The world is an amazing place. You just never know who you’re going to meet and why…
Here’s a photograph of our very first meeting – Michelle, a fresh-faced, young girl from the wilds of Africa registering at the 1992 Miss Universe Pageant in Bangkok, Thailand with me, a slightly older(!) girl from the Kansas prairie, working her way up the international marketing ladder for the Miss Universe Organization.
Spoiler alert! Michelle won the Miss Universe Pageant that year and went on to travel the world as a goodwill ambassador for her home country of Namibia, meeting celebrities and appearing on behalf of sponsors and charities and making lifelong friends all along the way. She and I had the opportunity to travel together a few times, once to the United Nations in New York City where the late Nelson Mandela and Zambia’s then-president, Frederick Chiluba, were being honored; to Puerto Rico for the Miss Puerto Rico Pageant; and to London for the World Travel Expo on behalf of Air Namibia. We even had the opportunity to stay in the fabulous Plaza Hotel and take in some sightseeing in Central Park, Puerto Rico’s Old San Juan and London’s Piccadilly Circus with Michelle’s sweet Dad, Athol. Such wonderful memories!
Fast forward two continents and 25 years! Thanks to the advent of social media, Michelle and I were able to reconnect — each of us had married, managed a successful career and had raised one precious son. Michelle, who had continued her modeling career and philanthropy work for the Michelle McLean Children Trust and had recently moved to Miami, Florida where she and her husband, Gary Bailey, a former goalie for Manchester United and England, were building a corporate speaking business. And I, after several years with the Miss Universe Organization, had formed my own marketing consulting business and eventually opened the tulle + dye shoppe, a boutique for designer evening gowns and partywear.
As a sponsor of the Global Beauty Awards, the tulle + dye shoppe nominated Michelle for the prestigious “Best Titleholder Award,” which she went on to win at the gala event in Seattle, Washington in 2018. It was there, that we formulated the plan to create the Business of Beauty, a company that would shine a light on the positive aspects of pageantry and help to create career longevity for young women working in the beauty industry. It is our desire to share the wonderful experiences that beauty pageants brought to our lives and to encourage other young women to gain the confidence necessary to achieve their dreams.
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