Interview: Aysel Khaled Opens up About Her Journey in Beauty Pageants

Since the Pharaonic ages, Egyptians have been known for their unique beauty and remarkable elegance. Such facts remained static from the days of crafting on the walls of temples until now, courageously transcending the time factor. Consequently, this blessed us with a genetic singularity for charm, aiding us to top today’s regional and international beauty contests.

Highlighting our young representatives in such competitions entails that we shed some light on Aysel Khaled; Egypt’s winner at the 2016 Miss Asia Pacific and Miss Popular competitions. We caught up with her to know more about her own experience in such competitive contests, as well as the behind-the-scene secrets of the glamorous beauty pageants.

First of all, how were you, as an Egyptian, able to participate in Miss Asia?

“This is, by far, the most frequent question I answer. It’s true that Miss Asia had always been restricted to the Asian boundaries. However, after being paused for ten years, the contest re-launched last year on an international basis. This enabled non-Asians to participate, but the unchanged title raised people’s confusions about the possibility to do so.”

Returning to the beginning, how did you step into this field?

“It all started as a coincidence when I applied in Miss Egypt World in August 2016. I was a top finalist and got crowned as Miss Popular. After that, the founder of Miss Egypt nominated me to participate in Miss Asia Pacific, where I won two titles; Queen of Beauty Academy with a full scholarship, and Best Face in Asia. She also vouched for me to participate in another international contest taking place in India next September.”

Who showed you the most support?

“My parents did. Unlike common beliefs, they were open about the idea of beauty pageants, knowing that they target the beauty of the soul, not the face or the body. My friends also weren’t any less supportive when it came to boosting my morale and voting at the times of competing.”

What obstacles did you encounter?

“Being a Computer Science student, the main issue I faced was to harmonize beauty pageants and my academic studies. Finding this balance wasn’t a piece of cake, due to the preparations these competitions require. My deal with my parents was to quit beauty contests if they negatively affected my grades, and thankfully, last year I brought along several beauty titles and satisfying grades as well.”

What thoughts did you possess regarding such contests prior to participating?

“At first, I only saw them as fashion shows where a few minutes of on-stage performance would do the trick. However, looks can be deceiving. During the two weeks of Miss Asia, we used to sleep at three am, forcibly wake at five am and change up to four outfits daily in full makeup. In addition to that, every aspect of our attitude and appearance was graded and watched at all times, regardless of our weariness and lack of sleep. It was as draining as being a soldier -but in the end, the thrill of winning makes up for anything.”

What exactly do juries look for in Beauty Pageant contestants?

“Naturally, a girl’s way of walking forms the jury’s first impression. Smooth eye contact is also essential, in addition to being our advantage over the poker-faced models. The jury then proceeds to ask their questions, and, based on the contestant’s answers, they wrap up their thoughts about her.”

After crowning with beauty titles, people often expect the winners to be almost flawless at all times. How did you deal with that?

“As a force of habit, Egyptians can never agree over a certain matter. If I went out with makeup on, they’d hate for a beauty queen to not look ‘natural,’ and if I didn’t use any cosmetics they’d say I look pale and dimmed. It’s almost impossible to satisfy the masses, so I just do what pleases me, regardless of those judging me for every single action just because of my titles.”

Which health tips did you find to be most effective to reach your fitness goals?

“Contrary to common belief, dieting isn’t about starving yourself. The most effective way is to always keep your stomach busy digesting. However, what’s being digested has to be free of sugar, salt and flour. It’s also highly recommended to drink large amounts of water and to work out. Based on my experience, hitting a gym isn’t a must, as home exercises worked out just fine with me.”

If you were offered an acting role, would you be interested in discovering such a field?

“I’d love to. However, if I’m going to debut this field, it has be through distinguished roles. Personally, I disagree with those saying that black marketing is still marketing, and I don’t want a forgettable role just to announce my existence. I’m looking to add value, as Tara Emad did, for instance. Otherwise it wouldn’t be acceptable.”

Who is Aysel’s role model?

“Family-wise, my mother. She used to say that a loser’s knowledge is restricted to only one field, and it’s best to possess even the slightest idea about every area, which guided me through managing my time. Worldwide, I idolize Angelina Jolie because despite having everything she needs, she keeps on giving and values charity work.”

How do you see the future of the beauty Pageants in Egypt?

“It’s really hard to say. This year, dozens of applicants were expected for Miss Eco Egypt, but till now, the actual submissions are really few, so it’s hard to see through the near future.”

What do you aim for in your future?

“I won’t consider myself shortsighted, but a year ago, I wouldn’t have imagined what I achieved by now. I only care about being the best I can be for the time being, in order to be satisfied with my future self.”

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