BEAUTY TALKS:: Gonul Meral, Miss International Belgium 2014
Welcome to Missosology! It is an honor to have you with us on Beauty Talks! Please tell us about yourself.
The honor is all mine to, thank you so much for the interview.
25 years ago my mother gave birth to me and gave me the beautiful name Gonul Meral.
My family originally came from Turkey so I have roots with Turkey and love to have the best of two worlds. On one hand, Belgium, which is my birth country and on the other hand, Turkey. I grew up in the city of Charleroi. Charleroi is a city and a municipality of Wallonia, located in the province of Hainaut.
At the moment, I am a student of Dutch language. Already, I have graduated as an educator. I chose to do this because I love to help children with physical disabilities. The reason I want to learn languages is because it creates more possibilities and it makes you grow you as a person as you can communicate easier with different kinds of people. Also it gives me as being an international beauty contestant the opportunity to even learn more, using the Dutch language. As I am from the French side of Belgium you do not learn automatically the Dutch language. As Miss International Belgium I want to communicate with every citizen of my home country.
At the moment my spare time is very limited but I like to go out with my friends, doing sports and do charity events. As almost every woman I love fashion & beauty and a good movie in the cinema.
You will be representing a very unique country in Europe. Please educate us, in your own words, what it means to be a Belgian person.
Belgium is a country with many races, cultures, beliefs, but we all live in peace with each other. This is what makes it so beautiful and of course each country have its criticisms, political points of view, different beliefs and thoughts,…. but for me Belgium is a united country. There is no difference, we all have the same identity card with the same rights.
Even though Belgium is a small country we have beautiful villages and city with historical and cultural activities. Like Bruges, it is known for the little canals and it’s called the Venice of the city and the typical handmade lace along the streets. Who does not know Brussels,… it is known for the Rue des Boucher et Manneke Pis, the little male sculpture.
Charleroi, is very dear to me for many reason. One reason is because my grandfather worked in one of the many mines. Antwerp, known as the city of jewelry and specially diamonds, which are a girl’s best friend,… but it is also the city of fashion.
Belgium is very popular because we have delicious chocolate and the history of Belgian chocolate is very old. The praline is one of the most famous Belgian specialties. It is a filled bonbon, invented in 1912 by Jean Neuhaus. It is made from caramelized sugar coated with white chocolate, dark or milk. The master will make pralines largely by hand, especially with regard to the decoration, each receives a personal touch giving it a unique flavor. And last but not least the Belgian fries… unhealthy but so delicious.
What it means to be a Belgian person, stays a difficult question but the small reflection of the above makes me proud that such a small country with many different historical objects, cultures, beliefs, politics and thoughts proves to many other countries it is possible to live in harmony. We have everything from Chinese, Japanese, Turkish foods and influences till the typical Belgian habits, I am a good mix from all the good things that a small country as Belgium offers. Plus we have a King and Queen and they make it more trendy and less old fashioned and it brings positive atmosphere within the country.
Are you excited to come to Tokyo? What are your expectations about Tokyo and Japan in general?
Yes I’m very impatient to go to Tokyo. Japan is a country that I’ve always wanted to visit. European people look up to Japan, which is known as fast technology and trendsetters, modern, delicious sushi…. Japan has a very different culture from ours, not only culture but also its architecture. I am very much eager to discover them. Going to Japan is for me a life time opportunity to visit this amazing country. I love Japanese food, I eat sushi very often and other excellent dishes. I can’t wait to arrive in Tokyo, and even the arrival on the airport will be the most exciting experience.
Do you believe that beauty pageants are still relevant in today’s society?
It is true that beauty pageants are not always followed by everyone and experienced as a positive thing. Before many said in Benelux a Miss is stupid and is only a beauty without brain. However, people saying this do not know anything about pageants and that is a pity. In Belgium there are many pageants from Miss Fruit till Miss Belgium and Miss International Belgium. Unfortunately there are people with wrong intentions and make pageants into something bad. But I want to open the eyes and hope to make a little difference by telling the people who it can be for a beautiful young woman. Representing your country nationally is a big responsibility but international representation of my country gave me the shivers, because the world is looking and I need to show everyone how special my little home country is. A difficult job which I embrace. My goal is to continue my work with my charity projects and be the voice of women, especially for those who need it.
What are your future goals and ambition in life?
As my mom was very ill last year, her health is one of my first priorities. I love my family and we take care of each other. My hobbies are traveling, discovering cultures, countries, meeting people, do my projects for the community and finish my school to get my degree in Dutch. At the moment my dream is like every other girl in Miss International 2014, go home with the crown. But most important in this pageant is the opportunity to meet so many girls from all over the world, get to know them, their countries and cultures. Where ever I might end up I will cherish this for a lifetime. After my duties as Miss I want to get some nice modeling assignments, fashion shows, shoots and might some presenting for tv.
Next to this ambition I would like to work as a flight attendant and explore the beauty of the world and the people and animals living on this planet.
If you are to meet one person, dead or alive, who do you want to meet and why?
My grandfather, he died 18 January 2012. A real example for me and my family. He raised 10 children, worked hard to give them only the best and educate them. For 30 years he has been a mine worker. His family meant the world to him, he taught me “the price of success is won with courage”.
I will never forget, every day and today I think of him, I want to honour him. Hopefully he is looking down from where ever he is and he is proud of me. He never gave up, loved and fought for his family,… he’s my example. I miss him daily but my love will continue till the end of days.
Winning the Miss International crown will definitely change your life forever! Why do you think you should be the next Miss International?
Why I should be the next Miss International, to begin I am already Miss International Belgium 2014 and it is more than an honor to represent my country and show the rest of the world the beauty, history, culture and many more of my country. It would be so nice to promote my country with the title to the rest of the world and do global projects. Becoming Miss International is for sure a big job and will open a whole new world and opportunities and let us hope that the judges are looking for a young woman like me and see the challenges together with me to be the future ambassador. I am a perfectionist and prepare everything into detail and I love to be organized. We do not know upfront what kind of a woman they are looking for, but hopefully I can take the honor for Belgium. It is time for our country to bring the crown home,… It has never happened before…. I’ll do my best ever to achieve the best result.
Still, we are all national winners with goals, future plans,…. and for now I hope to get new friends for life, I am very social so I’ll connect with all the girls. /Stephen I. Diaz
Thank you Missology for the very nice interview and do not forget to vote for me
Love from Miss International Belgium 2014
– Gonul Meral –