Monday, 10th June 2013

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Maroua is crowned Miss Gib 2013, all set to carry our multi-cultural flag

“I am excited for the journey I will now take and I can’t wait,” smiled a delighted and thrilled, newly crowned Miss Gibraltar 2013, Maroua Kharbouch.

On a roller coaster ride of emotions, the 22 year old was overwhelmed and at a loss for words, unable to believe what had just happened when moments earlier Jessica Baldachino had passed on the prestigious crown symbolising the start of her reign as Miss Gibraltar 2013. The audience rose to its feet in a standing ovation at the John Mackintosh Hall Theatre, which had proved a fitting venue for the elegant and stylish 51st edition of the pageant.


At the centre Miss Gibraltar 2012, Maroua Kharbouch, (left) 2nd Princess Stacey Britto and (right) runner up and 1st Princess Jamielee Randall.

Maroua, in her first interview with The Gibraltar Chronicle as Miss Gibraltar, admitted: “I just cannot believe it. It is an honour. I am so proud to have been the first Gibraltarian of Moroccan descent to be crowned Miss Gibraltar. I am going to make everyone proud and I can’t wait.”

Almost in disbelief she added: “It has not sunk in yet, I have not seen the crown on my head so there is no proof yet,” as she quickly turned to her sister-contestants stating how she was proud of every one of them too because - “they made the show what it is, I wish we could have all been winners tonight.”

The new Miss Gibraltar says she wants to be absolutely inspirational to the younger generation.

“I want young girls to look up to me and I want to be an extremely good example. I want them to say – look at her, if she can do it, so can I, being Moroccan Gibraltarian, whatever they may be, I feel I can truly inspire them.”

Miss Gibraltar 2013 will represent Gibraltar in the Miss World pageant in Indonesia in September this year.

Runner up and 1st Princess was 21 year old Jamielee Randall who also received the trophy for Miss Photogenic. 2nd Princess was 22 year old Stacey Britto. She also received the award for Miss Catwalk.

In all seven young beauties competed for the title. The Best Interview, presented by The Gibraltar Chronicle, was won by Anne Marie Yeo. The Miss Friendship cup, voted for by all the contestants, was presented to Keshia Doody.

This year’s judges included the reigning Miss England and Miss Great Britain 2010.

The John Mackintosh Hall Theatre was completely transformed into a pageant venue for one night only, with a glittering stage enhanced by some expert lighting.

Produced by Stage One, director and presenter James Neish was keen to point out from the outset that this would be a different show to last year’s without the technical problems – and this time he was prepared, “I have my candle... and keep Rock Masters away” – and the in joke was well received, even if his charming co-presenter, Paula Middlehurst from Sky News, returning to the Rock after 25 years, was none the wiser.

But he needn’t have feared for the show ran smoothly and flowed with magnetism and classiness from beginning to end, with his opening lines “welcome to Gibraltar’s biggest night” proving 100% correct.

Paula and James worked well together in a night which wholly belonged to the seven contestants, who were given the opportunity to shine in the two and half hour spectacular.

This year the interviews were replaced by short presentations from each of the contestants, introducing their chosen charities. This worked extremely well. Short and to the point it revealed a little more about their personalities. And even though the nerves were in abundance, the moment seemed a little less tense and the judges were able to see another side, having already interviewed each of them the previous day.

The show was almost a completely local affair with some of the best young talent around.

Best Interview, presented by the Gibraltar Chronicle, was won by Anne Marie Yeo.

Opening the night was the slick and very popular band, This Side Up, with their charismatic lead singer Simon Dumas – playing live the band rocking right through the night, proved an enormous success, as did the all-inspiring young Chloe Martinez, who just turned 12 yesterday, and filled the auditorium with her incredibly powerful and unique voice with a classic medley of song.

Then there was the enigmatic singer songwriter Hollie Buhagiar who performed a couple of her own compositions and also accompanied the contestants in one of their routines, just like This Side Up. This proved very effective – in the cocktail and evening wear sections - and added an air of magic to the proceedings.

It is reassuring to know that our youngsters can rise to the challenge as did all the dancers who performed on the stage with the singers.

The Gibraltar Academy of Dance accompanied Chloe. Urban Dance joined a lady who rocked the JMH – Maika Barbero from La Voz. Both had lively and chic routines.

The choice of song from Maika went down a treat in the Hall – Heaven (Bryan Adams), Purple Rain (Prince), Viva La Vida (Coldplay) and It’s My Life (Bon Jovi).



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