Very blond, very tall and very nice: that’s Talisa Wolters, Miss Grand Netherlands 2013. The 22 year old student represented the Netherlands at the Miss Grand International in Thailand. This pageant was held for the first time and is mentioned as being a grand slam pageant within a few years. Very proud was the dutch organization ” 12 Months of Beauy” who organizes the Miss Grand Netherlands and the Miss Supranational Netherlands when Talisa made the top 20.
Talisa will crown her successor in less than a month during a fashion event in het Van der Valk Hotel Schiphol in Hoofddorp near Amsterdam. Eduardo Liem from Baroqco designed specially for the Miss Grand Netherlands a crown which is based on the Miss Grand International crown
We asked Talisa 10 questions….
You entered the Miss Overijssel pageant in 2012. What or who made you participate? Why did you enter the Miss Supra and Miss Grand 2013?
I have always been interested in the lives of people who are standing in the spotlights, like beauty-queens, models and actresses, but I never thought I would be one of them one day. When I was working at RTV Oost, a regional broadcaster in the Netherlands, I came in contact with the Miss Netherlands organization. She encouraged me to join the Miss Overijssel pageant, and I decided to give it a shot. I had a interesting time but unfortunately I did not make it to the finals.
During this pageant I met Robin and Stefan Hoven – Lieuw Choy, who have a very good name in the Dutch pageant-world. I saw online that they were organizing the Miss Supranational Netherlands 2013 pageant. I know that this is one of the Grand Slam pageants, with a good international competition. My dream was to do a pageant abroad, so I decided to join the Miss Supranational Netherlands competition. During Miss Supranational Netherlands there was also another pageant which immediately caught my attention: Miss Grand Netherlands. From the moment that Robin and Stefan announced that they were also organizing this pageant, I knew that this one would be mine. I just had a very good feeling about it. That the international pageant was going to be held in Thailand was a big plus, and I gave my all to make sure I got that title.
Many girls from your home area enter beauty pageants but only a few succeed. What made you a winner compared to the others? Do you think that you have made a difference for other girls from your area?
The people in my home-area are very down-to-earth. They just want to have a very ‘normal’ lifestyle. If they are interested in the pageant-world, maybe they will compete once, but if they will not win, they will just go back to their old lives. But I chose not to give up, and just try again. I did not win my first pageant, but I learned from it, didn’t give up and just tried again. I think that this mentality made me a winner: believe in yourself, don’t give up, try again! If I gave up the first time, I would never have won Miss Grand Netherlands 2013. I hope that with this mentality, I can inspire other girls from my home-area. And I hope to see them at the top!
What is your most memorable experience as Miss Grand Netherlands? And what is your most memorable experience at the Miss Grand International pageant in Thailand?
The whole experience, from beginning to ending, was memorable! During the Miss Grand Netherlands and Miss Supranational Netherlands pageant we did a lot of great activities with nice and interesting people. We did some group-bounding activities like photo-shoots, catwalk-training and making make-up, but we also did some activities that pushed us out of our comfort zones, like rock/wall climbing. During all the activities I got to know the other candidates, the national directors, and other people who were involved. They were all so nice, we had a great time and I learned a lot during the national pageant.
My most memorable moment has to be during the finals, when Stefan called my name for the Miss Grand Netherlands 2013-title. I just froze and I did not believe that I was chosen for this title! All the things that were going to happen this year just flashed though my mind, things that I was going to do, like great activities, and of course the Miss Grand International competition in Thailand.
From that moment, my life just stood upside-down. My Facebook exploded with messages, questions and friend-requests from pageant-fans from Thailand. The first week I had to work on my page for like 8 hours per day, because of overwhelming interest. Because I was putting a lot of time and effort in it, I started to get a pretty big fan-base in Thailand. I was very happy with my fans, and I promised to meet them all personally in Thailand. I also had to prepare myself for the international competition, look for sponsors, and do activities with my national directors and Leila Aigbedion, Miss Supranational Netherlands 2013.
I have two favorite memorable experiences from Miss Grand International in Thailand. The first is that my name was called for a place in the top 20. After all those hours of hard work and dedication, I was hoping so hard for that place in the top 20. When I heard my name, all the stress fell off my shoulders, and I knew that everything was OK, because this was the moment I came for. Unfortunately I did not make it to the top 10, but it was allright. I was happy with my placement.
My second favorite memorable experience from Miss Grand International in Thailand was my close friendship with Miss Grand Thailand, Yada Theppanom. From the moment we heard that we were going to be roommates, we became friends. I learned a lot from her, like the Thai language and Thai culture. She recently visited the Netherlands to get to know our culture, and I was very happy that I saw her again and that I got the chance to show her around. I really hope that I will see her again in the future, this will be a friendship for a lifetime.
These are just two things that I liked a lot about the international competition, but overall if was just an amazing and life-changing experience. I have seen a lot of Thailand and I had the opportunity to learn about the culture. I am so happy that I got this chance, I would not miss it for the world!
In what area in your life did you grow the past year, how did you grow and what impact does it have on your life?
I have grown a lot this past year, more then I could have ever thought of. I have learned about other people and other cultures, but I have also learned a lot about myself. I think I have matured a lot the past year, and I look at life at a different perspective. I try to live my life to the fullest now, and enjoy everything that comes to my path. I am also more thankful for everything. I have met a lot of girls in Thailand who live in worse conditions than here in Holland. Normally you take these things for granted, but when you see it with your own eyes, you will get more thankful for everything that we have here.
You made the top 20 at the Miss Grand International, this was a great achievement, but what would you do a next time to be in the top 5?
This was my first big international pageant. I was a bit nervous, and you could see that in my face. Now that I have been there, I would be less nervous and enjoy more during the finals. I think that if I look more relaxed, I maybe can make it to the top 5 next time.
Miss Grand International is a new pageant and is considered one of the new Grand Slam pageants. Describe this new pageant for those who have never heard of it………
Miss Grand International was held for the first time in 2013. This means that everything is new, and I didn’t knew what to expect. I’ve read that the organization also did Miss World Thailand, so I just thought that everything would be allright. And it was. Everything was organized so good that all the participants had the best time of their lives. We saw all the beautiful places in Thailand, we slept in very good hotels, we ate in the best restaurants, and we were taken care of by enough chaperones and security-members. Every activity was well-prepared, and there was a lot of press everywhere. We also did some charity-work for “Stop the War”. We had to think about how to solve this problem and what we could do about it. We had to do interviews for national television and did an activity for “Stop the War”.
I can highly recommend to enter this pageant. I had the best time of my life, because we were taken care of so good. I would like thank Mister Nawat Itsaragrisil to make this journey unforgettable.
You have been to a country where beauty queens are real celebrities, this is not the case in the Netherlands. What should we change in the Netherlands to achieve that status as well?
Beauty-queens are indeed real celebrities in Thailand, from the moment that I was crowned Miss Grand Netherlands till now, the moment I am typing this, I have Thai fans cheering for me every single day, every single hour. All day they are talking to me, and even some fans came to the airport in Thailand just to meet me. Thinking this would happen in Holland is just insane. Sometimes our security-members really had to step in, because there were just too many fans! But I love them all, and I am very happy that they are cheering for me. I hope they will also cheer for the new Miss Grand Netherlands 2014.
To achieve this celebrity-status in the Netherlands for beauty-queens, the image of the beauty-queens has to change. People now think that beauty-queens is just a pretty girl with a pretty smile waving her hand. But a beauty-queen is so much more than that. A beauty-queen stands for “Beauty with a Purpose”. For me this means that I can use the publicity for commercial initiatives, without losing the idea for social interest. If the Dutch people can see that this is where the beauty-queens stands for, they will be more supportive, just like the dear Thai fans.
Being a public figure sometimes has it’s negative sides, have you experience this? And how did you deal with this?
There will always be people who don’t like what you do. Even the nicest people have haters. Luckily I had to go to a country with the nicest people on earth: Thailand! Now I know why Thailand is called the Land of the Smile. Everyone was very kind, and you could tell that they appreciate you being there. Only one person had a problem with my height; he had never seen someone this tall (I am 1m86), and he could not believe what he was seeing. Apart from this, I only have good experiences with people.
Unfortunately being a public figure also means that you have to have a public Facebook. And people will tell you everything they want on Facebook. It happens a lot that people with ‘other intentions’ start to talk to me, sometimes with very strange requests. Luckily there is an report-button for that.
Everybody lives by their own rules. Did your rules change after winning Miss Grand Netherlands, why or why not?
Well, everything changed after winning Miss Grand Netherlands. Before winning the crown, I went to school, worked in the weekends and hang out with my friends. After winning, I went to school, worked in the weekends, hang out with friends, worked out more, pageant-practice, joined a lot of events, looking for sponsors, pageant-practice, a lot of work on my social media accounts and pageant-practice. So I had a lot more to do, in the same amount of time. Sometimes it was hard, but I did it all with love. I am so happy that I got the opportunity to do all these nice things and I would not miss it for the world.
What’s next for Talisa Wolters? What can we expect in the near future and in the distant future?
I feel so sad that my reigning year as Miss Grand Netherlands is almost over, I’ve had (by far!) the best time of my life. But that crown on my head is like an addiction, I don’t want to get rid of it! So I will definitely enter more pageants, hopefully also international pageants. Pageants are great for your general knowledge, and I learned a lot last year. I want to learn more, and I hope to be an example for all the girls who are starting with pageants.
In this year I will also finish my education, I’m studying Broadcasting and I hope to find a job in this specialty.
Thanks Talisa for a job well done…
photo’s: Toonen & Wientjes
photo’s Mary Antoinette: Dennis von Dutch
photo’s pageant: Talisa’s private collection