For the fifth time the Miss Grand International pageant will be held. They finals will take place on the island of Phu Quoc in Vietnam. The Netherlands will be represented by the talented and beautiful Kelly van den Dungen who was prepared by 12 Months of Beauty. Robin and Stefan of 12 Months of Beauty are the proud owners of this rising pageant since the beginning of the pageant. Before Kelly went we saw, Talisa Wolters, Francis Everduim, Shauny Bult and Floor Masselink at the international finals.
We are very proud to introduce this radiant beauty to you and we asked Kelly 10 questions:
Who is Kelly van den Dungen?
I am 24 years old and together with my twin sister I live at my parent’s home. I am a recent graduate in Media, Information and Communication at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam. I can be found often in the gym and I like to run. If I had to describe myself I would say that I am a social, helpful person and a go-getter. I like to be amongst people and I do not often go places by myself haha. I like to have a purpose in life and go for it completely. This is because when I was a young girl I practiced acrogymnastics on a top level. In acrogymnastics you have to work very hard to reach your goal. I strongly believe that if you want something and you work hard for it, you will accomplish your dreams.
Why and when did you enter the world of beauty pageants?
Because of social media I followed beauty pageants more and more. In 2011 I saw that at Miss Nederland in that year 3 girls were crowned for grand slam pageants. I enjoyed watching the 3 winners representing their country and since then I went on looking what’s possible. A few years later I dared to enter the Miss Nederland pageant. In 2016 I was a finalist for Miss Nederland (the winner went to Miss Universe) and I became 2nd runner up. By participating I experienced how good it felt to stand on a large podium and to let yourself be heard. Therefor I am very happy with the title of Miss Grand Netherlands 2017, which gives me the chance to participate in an international grand slam pageant; this comes from my heart and I dreamt of this for years.
What pageants did you participate in and what did you learn along the way?
In 2015 I participated in Miss Progress International in Italy. I wanted to know what it was like to participate in an international pageant and if I liked it in the first place. It is very special to see how in a very short time you make so many friends and how you have the same experience together, so you have a special bond very quickly with others. I found out that I liked that immediately very much and by ending up in the Top 3, I got more confident in myself. Despite the fact that I previously went to a casting for Miss Nederland, I entered again after my experience at Miss Progress. I had the feeling that I knew better what a pageant is all about and that it really was something that I wanted, this is why I decided to show myself again and I was lucky to be chosen to participate in Miss Nederland 2016. What I learned is to have confidence in myself, which makes you shine. If you don’t believe in yourself, the jury and the people around you will also not believe in you. I truly believe that if you stand behind your ideas for 100%, you will transmit this feeling and that is the basis for everything.
How do you prepare for the international pageant?
From the end of march on, I knew I could live my dream and represent the Netherlands at Miss Grand International. 12 Months of Beauty has been preparing me for 6 months for MGI. I have a personal trainer, Brian from Body2Last, who coached me in my diet and sports schedule, so I can be in shape, bust he also gave me mental coaching. I also wanted to improve my english so I did a course at Regina Coulee, so I can feel more confident during interviews and the pitch. I got catwalk lessons from Glenda Nijland, which I practice almost every day in my room haha! I also have a team working on my wardrobe. My final dress was designed and made by Bjorn Kersten and my looks will be finished by the gorgeous jewels of BaroQco .
What is it that you had to work to most on, specially for the Miss Grand International 2017 pageant?
Because I was practicing top sports, my body was too muscular for a beauty pageant. My trainer Brian coached me to do special exercises and keep a special diet, so my body would be totally in shape for Miss Grand International.
What makes you stand out in the group of 85 international beauty queens?
Because I did many shows and competitions in acrobatics as a child, I know how it is to control my nerves. It is important to enjoy now I have the chance to stand on a big and beautiful stage and I will shine with a lot of confidence. It is very important to have fun in what you do and by doing so have your nerves under control, so you can show what you are really able to do and what you have to tell, by being yourself. That is the most important: being yourself, because your personality makes one unique.
In Asia and the Americas pageants are a more important part of society than in Europe.
What could be your contribution to change that?
In the Netherlands pageants are not popular, because people do not know what a pageant is all about! There is little attention on this subject. That’s why I try to promote pageants on social media in my own way. I show my passion for beauty pageants and what I come across, so they can follow the whole process. With this information people will appreciate pageants more because they see that beauty pageants are more than “ just being pretty”. By seeing more about pageants and following them, people will like them more and understand what pageants are about!
What makes you a typical dutch woman? And what makes you proud to be dutch?
What makes me a typical dutch person is that i like to “be on time”. In the Netherlands it is very important to be on time at your appointments and at work. Haha! What makes me proud to be dutch is that we respect all religions. We are a multicultural country and we accept and respect everyone’s religion. I would like that in every country it would be this way.
Who was your role model as a child and what example do you want to be for young girls?
As a child I had 2 role models and they were my parents. Especially as a child you spend a lot of time with your parents. Because I was looking up to my parents, they formed me into the person I am today. They put me on the right track in difficult times and I always shared my successes with them. I will always stimulate young girls to chase their dreams. Often a dream cannot be made true at once and you have to work hard to make your dream come true. You learn from your mistakes and that makes you stronger, so never give up on your dream! If I would have given up at the first casting for Miss Nederland, I would not be able to participate in Miss Grand International.
What can we expect from Kelly in the years to come?
I hope to get the chance to become Miss Grand International and with this title to make a difference in the Stop the War and Violence Campaign. At the moment that is something I focus on completely, because I want this very much and I would put everything aside to accomplish this. How I will be in a few years, I do not know, as long as everything I do comes from the heart, which will make me a happy personally and I can radiate this to my environment.
We would like to thank Kelly for her time and wish her all the best of luck in Vietnam!
Photographer: Johnny ten Have
Hair: Sanjay Ramcharan
Make-up: Seren Kaya
Fashion: Bjorn Kersten
Crown and jewelry: BaroQco
blue bag: Les TeRe