How UAE's Jessica Da Silva became Miss Global's most decorated participant

She was crowned Miss Global 2021


Sandhya D'Mello

Published: Thu 7 Jul 2022, 3:32 PM

The UAE’s Golden Visa recipient Jessica Da Silva made the nation proud by bagging two awards at the recently held Miss Global pageant in Bali, Indonesia. After 12 gruelling days of competition, Da Silva became the most decorated contestant in Miss Global’s history by winning two special awards — Miss Global Popularity 2022, Miss Global Aesthetics 2022 — along with the title of Miss Global 2021. Her official designers were Sol Angelann and Irena Soprano.

Around 72 countries participated in the pageant that was first introduced in 2013 and there were over a dozen rounds judging various aspects of contestants, including personality, intellect, contribution to humanity, empowerment, helping the less fortunate, attire, internal and external beauty, among others.

Jessica was born in Brazil and over the last decade, has lived in India, Thailand, Bangladesh, Canada, and now the UAE. She has been modelling for leading international brands ever since she was 16.

An architect by profession, Jessica also has a degree in sustainability. Currently, she is pursuing post-graduate studies at the Rhode Island School of Design. She also studied at MIT and was a silver medalist swimmer in Brazil and a champion chess player. In an exclusive chat with wknd., Da Silva maps her journey.

What appeals to you about the UAE?

The UAE powers and empowers a brighter future for all. Its commitments and, more importantly, actions in the areas of sustainability, innovation, AI, medicine, education, human rights, freedoms and safety are second to none. It’s a country where tolerance is not just a word, it’s a way of life. The peaceful co-existence of so many who hail from different nationalities, provides not only for diversity but a warm culture which is welcoming to all.

It’s hard to find another country in the world that has so many opportunities and offers a can-do environment.

How did it feel to represent the UAE at Miss Global?

It was truly an honour and a privilege. It was an incredible opportunity to educate so many and demonstrate that the UAE is not a country that restricts, it’s a country that empowers and provides so many beautiful opportunities to all. We have a visionary leadership that is focused on creating an environment where one can achieve his or her potential, create and innovate. The overwhelming support and votes I received from one of the smallest countries (population-wise) that was represented at the international competition in Bali truly warmed my heart. I am so grateful that I was able to win Miss Global 2021 and was the most decorated contestant in the history of Miss Global this year, with two special awards.

What is your take on sustainability and climate change?

Sustainability for me is ‘sustain + ability’. We have the ability and we know what it is going to take to sustain the most important part of life, the planet we call home. While my voice can be heard, there are millions of species dying each day whose voices we cannot hear. It’s up to us to use our abilities to sustain life as we know it. Climate change is not only real, but the decisions we make today and the way we treat this planet will be how the planet will treat our children and grandchildren.

What would you say to the world about sustainability?

Planet earth is our only home, it’s up to us to ensure that we take care of it. If not, we will leave an inhabitable planet for the generations to come. Today, we have the ability to make and take the right decisions, to safeguard our home. It’s our collective responsibility to ensure a brighter future for generations to come.

What is life to you?

Life is a journey between points B and D. Birth and death. Between B and D is C.

C is for choice….

You can choose to believe in yourself.

You can choose to aspire to reach your goals.

You can choose to help others along the way.

You can choose to love and be loved.

You can choose to give, to inspire, to share.

You can choose to learn from others.

You can choose to teach what you have learned.

You can choose to be fair and just.

The longest relationship we will have in our lives will be with ourselves. So you can choose, and that’s what’s beautiful about life.

How do you define beauty?

Given today’s context, if you ask me to define beauty and perfection, I would say there is no such concept. The only thing that matters is how you perceive yourself. Do you like what you see in the mirror? If so, good for you, don’t listen to anyone else! Beauty is not only a physical attribute. What makes a person truly beautiful is what they have inside and what they do for others.

What is the hardest lesson you have learned in life?

I learned this the hard way, you cannot make everyone happy. What you can do, however, is make yourself happy and that is very, very important. So be brave. Have faith in yourself. Figure out what makes you happy, and go do it. Get a job, leave a job, fall in love, carve out your own niche, but, most importantly, learn to embrace the special and unique person that you are.

What advice would you give to women aspiring to be better?

I think women are capable of doing anything they want in this world. Dream big, keep working hard. If someone is laughing at you, it’s okay. If someone is pulling you down, it’s okay. You just keep working hard. Keep looking up at the sky and reach your goals no matter what anyone else says. Because if you cannot push yourself and dream for yourself, nobody else can.

What is the most important thing you have learned in life?

In life, I have learned the following...

Adapt, whatever the situation, however painful it is.

To never wait for someone to fix things for you because that is never going to happen.

To believe in yourself. Because if you don’t, no one else will.

Most importantly, to have something, a goal, an ambition, something that fires the flames of your soul, something that you work hard at and achieve it.

Good health is so critical. Exercise regularly, commit to eating healthy, make it your personal commitment to ensure to respect both your body and mind, and make sure you are treating them with the care they deserve.

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