New York - It is extremely hard, if not impossible, to define what beauty is or what is beautiful as the notion of beauty and beautiful rests on the eye of the beholder. It is an elusive concept that changes according to time and space, mood and inclination. Beauty is the ecstatic feeling that connects together the threads of body, mind and soul; it leads into a boost of happiness hormones and fuels the emotional thirst, which spontaneously calls for an uncontrolled smile as a gesture of appreciation for God’s creation.
New York – It is extremely hard, if not impossible, to define what beauty is or what is beautiful as the notion of beauty and beautiful rests on the eye of the beholder. It is an elusive concept that changes according to time and space, mood and inclination. Beauty is the ecstatic feeling that connects together the threads of body, mind and soul; it leads into a boost of happiness hormones and fuels the emotional thirst, which spontaneously calls for an uncontrolled smile as a gesture of appreciation for God’s creation.
Khalil Gibran, the prominent Lebanese poet and scholar, once said “beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.” We usually emphasize on the physical attributes of beauty, while overlooking other abstract characteristics that lay beyond our conventional wisdoms. Character, charisma, attitude, talent and knowledge are but a few qualities that are tantamount to fascination and loveliness.
To celebrate beauty and to give it a board scope beyond the physical and simplistic, compitions of beauty pageants have been organized internationally to rejoice the inner and outer beauty, promote goodwill, world peace as well as bond all different cultures based on acceptance and appreciation. This is a contest that honors intelligence, aptitude, originality, leadership not to mention beauty.
In this respect, Morocco is no exception. Either those who live inside or those who reside abroad, Moroccans embrace the international culture of peace and fraternity, rejoice the sweetness of beauty that symbolizes the prominence of a world worth to live in.
Following the footsteps of her fellow Moroccans in other parts of the world, such as Sarah Shafak, Miss Finish 2012, and Sara Mouatamid, Miss Morocco 2012, Iman Oubou recently won Miss Colorado US International in January 2012. With her high intellectual qualifications, her outstanding language skills, her humanitarian and philanthropic leanings, the chances that Miss United States International to be Moroccan are great. Should Miss Oubou win this title, Morocco will be represented in Miss International by three candidates.
Morocco World News recently interviewed Iman Oubou from her home in Colorado.
MWN: What are the basic criteria of these contests? Are they based solely on the physical attributes? Are education, personality and principles also taken into consideration?
Iman Oubou: All the above! Most pageant systems have three sections in the competition (four sections for the Miss America system). The contestants are judged on swimsuit, evening gown and interview. The swimsuit portion is to judge if you are in shape and whether exercising and nutritional diets are part of your daily routine. As a role model, you must be physically healthy and that is what the judges are looking for. And again, this goes back to my previous answer which claims that beauty pageants force you in a way to be the best version of yourself, including staying physically active and eating right! The evening gown portion allows the judges to determine whether you have stage presence, poise and the ability to pick a gown that will compliment your figure.
As a role model, your outer appearance and your presence do play an important role as you want to show your audience and fans that you know how to present yourself in both a glamorous and respectable way. And last but certainly not least, the interview portion of this competition gives you the opportunity to show the judges that there is a lot more than just that pretty smile. During the interview, judges ask you questions about your achievements, your goals, your qualities, your shortcomings…etc. It is your chance to impress the judges with your unique personality and to prove to them that you are educated, intelligent, a great critical thinker, able to deal with adversities and most importantly will be the right candidate to represent the state (or the country). It might seem all easy when you first read about the criteria, but once you are in front of the judges or on stage, anxiety is your worst enemy.
MWN: What did Miss Colorado US International add to Iman Oubou?
Iman Oubou: I personally wouldn’t use the word “add”. I would say that the title of Miss Colorado US International mainly reinforced my self-confidence, poise, public speaking skills, physical health, ability to take the lead, benevolence, compassion and my international awareness. Why I wouldn’t use the word “add” is because I (and most people) already had these qualities but this title has for the most part helped me strengthen, practice and emphasize them.
MWN: What message are you willing to convey through this title? How do you intend to fulfill it; it is through your fashion style, your eloquent speeches or philanthropic endeavors?
Iman Oubou: As a future potential Miss International beauty queen, my goal is to promote world peace, good will, empathy, compassion, leadership and most importantly raise awareness about working together to help improve local and global healthcare and make it accessible for those who are less fortunate.
MWN: Given your position as ambassador of goodwill, many young boys and girls are going to perceive you as a symbol of success and a prototype of leadership. What advice will you give to all of them?
Iman Oubou: Forgive me if I answer this one in cliché but my only advice is “Chase after your dreams and believe you can achieve!!!!” Everyone in this world wants something different. We do not all have the exact same dreams and goals, but no matter what these are, do not let anyone tell you they are impossible or too big for you to achieve. Going to the moon was once an “impossible” dream, but someone did it because he strongly believed that with persistence and dedication anything can be reached, even the moon! The young world needs to understand that there isn’t one specific definition or type of “successful”. Success is seen as overcoming adversities or failures while staying hopeful and going forward while learning from those obstacles and becoming an even stronger person. People who have succeeded have failed over and over again before they reached their success summit. So young boys and girls do not be afraid of failing! Think of failures as small speed bumps you encounter on the road before you hit the big highway of ultimate success!
MWN: In your opinion what is the biggest challenge facing young Moroccan Americans today?
Iman Oubou: Speaking from my own experience, I do not think young Moroccan Americans have to face specific challenges because of their dual nationality. Yes, we are definitely different and unique because of our multicultural background but that is never the reason that causes us to face certain obstacles. Generally speaking, it is usually a source of pride and an opportunity for all young Moroccan Americans to stand out from the crowd and use their cultural diversity to move forward in the American society. What I like about America is that it is a nation built on diversity and foreign cultures coming together and learning from each other to construct one single community. And again, I am speaking from my personal experience. I, as a young Moroccan American, never had to face major challenges because of my origins. And because I was raised in a state where the Moroccan community is very small, I can’t talk for every Moroccan American out there because I didn’t have the chance to witness or hear about other Moroccan Americans’ challenges.
MWN: If there were a recipe for accomplishment, what will it contain?
Iman Oubou: There definitely is a recipe for accomplishment and I call it the “5 Ds of accomplishment”. In order to accomplish your goals or achieve your dreams, one must have a bowl of the 5 Ds 7 days a week, 365 days a year! This recipe contains:
1-Desire: Dreams and goals come from a strong desire for a specific thing, concept or lifestyle. You must have a strong desire in order to fulfill your dreams.
2-Drive: It is also referred to by successful people as the flame that burns inside you. It is this flame that drives you to take action and work towards accomplishing your goals.
3-Dedication: You have to dedicate all your energy and hard work towards achieving these goals of yours. In order to be completely dedicated, you must not be afraid of sacrifices. Persisting even when times are hard shows your dedication for your dreams and goals. Another cliché phrase you probably heard is “Nothing worth achieving ever comes easy”. So keep that in mind!
4-Determination: If you say you want to accomplish a certain goal, become a certain someone or achieve a certain dream, your actions have to show that you are working hard to measure up to your words. Determination is what shows that you really mean what you say and that nothing in this world will come between what you WANT to accomplish and what you WILL accomplish.
5-Development: As far as I am concerned, accomplishment is more of a journey than a destination. I believe that the best part about achieving your dreams is watching yourself develop into this alter-person worthy of your dreams. Using myself as an example, I have been watching beauty pageants since I was a little girl. And yes, I did hope that one day I will get to wear a shiny crown and make a difference in the world. But at the moment I started dreaming it, I wasn’t yet worthy to be a beauty queen. But once I made it one of my most important goals in life, I started developing and transforming into a beauty queen day by day until I was finally worthy of that title and crown. The take home message is, if you want to do something or be someone you must believe and act like you absolutely deserve it. In other words you must grow into that accomplished version of you.
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