A rockingly good Miss Gibraltar Pageant
FIRST MUM, NOW MICHELLE IS MISS GIBRALTAR 2011by Alice Mascarenhas
“It is absolutely incredible. It means the world to me,” cried a very happy newly crowned Miss Gibraltar 2011 Michelle Gillingwater Pedersen, still hesitating to find the words and overwhelmed by the breath taking moment she had just experienced. Winning the title, she said, was like a dream come true.
In the audience her mum, a former Miss Gibraltar herself, Louise Gillingwater Pedersen, who won the title 29 years ago in 1982, cried with joy. Proud her daughter will now wear the crown for a whole year just as she did, Louise told the Chronicle: “It was so nerve racking, now I know what my mother went through all those years ago. She is absolutely gorgeous, but they are all beautiful girls. I am so proud of her,” she cried looking at her daughter. They are only the second mother and daughter to have achieved this in the history of the pageant which began in 1959. The first were Grace Torres (Valverde 1966) and her daughter Michelle (1992).
The new Miss Gibraltar, 23 years of age and a Private Bank Clerk who speaks English, Danish and Spanish, crowned by Larissa Dalli will now represent us in London at The Miss World in the autumn.
Runner Up and 1st Princess was 23 year old secondary school teacher Jessica Baldachino. 2nd Princess was 24 year old primary school teacher Chantal Canepa.
Best Chronicle Interview was won by Kirsty Victory who also took Miss Catwalk. Miss Photogenic was Gianna Robba, and Miss Friendship was Rubaina Pincho.
Judges consisted of a former Miss England and the current Mr England, Laura Coleman (2008) and Vaughan Bailey (2010), Sky News at 10 presenter Stephen Dixon, and Modelling Agents Sissy Best and Aidan Jean Marie. They all loved the friendliness of Gibraltar and its strong sense of community, and want to return.
Stephen Dixon told the Chronicle it was the hardest job he had ever had to do. All the contestants were sensational and deserved a prize. The show as a whole he said was simply amazing... “the best night out one can imagine”.
The show was a successful spectacular from start to finish. It was punchy, upbeat, slick, stylish and entertaining, where everyone from the 10 contestants, to former Miss Gibraltar’s, presenters, singers, dancers, magicians and acrobats, gave of their very best to present one of the best Miss Gibraltar pageants ever, and without a shadow of doubt Christian Santos’ best pageant production to date. This was his fourth combining both local and international elements which worked like a treat proving a rockingly good pageant where X Factor contestant Jamie Archer had for the first time in its history (I believe) the entire Miss Gibraltar audience (Ministers and Mayor alike) on their feet! This was a feelgood factor show with an emphasis once again on girl power... and where the influences of the female popstar in music and fashion came to the fore.
The set blended exceptionally well into the natural setting of the Alameda Open Air Theatre. The strong mix of fuscia with black, silver and white, worked as the perfect backdrop to the show as a whole, highlighting all performances, the wonderful outfits and costumes, well reinforced by the show’s lighting design.
LOCALTop of the show (unfortunately there were still too many people standing) was eye-catching filled with magic, acrobatics and dance - Faster Than, Showdance Company, and Kristall Zirkus – with the complicated cycle well executed to reveal at its conclusion Miss Gibraltar 2010 Larissa Dali. How did they do it?
Presented by TV and Radio personalities Jonathan Scott and Paul Grant, one should not underestimate the slickness and quick successive prompting from these two young men who work together so well, and so positively threaded the show together with the help of former Miss Gibraltars Krystal Robba, and Ornella Serra (Costa) and Larissa Dalli. I certainly hope they will be called upon to do more in future. I especially liked the way in which the interviews were conducted this year with the groupings and with such ease allowing the contestants to feel very confident. The Chronicle Interview is chosen after the show interviews and the chats in front of the judges on the Friday morning the day before the show. Once again a tough decision.
Like every year the show offered a variety of routines including the bathing suit parade and the evening wear parade which is always one of the most anticipated sections of the show.
Dance was down to a minimum in this year’s show but all three local groups showed their strengths and made their mark - Showdance Company at the top of the show, later the Gibraltar Academy of Dance accompanying Michelle Daniels in a beautifully classical Shirely Bassey favourite ‘This Is My Life’, and the powerful performance of Christian Santos and Femme Force dancers with ‘Poison’, also joined by the contestants who delivered in all their routines.
One of the highlights of the show was at the top of part two when the strong and commanding voices from the Santos Production Academy presented one of Queen’s better known songs ‘Somebody to Love’. The choir was faultless and delightfully accomplished, as shown by the audience reaction.
INTERNATIONALThen it was time for the international elements of the show from X Factor contestants Katie Waissel and Jamie Archer – who in very different ways, instantly reached the audience. And if they had had fun and enjoyed it so far they were in for more. Each sang three songs that X Factor fans would have associated with them. Katie’s distinctive vocal approach filled the open-air auditorium and when joined by young Leon on stage in the Jungle Book, gave him a moment he will treasure forever, performing with charm (feeling at home and taking off her high heeled shoes) and willingly sharing the stage. Jamie ‘Afro’gave us the chance of a world exclusive presenting his new single ‘Insanity’ with his band Archer later this year, and rocking the theatre to its feet with ‘Living on a Prayer’. His energy and magnetism won the audience of all ages who allowed themselves to be guided through his entire performance.
At the end of the night the prizes were presented by Culture Minister Edwin Reyes. It was good to see some familiar faces, former Miss Gibraltars and staff members involved with the show over the years, in the audience. They, as did everyone else, certainly had a good night out.