Beauty with a purpose

Soledad Bescós interviews the Mallorcan-by-choice Miss World Spain winner 2017

Eli – as her close friends and family call her – will represent Spain in the next edition of Miss World. Mallorcan by choice, she was born in Córdoba (Argentina) and has Murcian origins. She has lived on the island for 12 years, is 1,80 m tall, and does not have a boyfriend. Eli trained as a dancer at the Carmen Roche and Víctor Ullate school in Madrid, studies drama, and would like somehow to combine it with the world of fashion.

She defines herself as a perfectionist, resolute, strong-willed, a tireless worker, empathic and positive, despite having suffered gender-related violence herself. “I got through it thanks to the support of my family. I have a close relationship with the Anabella Foundation, which helps abused women and channels the negative energy of victimisation towards positive improvement and the empowerment of women,” she says.

To be amongst the seven finalists, Eli competed with 52 “misses” participating in a contest that consisted of seven tests: sports, talent, multimedia, top model, swimsuit, regional costume, and a social project. She won the test of sport, which is certainly one of her major passions. Maybe that’s why one of her dreams is to create a line of sportswear.

Now she will participate in the Miss World 2017 contest, which has existed since 1951 when Eric Morley organized it for the first time in Great Britain. So far, Spain has had only one female winner, the Catalan Mireia Lalaguna crowned in 2015, and one male, Juan Garcia from Málaga, who won Mr World in 2017.

Strangely enough, Eli had never thought about this type of competition until two people from the Balearic organization stopped her on the street and proposed it to her. “I was quite reluctant, until they told me that there was a social purpose behind it all. I was motivated by the possibility to be able to support the cause of gender violence.” With watery eyes she adds:

“It’s something I have very internalised, I know what it is like to go through this kind of situation and how difficult it is to recognize that you are in there and leave. That’s why many women don’t dare to report it. I am a very committed person, responsible and, above all, I am a fighter – all qualities that I believe can help me both in the Miss World contest and in my social project that I want to defend in the contest and beyond,” she explains.

Her initial idea of moving to Madrid to continue her studies has been suspended. Since winning her first title of Miss Illes Balears, her day-to-day life consists of an intense preparation that includes classes in English, catwalk, public speaking, make-up, hairdressing, advice on her image and shopping, meetings, choice of fabrics, and costume rehearsals with the designers – as well as training sessions to take care of her physique.

All this would help her a lot in the fashion world, since she has already been an Angel Schlesser model and loves the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week runway in Madrid. However, for the moment she will have to concentrate on how to face the jury. “I intend to speak from the heart before the members of the jury, showing them the essence of myself and trying to transmit that I am a courageous woman who deeply believes in, and defends, the empowerment of women in today’s society, bearing in mind the value that is given to them in different cultures of the world. I am extremely proud to represent Spain’s name outside our borders, and I am enthusiastic about and feel connected to the values which Miss World defends. Winning is my goal and I want to bring Spain the second world crown,” she declares emphatically.

Certainly, an example of maturity which shows that the situations that put us to the test and take us out of our comfort zone are those that allow us to grow and learn more about ourselves.

Photos by José Urbano