“My priority would be with the children of Namibia, because (children) are the foundation of every nation.” – Michelle McLean
Former beauty queen and model, Michelle McLean-Bailey became the first Namibian to win the Miss Universe title and the first person from Africa since Margaret Gardiner of South Africa clinched the crown in 1978.
Born on the 30th of July 1972 in Windhoek, Namibia (then known as South West Africa), Michelle had her education at Centaurus High School, Windhoek. In 1989, she headed for Cape Town, South Africa where she completed her schooling. Between 1992 and 1995, Michelle McLean lived in Los Angeles, US and studied acting in Hollywood. In 1995, she joined South African pay-tv channel, M-Net as a presenter of the magazine show Front Row and was made a continuity announcer for the channel the following year.
In 1991, Michelle won the Miss Namibia beauty pageant and earned the rights to represent the country at the 41st Miss World Competition held at the World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia on December 28, 1991. She however ended up as 4th runner-up on the log.
Five months later and still 19 years old, Michelle represented Namibia again, this time at the 1992 Miss Universe beauty pageant held in Thailand. Out of the 78 beauty queens from around the globe who participated in the contest staged on 8th of May at Queen Sirikit National Convention Center in Bangkok, Miss Namibia, Michelle McLean was crowned the 41st Miss Universe.
That evening, she made a commitment when she said, “My priority would be with the children of Namibia, because they are the foundation of every nation.” In fulfilment of that commitment and her unconditional love for and care towards all Namibian children, she founded Michelle McLean Children Trust (MMCT) with Namibia’s founding president, Dr. Sam Nujoma as patron.
The Trust has initiated and managed hundreds of projects since its inception and “…remain committed to the youth of Namibia, improving their quality of life by encouraging them to recognize opportunities and to unlock their limitless potential by realizing their dreams, and thereby inspiring them to be the positive change in the world.”
Over the years, Michelle McLean has gone on to establish herself as an international media personality, motivational speaker, master of ceremony, entrepreneur and philanthropist. In conjunction with Prof. Chris Barnard, the world’s first heart surgeon, she established the Heart of a Child Foundation in 1998. That same year, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award for her philanthropy work courtesy of the Miss Universe Organization.
Michelle McLean-Bailey is married to former Manchester United and England football star, Gary Bailey now an international speaker and author of the book, “Success Under Pressure.” The pair have four children from previous marriages. Gary has three, two daughters and a son, while Michelle has a son.
Afro Tourism salutes this successful woman, motivational speaker, former beauty queen and model, philanthropist, national icon, African heroine and proud mother, Mrs. Michelle McLean-Bailey.
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