Many people view beauty pageants as little more than a celebration of beauty and elegance. If that is your opinion of these competitions, you might want to think twice before sharing that belief with the smart, cultured young women who give of their own time to participate in these competitions and help their wider communities.

Camila Estico recently won the title of Miss Seychelles 2014. As she prepares to represent her homeland in the Miss World competition this coming December, she offers a passionate look into the world of these pageants as seen through the eyes of an artist.

Who is Camila Estico?

Camila was born and raised for the first 14 years of her life in Seychelles. Her mother is a native of the Caribbean nation of Cuba. Her father is a native Seychellois. Recognising the immense artistic talent in their oldest child, the couple moved the family to the United States in 2005. Camila enrolled in and attended the Howard W. Baker Performing Arts High School in Tampa, Florida.

After graduating from the prestigious performing arts school in 2009, Camila took a semester break to explore her artistic desires. Her exploration led her to New York City where she was accepted into a two-year program at the Alvin Ailey Dance School.

Following her time in New York City she returned to Florida to pursue an Associate of Arts in Business Administration at Hillsborough Community College. In the midst of another semester break, Camila found herself drawn back to her homeland of Seychelles. She returned to the Indian Ocean nation after nine years in the States, and now is prepared to represent her country as Miss Seychelles 2014.

Driven by Unique Forces

Camila Estico did not go to the United States to become famous, and she didn’t return to Seychelles in order to be a big fish in a small pond. She believes that she was brought into this world to bring something unique to society. She came home to Seychelles to serve as a representative of her country because the time was right in her life.

After living in the US for nine years, she developed a greater appreciation for life in Seychelles. She credits her time in the US with giving her the exposure to the real world that she needed. The pressure in the performing arts world in the US was such that Camila developed a sense of confidence and an inner strength she may never have found in Seychelles.

Following that time in America, it was easy to come home and feel a greater sense of appreciation for Seychelles. As Miss Seychelles 2014, Camila is looking forward to the challenge of representing her country as a cultural ambassador. This is where her personal view of her role comes into play. At this point in time, this is where you will discover that Camila sees a greater role for herself as Miss Seychelles, and as a member of the country’s younger generation.

Miss Seychelles 2014, Photo: Karel Losnicky

Camila Estico, Miss Seychelles 2014, Photo: Karel Losnicky

Miss World and Beyond

Until the Miss World contest is held in December 2014, Camila will be preparing herself to represent her country as Miss Seychelles. She believes that her artistic endeavours in the US (and now as Miss Seychelles) have helped her grow as a person. She has learned that it is OK, and in fact liberating, to be different. She encourages others from her generation to “dare to be different”.

She believes that young Seychellois need to prepare to step forward and help spread the word about their country throughout the Indian Ocean and around the world. There is so much of the Seychelles for the world to know, to enjoy, but if no one steps up to represent the country then the rest of the world will never experience it.

When the time comes to step aside as Miss Seychelles, Camila hopes to return to school and complete her studies. This time, however, she will remain at home in Seychelles. The majority of her credits from her studies in the US will transfer to institutions in Seychelles. She plans, at this time, to complete a degree in hospitality management.

Although hospitality and tourism are crucial to the economy of Seychelles, she would like to find a middle ground between her studies and her passion when it comes to a future career. She would like to find a career where she can mix her love of performing arts and her knowledge of hospitality management.

She is looking to use her time as Miss Seychelles as a platform to help drive Seychelles forward in the future. Miss Seychelles has a message for her fellow Seychellois from her generation. She has encouraged, and continues to encourage, others from her generation to live a dignified life, be humble, and most importantly, be faithful to their inner desires. Only when you step out of your shell will you find the confidence to succeed in this world. As each Seychellois succeeds, the future of the country becomes even brighter.