple Soda Farl
Favorite Color: Red
Favorite Song: I will always love you by Whitney Houston
Favorite Movie: Heartbreak Kid
Favorite Book: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S Lewis
Favorite Singer/Band: Snow Patrol
Favorite Actor/Actress: Liam Neeson
Favorite Hobby: Canoeing
Favorite Sport: Tennis

Alison Campbell, National Director of Miss World in Northern Ireland
Joleen McKee
, Alison Campbell Models Bookings
Finola Guinanne, Miss Northern Ireland 2011

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