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Jaylynn Cruz set to represent Gibraltar in Miss Grand pageant

Photos by Johnny Bugeja

By Neve Clinton
Miss Gibraltar 2022 1st Princess Jaylynn Cruz will be representing Gibraltar at the Miss Grand International pageant in Vietnam this October 4 to 25.

She hopes to represent Gibraltar by showcasing how unique and special it is, while celebrating the Rock as a melting pot of different cultures and religions.

“Although we are small, we are mighty,” she said.

Ms Cruz said her pageant experience has been a whirlwind, which she has juggled with her career as a teacher.

“This whole year has been challenging but exciting at the same time,” she said.

The journey has been one of personal growth and finding the confidence to be authentic in a tight-knit community, while also using the platform to have an influence in Gibraltar, by working with charities and holding in-house coffee mornings, which she feels very proud of.

Miss Cruz said she is looking forward to a new experience, meeting contestants from all over the globe and especially interacting with those from Latin countries as she is excited to speak both English and Spanish.

She added that preparation for the pageant has been thorough and she has been training both physically and mentally.

She described how that a lot of inner work and personal growth goes into pageantry, as well as catwalk practice and interview practice.

She has also put time into learning phrases in Vietnamese and Thai as Miss Grand International is a Thai company, and has read up on the culture of Vietnam, including its food, traditions and history, as well as recapping on the history of Gibraltar.

In terms of the questions asked at this pageant, Ms Cruz said she has to be prepared to provide either a quick interview explaining a little bit about herself or a 20-minute interview where she would have to divulge her dreams, aspirations and what she stands for.

“That’s the one thing about pageants, you really have to unpick who you are and your identity, because if you are not authentic, you are just another one,” she said.

She added it is important be “the best version of yourself”.

“You have to really know who you are and who you stand for…you have to be ready for people to unpick that and have clear answers,” she said.

The contestants have been getting to know each other on an online groupchat, which she feels has created an atmosphere of support rather than competition, adding that she finds speaking to the ‘Latinas’ comforting and appreciates being able to build a rapport with them.

“We’re all hyping each other up on our photos and it’s nice… I feel quite comforted, I don’t feel as intimidated as I thought I would,” she said.

The various rounds of the pageant include swimsuit, sportswear and national costume competitions, with Miss Cruz most excited for the national costume round as her dress is being made by local designer Poonam Punjabi Rupani whose design is distinct from the traditional national costume.

This year, Miss Grand International is spreading the message of ‘Stop the War and Violence’ so contestants are expected to give a speech on this topic, whether it be personal, local or global, with Miss Cruz highlighting that, in Gibraltar, we have a lot of history with war, so she is currently navigating how she is going to speak on this.

“People are really eager to celebrate sports and invest money in sports and the arts, and I know that pageantry is sometimes left behind, but it is an art and just like any other art it needs financial investment,” she said.

She is currently looking for sponsors who can contact her via email:

For more updates follow Miss Cruz on Instagram @J.ay.lynn

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