I think one great tip is that you should always love yourself. If you don't love yourself, take care of yourself, cater to yourself and that little inner voice, you will really not be very worthy of being with someone else, because you won't be the best version of you. ~Kimora Lee Simmons

The gorgeous Nicky Opheij, who'll be competing for the crown of Miss Universe 2017 later this year, has been modeling for three years now. She won the Hollands Next TopModel Contest in 2014. While she was doing this she always had to lose weight and centimeters - "I was unhappy and not self-confident at all. This was not who I really am. It's important to eat (and be) healthy but the most importantly is to be happy with yourself" - she explained.

Modeling and being in front of the camera is what she loves to do. But it was not healthy for her at a highfashion level - "I reconsidered highfashion modelling because of that. I think top commercial modelling suits me and my personality better!"

This year during the Miss Netherlands adventure she has learned to be happy with herself and to be confident with herself - "Being confident with my feminine curves and the opportunity to show my personality are the two most important things I missed during modeling. Together with the Miss Netherlands experts and psychologists I’m here to love myself and my body. Now I can be a good rolemodel for those young girls and kickstart my top commercial modelling career."

I had the opportunity to interview the beautiful Nicky a few weeks before the prestigious Miss Universe Contest - Did you know ? Holland has won Miss Universe one time; it was in 1989 with Angela Visser.

The country debuted at Miss World and Miss Universe in 1956. The national beauty pageant was called "Miss Holland" from 1950 until 1990, since that year the winner competed at the Miss Universe, while runners-up traditionally competed at the Miss World and Miss International.

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Miss Belgium 2018 will be crowned on January 13, 2018 at Plopsa Theater de Panne. The winner will have the opportunity to represent her country at Miss World 2018 while her first runner-up will go at Miss Universe 2018.

The winner of Miss Belgium 2018 will succeed the reigning Miss World 2017 Romanie Schotte from West Flanders.

Below is the list of the beautiful 30 contenders of Miss Belgium 2018 :

Alexia Coussement  Britany Thiry  Gaëlle Debruyne  Didem Celebi  Aloysi Desnouck   Caroline Delforge   Jasmien Mollekens  Julia Griffi  Lotte Vanlingen  Kimberley Hallaert  Hélène Frederiks Thiers  Olivia Simmons  Judy Van de Vyver  Els Salvé  Angeline Flor Pua  Daphné Fanon  Laura Smeyers  Cassi Bellavia  Xenia Goysens  Giovanna Verolla  Justine Willemse  Zoe Brunet  Emilie Van Ooteghem  Barbara Bierlier  Alycia Vandenabeele  Laurianne Delestinne  Dhenia Covens  Shakila Allahyar  Vanille Seurs  Magali Hadji

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Are beauty pageants feminist or sexist? This has long been a topic of debate. Seeing as Miss Universe is THE highest point of the beauty pageant industry, one can imagine the excitement sweeping when the season arrives. 

Being Miss Universe is also a full-time job. You have to travel the world for charity work (it’s not all glitz and glamour despite how it sounds), educate yourself about other countries’ culture and customs, and raise awareness for many issues. Basically a woman is not less feminist simply because she voluntarily delights in pageants, and to shame her for it is actually perpetuating misogyny. If you police a woman’s choice to express her bodily autonomy on a stage because YOU don’t think that fits your definition of feminism, then that’s not feminist.

The gorgeous Sophia Koch, who'll be representing Germany in Miss Universe 2017, thinks that Miss Universe is here to empower women - "It shows that behind a beautiful face is also a strong character and personality that can achieve all the goals a women dreams of. I think that people who see pageants as they are degrading women just see the requirements that we have to dress up nicely in evening gowns and that we also do our hair and makeup but besides that we show by answering questions and giving interviews that our words and the messages we are spreading to the world have a big value and important content" - she explained.

Sophia was born in Halle. She is a Social Studies and German Literature student at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg. She loves ballet dancing and speaks 4 languages; German, English, French and Spanish.

I had the opportunity to interview the beautiful Sophia a few days before her departure for the Miss Universe Pageant. Check it below!

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She will represent Great Britain at the 2017 Miss Universe Pageant in Las Vegas. The gorgeous Anna Burdzy is a law graduate and is set to obtain her Masters degree in human rights law. In the future she hopes to work for the prestigious United Nations and open her own charity - "I strongly believe that you have two hands; one to help yourself and one to help others and as my chosen career path is Human Rights Law, I feel it is so important to be kind and make as much of a difference to those less fortunate than ourselves as possible" - she explained. 

As Miss Universe she hopes to be able to use her platform to make a change on a global level rather than just in her closer community. 

Anna grew up watching Miss Universe as a kid because her mom used to watch it - “I’ve always been aware (about Miss Universe) but I just thought it was an impossible dream like it could never happen to me. I always look up to the other girls but I finally did it” 

Did you know ? Great Britain has never won the Miss Universe crown before. The closest it could reach was in the year 2013, when Amy Willerton secured the Top 10 spot at Miss Universe 2013 pageant. This year Anna will try her best to grab the first ever crown of Miss Universe for Great Britain. Check out my interview with her below!

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The feeling of being Irish and patriotic always comes on strongest around St Patrick’s Day. To see a day being celebrated all over the world just for Ireland is really quite exciting and moving to see. Irish people, it can be agreed, have one thing in common… they all love to talk about being Irish. So what does it exactly mean ? Cailín Áine Ní Toibín, who'll be competing for the crown of Miss Universe 2017 later this year, always wanted to be a representative of her country & her people and give them a voice on an international platform -  "Ireland is passionate about supporting people who embody our culture and what it means to be Irish. Ireland is a beautiful country full of genuine people, we are a nation built on being a peaceful arbiter for many years back as far as time can tell." she explained

The beauty queen wants to promote Ireland to the world in a way that it excites them to come and expand their knowledge on how they live in her country. 

Cailín Áine Ní Toibín loves that Miss Universe is a pageant that celebrates women of all nationalities, colours and ethnicities - "These women are driven to discuss topical issues such as mental health which is the platform that I have chosen to be an advocate for as it is a topic that has been a part of my life since I was born, in Ireland it is a topic that is shadowed over because of our religious background and I hope to bring that to the forefront this year and de stigmatise mental health here in Ireland and abroad."

I had the opportunity to interview the beautiful Cailín Áine Ní Toibín on her preparation for the next Miss Universe Pageant. Check it below!

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