About two year ago my friends signed me up for the miss Belgium competition, about 5 months after they had send my photo with a motivation letter i got an email from the organisation telling me i was invited to the casting day the week after in a nearby hotel in Flanders. At first i was not happy at all that my friends did this, and most importantly that they did this behind my back. But i couldn’t stay mad at them, i know they didn’t meant it in a bad way.
2 weeks later it was the casting day, arriving in the reception of the hotel there was a huge table with names of the invited girls, who was already inside, and who they were still expecting. I went over to the table, i gave my id card and in return i got a number, i was Kelly, number 26 from Schilde, a village right next to Antwerp.
Next thing they made all of us sit around big round tables in the lobby of the hotel, there were 3 big tables just for miss Antwerp, (Note, when entering the miss Belgium competition you automatically have to represent your city first, and if you win either 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place in that competition you’ll be able to go to Miss Belgium). In total there were 78 pre selected girls waiting until they heard their names being called to go inside the room where the jury would interview you with ex mis Belgium’s and members of the press. I didn’t care so much for the whole competition until that moment, that’s when i got very nervous, i saw all of these beautiful girls and i felt honoured they already pre selected me, thinking i could compete with them.
I wore a black pencil skirt with a white short sleeve top and some sexy heels underneath it, my hair was in a bun and i did my lipstick in a bright red shade.
After 2 hours of waiting in the lobby, talking to the other girls it was my turn, i remember thinking, either you get it or you don’t, don’t stress, try staying focused and give great answers to what they’ll be asking you.
I closed my eyes, walked a few steps, and thought, confidence in 1,2,3…. and go!
There i was in front of 3 tables put together with in total 27 people of the jury staring at me, ‘So Kelly, what brought you to enter this competition?,
25 Minutes later i walked out and felt relieved it was over, i had to go back to the lobby and wait for the results.
After another hour a member of the jury came back, and one by one announced the girls that will be participating and right at the end he said…’And last but not least, miss number 26’.
I couldn’t believe it, i didn’t think it was real, until i double checked with the member of the jury, ‘Are you sure you mean me when you said number 29” ‘Of course’ he said, ‘Who else would it be’ and he left, got our contracts, and a agenda page with a detailed list of all the events we had to attend.
I was in between working and studying, when i got the email that we would be having a press conference in 2 months time, everybody from the Belgian press would be there, including celebrities, famous bands and singers, models, famous Belgians…
And we had to perform a catwalk, in both bikini and evening gown, i was starting to become nervous about that, but i kept thinking to myself ‘I can do this’.
The day arrived of the press conference, i was excited and nervous at the same time, i already done many catwalks and photoshoots in the past so i was more excited to know what it would be like this time on a stage like this, in one of the biggest and most famous nightclubs of Flanders. One by one they called us on stage, and we had to say our name and number and which province we came from in front of a huge crowd, all of the miss Antwerp girls had agreed that when one of us entered the stage we would crazy enthusiastic about each other, we got mixed with the different provinces, and we were able to stand in front of the stage every time a girl from Antwerp came on stage to cheer and clap for her. By the end of the evening the 32 girls from Antwerp became really close friends, we became one of the closest groups in the competition.
When it was time for the actual election night, 2 months later, we sort of all knew who was going to win, we had heard about the pre elections and we knew already who managed to enter the top 5, in between the press conference and the election i went to Australia, which made my chances to enter the top 5 pretty slim, because i had missed on a variety of pubic events in those two months which is was normally supposed to attend.
Before the election we had 3 days to rehearse our dance on stage, how to enter the catwalk one by one after each other, it wasn’t difficult but it was hard to get all of the girls including 2 other provinces who were having their elections at the same time on stage all together, doing the dance we had to do, and knowing when to walk on stage.
I did not particularly like it so much, i preferred the modelling industry a lot more, because i felt like it was more honest, and it also left more room for imagination, i loved posing as a model but in the miss competition i wasn’t allowed to pose like a mode, i had to pose like a miss, which is so much harder.
In the end, i was very happy it was over, i don’t regret participating, i’m honoured and glad that i’ve been able to participated, i met a lot of new people during that time. And i’ve made a lot of new friendships as well.
But would i do it again?, No. but i’m very glad i did it once in my life, and i thank the organisation for giving me the opportunity.
It also taught me a lot about myself, and i got some really beautiful friendships out of it, and until this very day when i see my ribbon, saying ‘candidate of miss Antwerp for miss Belgium 2016’ I feel proud that i’ve done it.