Sunday, October 9, 2011

2011 Meet the Misses v.38 - Miss Mundo Colombia 2011

Colombia is a modern nation, with an infrastructure that takes advantage of its natural resources and human capital. Thanks to its privileged location on the continent, all the environments of the tropics are present: beaches, plains, rainforests, and deserts. Situated in the northwest corner of South America, Colombia is the only country in the region with coasts on both the Caribbean and Pacific Ocean, with a continental area of 1,141,748 square kilometers. The Caribbean region extends for 1,600 km along the northern coast. It comprises the desert on the peninsula of La Guajira; mountains covered by rainforest and perennial snow that form the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the swamps and plains in the departments of Magdalena, Cesar and Sucre; bays with white sandy beaches such as the Gulf of Morrosquillo; jungles in the Gulf of Uraba, and a dazzling view of the Caribbean. The archipelago of Rosario and San Bernardo and the archipelago of San Andres and Old Providence are located offshore in the Caribbean Sea. The longest mountain range in the world, the Andes enters Colombia in the south of the country, where it divides into two. In the Colombian Massif it separates into three mountain chains that cross Colombia from south to north and create a rugged terrain, expansive highland plains, deep canyons and broad valleys. Stretching for 1,300 km the Pacific coast is one of the wettest regions on Earth. The northern part, where the hills of Baudó sink into the ocean forming bays and sounds, is a jungle region of great biodiversity. The flatter south is bordered by cliffs and beaches lined with mangrove and crossed by wide rivers. The Orinoquia region, which extends as far as the river Orinoco on the border with Venezuela, is an extensive plain that spreads out eastwards, its savannas spotted with scrub and riverain forests. The Serrania de La Macarena rises in the southwest, a formation independent of the Andes and endowed with an immense biodiversity, in which natural elements of the Andes, the Amazon and the Orinoquia merge. Of the 6.8 million square kilometers of jungle that make up the Amazon basin, 400,000 square kilometers belong to Colombia. This immense region, considered the lung of the Earth and one of the largest genetic banks of animal and vegetable species, is inhabited by numerous Indian communities who continue to preserve their ancestral way of life. Colombia debuted in Miss World in 1963. Five representatives finished in second place but no Colombian have won the crown. Mónica Andrea Restrepo Villamil, Miss Mundo Colombia 2011, will try to become Colombia's first Miss World in London.

The Times of Beauty proudly presents Mónica Andrea Restrepo Villamil, Miss Mundo Colombia 2011, in an exclusive interview for our interview series, Meet the Misses.

1. Give us an introduction of yourself.
I am a happy, extroverted, perfectionist and sensible woman. As a latina, I love music, dancing and the food of my country. I am an animal lover and I love the environment. Currently I have six cats and two adopted dogs that were taken from the streets. I work as a volunteer in animal sterilization campaigns and also work in finding homes to rescued animals. I am an excellent sportswoman. As a child and adolescent I was a swimmer in the local league in Bogota. I received several medals and trophies. The most important was finishing second in the 200m swimming breaststroke national finals. I am in my sixth semester in art and psychology at the Los Andes University in Bogota. I think both careers are very helpful for children in the middle of national conflicts because it has been discovered that art therapy is a wonderful technique for children to express their fears and leave behind painful memories so they can have a better quality of life.

2. Tell us a bit more about your country and hometown.
I proudly come from the most beautiful country in the world, Colombia. A marvelous and hospitable land with a great diversity of climates, nature and species. My country is known for its privileged geographical location with the ocean by a mountain chain, an unspoiled forest considered as one of the most important natural reserves in the planet, a beautiful desert and rivers. Colombia is among the countries with the world largest natural reserves, in addition to wonderful creatures such as pink dolphins in the Amazon. We have the greatest diversity of birds in the world. We have fifty million hectares of natural forests, constituting 10% of global biodiversity. We are the second highest natural diversity of the world after Brazil, but the most diverse in proportion to its size.
My hometown Bogota is the capital of Colombia, known aptly as the Athens of South America. It is a spectacular metropolis where culture, study and work, are central to the lives of its inhabitants. It has more than fifty universities, more than 13,000 schools, technology centers, among others. It also carries the Iberoamerican Theater Festival that aims for culture and entertainment of the citizens and Colombians in general. Bogota has more than fifty museums, where you can learn our history and highlights, as well as a large number of galleries, where renowned international and national artists, exhibit their work.

3. What does it mean to you to represent your country at the 61st Miss World finals?
I am proud and happy to carry the name of Colombia at the oldest and largest event of beauty in the world where being beautiful has a specific purpose of improving the quality of life of children and women. I think it is a very important opportunity for the whole world to know my country, its beauty, its people, its passion. Colombia is a country that has recognized its errors and has been able to fight them, because they want to be seen as it really deserves, as the beautiful country it is. It is also wonderful to be in London, home of the contest, where you can share with representatives from 120 countries around the world and know their cultures and people through each of them.

4. If you have to choose a song to describe yourself, which would you choose and why?
I definitely identify with El amor es más fuerte by Tango Feroz. I believe that love is the force that moves the world and I am passionate about this wonderful feeling. Love everything you give without expecting anything in return, if you love you respect, tolerate, educate and feel very happy. If we can make love stronger than many interests, there would be no suffering. We would have a healthy, solidarious and peaceful world. Ultimately if love is the strongest thing of all, our world would be better.

5. How would you describe a typical day in your life?
A typical day in my life before my reign as a 21 year-old college student that love sports, her family and pets was as follows. I get up very early because I take my two dogs for a walk before going to study. Usually I start school at 8 am, but I arrive before 7 am to college to go to the gym. I take classes until 5 in the afternoon, which in addition include visiting museums and art galleries. During the day I share with my boyfriend who is my classmate. I return early to my home to work on the issue of animal protection through social networks, especially Facebook. As my career is very practical, I work at night to paint and prepare deliveries must do to fulfill my academics requirements. I live with my mom and we always try to eat together and talk about what happened to each one in our day, before going to sleep.

6. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
I see myself working on a gallery or museum as a curator or director and also as a fine artist. I see myself working with child victims of violence in my country because I believe that only when we can get our children out of these situations of pain, we become better human beings and therefore have a more just and peaceful world where respect and tolerance are the focus of our lives. I would also like in 10 years to be married with kids but not only biologically but also by adoption, I have always dreamed of having a beautiful home.

7. Which well known person from your country you most admire and why?
I admire General Oscar Naranjo, who was honored as the best cop in the world, for his integrity, dedication and example of personal and family life. I have the fortune that my father and my grandfather were police officers from Colombia, I love the institution. I was raised with the principles, values and discipline of the Colombian police.

8. If you had to choose any other country to live in, which one would you choose and why?
I love Colombia and I am happy living in my country, but I think that every country in the world have many beautiful things to show and learn, so I would be happy to live anywhere I can fulfill my social function, to share with people and learning new things. I am inclined to choose any country in Europe it is the cradle of art and history and I love to live close to all this that I love.

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 earthquake in Japan, was a sad historic event caused by the force of nature and which resulted in considerable destruction. However, despite the drawbacks occurring with nuclear power plants, the disaster left us great lessons in order to have better able to meet the contingencies and strengthen more and more security measures for the production of this kind of energy, which I think brings more advantages than disadvantages. It is a clean and efficient energy, with little area installation produces an important number of kilowatts of power, without affecting the environment by not producing greenhouse gases. The use of oil results in the production of such gases harmful to global warming and life of humans. The Cancun summit held in December 2010, established the importance of reducing CO2 emissions by 2050 at least 80% of 1990 emissions, because global warming is an important theme on the international agenda, which is why it is imperative to search for alternative, clean and efficient types of energy.

10. What do you think is the worst kind of human injustice or prejudice happening now?
There are many injustices in the world, but I think that violence against women is one of the most serious. Violations and abuses that occur every day in every country in the world regardless of their development, demonstrate what kind of society we are forming. We are born of a woman and yet our gender is abused and humiliated, subjected to indiscriminate trafficking. We're still fighting to have equal working conditions. There should be no differences because every day we have demonstrated our strength, the ability to fight for our children, raise families, work and seek a better world. There are cases of women getting raped every day, girls and women getting tricked and sold as "sex slaves", wives abused and even murdered by their husbands in different parts of the world, among other things that happen daily are incredibly aberrant. The day where we managed to be fully respected, loved and treated on an equal footing, we will have a more fair and balanced society.

11. What are your duties as Miss Mundo Colombia?
Working for causes that support the organization. Seeking to obtain resources to improve the quality of life for our children. I am attending charity events, in which my image can motivate assistance and solidarity of people to raise funds that can reach the different projects. I'm also supporting the charitable causes to remove children from drug addiction led by the National Police of Colombia.

12. What role can social media (ex. Facebook, Twitter, etc) play in the life of a beauty pageant titleholder?
The role of social networks is fundamental to any cause or project you want to advance, more when it comes to a public figure, such as a beauty queen in my country. Through them I am in direct contact with many people, who love beauty queens and those who view them in different ways, in this way information is exchanged. I get informed about what members of the group are thinking and I always try to listen the advice of others. Furthermore, through the network I report on my activities as a beauty queen, campaigns and social projects that I am supporting. It is a way to humanize the beauty queen figure that is often seen as different and distant.

13. What does it mean to be a human being?
A human being is the ultimate expression of God's greatness, I'm Catholic and I practice the teachings of my church. I believe that man was made in the image and likeness of God. I believe that we have different lessons in life that make us aware of our weaknesses and strengths. Our rationality allows us to think, but our bodies and our hearts give us the ability to feel and love, that's the perfect formula which means "human being". Sometimes we get away from that truth but there are moments that make us relive what we really are. A few days ago, I watching a documentary commemorating 911, hearing about the survivors, I realized how valuable are human beings, we have the capacity of solidarity, of sacrifice each other and come together as brothers, in painful events like this.

14. What do you feel is your purpose in life?
I have very clear that my purpose in life is to help. For this reason, since my school years I have been involved directly in working in support of the community. Since childhood I have participated in different events where you can donate time or resources to those in need. Every Christmas with my family we do deeds of love with the elderly, children and street people in my country and my surroundings. I always stand with the desire to work in social projects. With my mom, I help stray animals and we fight against animal abuse. We always help each other on this issue. We’ve promoted the issuance of rules to improve the living conditions of animals. Several studies show that those that mistreat animals are potential abuser of children, elderly and women. I struggle to care for our environment and natural resources for your children because without children we have no hope or future. My purpose is to work together with my career as an artist to bring that message to the world through the subjectivity of the works and genres of fine arts to reach the ears and eyes of all in a beautiful and aesthetic way. I can fulfill that purpose as well as a beauty queen.

15. Share a message to your supporters and readers of The Times of Beauty.
The world would be better if each of us work to make it more enjoyable, with respect to the weaker and tolerance to those who think differently. I think it all boils down to a sentence wrote by Lin Yutang, "Live as if he were to die ever, act as if you were to die tomorrow. "

and finally...
Personal Motto: “Helping is very easy” You don’t have to be beauty queen, an entrepreneur, famous, rich or fill a specific profile. Helping not necessarily is providing material things. Listening to someone's problems with love and a smile can change the world.
Personal Goal: Be the first Miss World from Colombia. Finish my studies in art and cultural projects. Work with the social cause of Miss World and continue working on it even after I finish my year of reign.
Personal Dream Destination: I would love to know Greece, the cradle of art, philosophy and knowledge.
Favorite Food: A delicious bandeja paisa and Mexican food.
Favorite Color: Yellow
Favorite Song: Welcome to the Jungle by Guns n Roses.
Favorite Movie: Way of the Warrior
Favorite Book: The Story of Art by Ernst Gombrich. ''Art is what artists do''
Favorite Singer/Band: Guns n Roses
Favorite Actor/Actress: Natalie Portman
Favorite Hobby: Listening to music, going to the movies and hang out with my friends.
Favorite Sport: Swimming. I was the national runner-up in 200 meter breaststroke.

Wilson Ortíz, Press/Media Miss Mundo Colombia
Eng. Edgar Botero
, National Director of Miss World in Colombia
Mónica Andrea Restrepo Villamil
, Miss Mundo Colombia 2011

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