Cocktails with - Chantal Zaky
Twenty-four-year-old Chantal Zaky is still on cloud nine, and rightly so, after copping the Miss Universe Jamaica crown on her second attempt. The Portland-born beauty, who will try to do one better than Yendi Phillipp's runner-up status two years ago, shares her strategy for victory, who she would love to do lunch with and when she last shed some serious tears.
What's the feeling like being crowned Miss Universe Jamaica after entering a second time?
It feels good. It's a good reminder that if you can dream it, you can achieve it.
Do you feel any particular pressure to do well in the international competition after having reigning Miss Universe Leila Lopes at the coronation show?
Yes, there is some pressure but my family and support team make it easier. I continue to count on that support. Meeting Leila has inspired me for the international competition. I hope she was my lucky charm.
Can you share the strategy you'll be using to wow the judges and contestants at the Miss Universe pageant in December?
My strategy is to exercise the power of positive thinking. I will do everything to make Jamaica the brightest star in the universe and shine. I want the judges and contestants to get the opportunity to know the real Chantal Zaky and judge me based on that. At least that way I can say I was true to myself.
Is there a favourite beauty pageant winner you can point to as an idol?
I salute all our queens. I am blessed to be a part of a family with some of our former beauty queens. I have enjoyed their stories and I am humbled to now be going through the same experiences they had.
What's your own beauty regime?
I'm very holistic when it comes to my beauty regime. I follow the beauty secrets learnt from my grandmother. I nourish my skin with our natural Jamaican products like aloe. I also use shea butter. I believe in drinking a lot of water, eating plenty of fruits and getting a lot of rest is key.
Jeans or a LBD?
I'm a big fan of a LBD. It never fails me even if I put on a little weight.
Do you prefer stilettos or flats?
Style is important but comfort is a must, so I would go with a stylish pair of flats.
Who does your nails?
Face Place takes great care of nails.
Who does your hair?
Roxanne at Roxanne's hair salon.
What's your must-have accessory?
Confidence and glowing skin is a must-have accessory. I can't forget a pair of fabulous sunglasses.
What is the most surprising thing someone could discover about you?
My sense of humour and that I enjoy watching basketball.
When last did you have a good laugh?
This morning, I was watching Coming to America and I couldn't stop laughing. It's a classic movie and I'm a sucker for comedies.
When last did you shed some serious tears?
Some time before the competition I was feeling overwhelmed and stressed and just let out a nice cry. A wise woman once told me crying cleanses your soul, so let's just say I had a serious soul cleansing.
Is there a special someone in your life at the moment?
Yes, two persons actually — my nephew and niece. They had my heart from the first time they said 'Hello'.
Who gave you the best piece of advice you've ever gotten and what was it?
I have received lots of advice and they have all impressed and impacted me deeply. If I had to choose two though, they would be from my grandmother -- "Live by the Golden Rule" and "Your belief will become your reality".
Do you think beauty pageants get an unfair rap for being vacuous vanity exercises?
Yes, I believe they get an unfair rap. It's a plateau from which a lot of opportunities can come. If used properly, the stage can be used to benefit the country and yourself.
If you had the opportunity to share a lunch date with anyone to pick their brain, who would it be and why?
I would love to have lunch with Alicia Keys. Her music inspires me. I would love to know what inspires her. I admire her ability to touch so many lives; she seems to have such a loving personality.
Where do you go when you need to escape it all?
I escape to Portland; I go back to my roots and enjoy its botanical beauty. I go there to centre my thoughts and remind myself of those same dreams I discovered when I was a young girl.
Who do you call up when you want to vent or share your intimate secrets with?
My older sister, or I have a little talk with my creator.
Where will Chantal Zaky be 10 years from now?
I pray to be a successful entrepreneur and hopefully in a loving, supportive relationship and setting goals for the next 10 years.