Former Miss Namibia and Miss Universe, Michelle Mclean- Bailey, is more than just a beauty queen, and she has proven it.
It has been several long and glorious years for Michelle Mclean-Bailey since the pageants, but the 1991’ Miss Namibia hasn’t let her renowned good looks go to her picture-perfect head.
She managed to be a role model to many Namibian models who want to invest in marketing their beauty. Not only is she a beautiful face, but she is also a businesswoman who has managed to give back to the community after winning the Miss Universe crown in 1992.
Mclean has kept her promise of giving back to the community and now has a children trust fund called ‘Michelle McLean Children Trust’ where she employs 27 people and takes in 900 students. The fund focuses on the education and care of under-privileged children.
Her modeling career began when she was fourteen years old. Mclean attended St Georges Diocesan Primary School and then went on to Centaurus High School, while at the same time modeling in Europe and South Africa. She then combined Grade 11 and 12 into one year and graduated from Boston House College in Cape Town at the age of sixteen. Afterwards, she went on to fulfill her modeling contracts in Europe.
Mclean says, “I realised after winning the coveted titles, first Miss Namibia, then Miss Universe, what a wonderful platform I had as a global ambassador to do something that could benefit the children of Namibia. I’m extremely grateful for all the wonderful experiences I have been given and the privilege of being an advocate for Namibia’s children.”
Mclean admits that, ”Winning the title of Miss Namibia 1991 and Miss Universe 1992 gave me an opportunity to travel around the world meeting famous celebrities and powerful leaders like our beloved Founding Father, Dr Sam Nujoma, Patron of the MMCT. I was fortunate to be able to utilise this platform and international visibility to not only raise funds for charities around the world, but to establish my foundation for education in Namibia.”
No matter the challenges, Mclean never gave up. She says, “It is always incredibly difficult to raise funds for nonprofit organizations, especially in the last few years during the world economic crises. We are very proud to say though, that with the support of the business community, individuals and the Namibian Government, we were able to continue to provide support to the children and communities throughout Namibia with our many diverse projects.”
Mclean is currently working on a book which will be published in 2016, with the aim of adding value to women’s lives, in understanding how women can best deal with the pressures of beauty in the modern world.
She admits that being a businesswoman and a wife is not easy, but she tries her utmost to not get caught up with work and ignore her private life. She says, “I try to live in the moment as much as possible. So much energy and time is wasted by living in the past and worrying about the future. We need to plan for the future and cherish memories from the past but the present moment is all we really have. In Neal Donald Walsch’s words, I strive to be the greatest version of the grandest vision that I ever held about myself, in everything that I do.”
Mclean also mentioned that over 20 years since winning her title, Miss Namibia still holds the same value. She believes that beauty pageants are about shedding light on iconic women to be role models for women. During an age without social media, these women were ambassadors not only for their countries or states, but also for women’s rights.
“In my opinion, the opportunities beauty pageants afford women have become even more powerful in society today. With social media highlighting issues around the world, title holders who represent their state or country can use their platform to accomplish a great deal,” she says.
Mclean sees herself in the next five years as becoming one of the leading motivational speakers, together with her husband Gary, on the topic of ‘Businesses and Individuals succeeding Under Pressure.’ Her dream is to be able to add value to people’s lives across the globe every day.
Mclean-Bailey would also like to encourage all the young dreamers in Namibia to believe in their dreams. She says, “Surround yourself with the women that you admire, who can be a role model and mentor for your goals and vision in life. Acknowledge them for their wisdom and guidance, and in any business, including the modelling and entertainment business, always seek the best legal and financial advice.”