Friday, July 6, 2012

FIJI | 2012 Meet the Misses e.8 - Miss World Fiji 2012

Fiji is one of the few remaining paradises in the planet. Located in the South Pacific, Fiji is comprised by 300 islands some inhabited, some not. White sandy beaches, swaying coconut trees, pristine oceans and waterways are some of the features that appeal travelers from all over the world. The majority of Fiji's islands were formed through volcanic activity started around 150 million years ago. Today, some geothermal activity still occurs on the islands of Vanua Levu and Taveuni. The two most important islands are Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, which account for approximately three-quarters of the total land area of the country. The islands are mountainous, with peaks up to 1,324 meters, and covered with thick tropical forests. The highest point is Mount Tomanivi on Viti Levu. Viti Levu hosts the capital city of Suva, and is home to nearly three quarters of the population. Fiji debuted in Miss World 2004 and eight years later, the archipelago will send their second contestant with Koini Elesi Vakaloloma, Miss World Fiji 2012.

The Times of Beauty proudly presents Koini Elesi Vakaloloma, Miss World Fiji 2012, in an exclusive interview for our interview series, Meet the Misses.

1.    Give us an introduction of yourself, your country and your hometown.
Bula Vinaka! I hail from the beautiful islands of Fiji also known as the 'isles of smiles' that lies in the heart of the South Pacific. I am a product of Nasau, Moce, Lau - with maternal links to Nasilai, Rewa. I was born in the Sugar City of Lautoka and moved to the Fijian Capital of Suva at age 8 to further my education and to be with my parents who were offered care taking roles in the Bahai Faith. I was adopted at birth (biologically of Indian heritage)  by my Fijian parents (Itaukei). I am a Mental Health Ambassador, Child Protection Activist, Humanitarian and Photographer. I enjoy spending time with my friends, family and my pet cat 'coco' and during my free time, I try to visit orphanages such as St Christopher's Home as I am able to relate my experience to my upbringing as a child and to give back to the community namely the under privileged. I also enjoy doing charity community projects such as food drives for the less and unfortunate especially during family occasions like Diwali ( Indian Festival of Lights), Easter and Christmas. I have also found new interest in surfing and hope to take this up as a competitive sport in the future - Fiji is well known for its surfing locations, namely Tavarua Island that hosts World Championships. I am grateful for being the woman and the advocate that I am today for the positive qualities, attributes and virtues instilled in me by my parents.

2.    What are your plans for the future?
In the future I see myself being that advocate in standing up for what 'she' believes in. As a child, I have always dreamed of having a community home to house all ages and also provide a safe environment for neglected and stray animals. I hope to excel grasping the platform of Miss World to further these goals and make them become a reality through my advocacy with Mental Health.

3.    What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of having an identity for being raised by my Itaukei (Fijian) family and embracing the different cultures that I have come to be apart of - French and Indian heritage.

4.    Which activities make you lose track of time?
Talanoa (conversing in traditional Fijian dialect) sessions with my friends and family.

5.    If somebody was describing your personality what would they say?
I am loyal, caring, humble, trustworthy, loving sweetheart, supportive, funny and energetic, spontaneous, down to earth and a very responsible independent young woman.

6.    What is something you know you do differently than the most other people?
I try to encompass everyone as equal because of the uniqueness and specialty that each individual possess. By doing so, I encourage and empower younger generations to use their talents and their potentials to be the best that they can become in life.

7.    Have you done anything memorable lately?

I lost my mother 7 years ago and during Mother's day this year on the 13th of May, I visited my late mother's burial place in my maternal village in Nasilai, Rewa. I also made an effort to visit the graves of my mother's two younger sisters including my grandmother's. And in Fijian customary,  Au lai cara ka lai ubi i bulubulu which means to clean and cover the burial sites and to lay fresh scented flowers on it. That would be the most memorable thing I have done to date.

8.    Which is worse, failing or never trying? Why?
Failing, you can learn to observe with the mistakes you have made and with that you can pick yourself up and to improve on not making them again.
It is worse to 'never trying' as with mistakes made, you grow from. We learn to become a better person in life by making mistakes.

9.    If you could teach anyone anything, what would that be?
Relating to my personal experience in life, I lost the essence of what defines a family - values, trust, responsibility, love, support and care. I would teach individuals the importance of values and virtues that make up a family which help contributes to the well being of a person in guiding them through the struggles in life.

10.    How do you define beauty? How will you prepare for Miss World to achieve your vision of beauty?
The definition of beauty to me is the passion of what an individual can do from the depths of their heart. This includes the passion of giving time to contribute positively to the community including giving to those that are in need such as those less fortunate and under privileged. God created us in his own image to act upon the way that he did to love your neighbors as you love yourself, to give than to receive, to show love, support and compassion for the better of society and through this we can accomplish unity and diversity that includes the equality of both men and women.
It is the obstacles and struggles in life that keeps us strong, motivated and humble and I am preparing my best to make a positive impact to the World regarding issues that affect our island nation and our neighboring island countries. To be an ambassador for Mental Health, to be a child protection champion and to show compassion to the underprivileged. This all encompass my definition of beauty and to adhere to the motto of Miss World's Beauty with a Purpose.

and finally...
Personal Motto: 'Being spontaneous to avoid disappointment' and 'do what makes you happy, be with those that make you smile, laugh as much as you breath and love as long as you live'.
Favorite Food: Chicken Soup with chunky vegetables and 'lovo' (Fijian and traditional food cooked in an earth oven)
Favorite Color: I do not have one, because I believe you can make a color look beautiful and presentable by how you view it. It is not what you wear it but how you wear it.
Favorite Song: I do not have a favorite song but a favorite genre of music that is classical. I enjoy anything that helps the mind to relax and it also soothing.
Favorite Movie: Sound of Music and Underworld
Favorite Book:  A Series of Unfortunate Events (The Bad Beginnings) by Lemony Snicket and Brett Helquist
Favorite Singer/Band: Sade

Andhy Blake, National Director of Miss World in Fiji
Koini Elesi Vakaloloma, Miss World Fiji 2012
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