Winning the Miss Universe Pageant in Bangkok, Thailand in 1992, Michelle became an instant celebrity and the pride of her beloved home country. Having gained independence from South Africa just two years prior, Namibia was southern Africa’s hidden gem boasting a unique heritage, stunning landscape and rich cultural diversity — and Michelle became its natural ambassador to the world.
Throughout her reign, Michelle was blessed to have participated in events honoring Namibia’s revered founding President, H.E. Dr. Sam Nujoma, who is an esteemed patron of the Michelle McLean Children Trust, as well as other notable dignitaries such as former South African president, the late Nelson Mandela, and the Archbishop Emeritus, The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu. During her extensive travels, she also rubbed shoulders with the world’s rich and famous including entertainers such as Elton John, Natalie Cole, Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor; Prince Albert of Monaco; 007’s Roger Moore; designer, Roberto Cavalli, astronaut, Neil Armstrong; billionaire and future US president, Donald Trump; and model and future Italian First Lady, Carla Bruni.
Having traveled the world and made countless television appearances, Michelle developed a deep understanding of the global appeal and positive economic impact hosting a major, primetime television event enjoyed, particularly one that celebrated the beauty and cultures of so many vibrant and accomplished young women. To that end, Michelle was instrumental in helping the government of Namibia secure the rights to televise the Miss Universe Pageant in 1995 – an event that garnered an 18% increase in tourism to her home country.