By Dreylan Johnson
It has been said that if you’re beautiful inside it shines through. Beautiful Lieve Blanckaert, 17, has a huge heart and a love for helping children in need. Lieve was crowned Miss India Guyana on August 20 and went on to represent Guyana creditably at the Miss India Worldwide pageant in Mumbai, India.
When asked how she had reacted to the news of her selection, Lieve expressed that she’d been ecstatic, sharing that it was a blessing to be able to represent her country on an international stage.
She was the youngest contestant vying for the crown in India, but she never let her age or inexperience on the pageant scene affect her confidence. She shared too that at no point did any of the other participants treat her with less respect because of her age, which she attributed to her maturity.
“My age wasn’t a problem at all. I’m a very mature and understanding person and your age shouldn’t give anyone the right to treat you differently. If you give respect you will be shown respect in return,” she said.
Lieve said that her decision to enter the pageant rested on her interest in meeting new friends, developing new goals, and experiencing the cultures of others around the world.
What she found when she visited Mumbai, was that the city experience was so similar to Georgetown, she couldn’t help but be reminded of home. “It was truly eye opening to witness where so many of our religious and cultural aspects of society came from,” she enthused.
Although she did not place, Lieve was bestowed the Most Beautiful Skin award, an honour she shares with past Miss India Guyana Queen, Katherina Roshana.
Lieve told The Scene that initially, she had not even realized she was the award recipient as the host had mispronounced Guyana, as many hosts in international pageant history have been known to do.
“The guy pronounced my country wrong so I wasn’t sure at the moment if the award was for me [laughs], then all the contestants were like ‘Lieve, that’s you,’ and I said, ‘Oh, it’s pronounced ‘Guy-ana! But thank you so much!’”
When she was crowned Miss India Guyana, Lieve had declared that she would use her platform to be a voice for children in the orphanages. But the advocacy work of this aspiring ambassador began long before she was handed this auspicious role. In fact, it began in November 2014, when she, along with a group of friends, established ‘The People Care’, an organization whose main aim is to assist those who are less fortunate.
So far, the group has successfully redecorated the girls’ dormitory of the Joshua House Orphanage, the first of many projects it plans to undertake.
Also in the works for the orphanage is the development of a tutoring programme to assist the children with their homework.
Although she is uncertain about future plans regarding pageantry, Lieve is open to the idea of entering pageants again, explaining that she has grown and expanded in range as an individual on account of her Miss India Worldwide experience.
“It’s definitely a great experience; it builds your confidence. I was a bit nervous at first to go on interviews but talking in front of large crowds, every night made me more open and confident. There are so many things you learn not only about yourself, but also about your communication skills, leadership, and poise. It’s never really a competition it’s more of an experience because after that one week of non-stop training you’ve learnt so much, it’s unbelievable.”
The beauty queen stated that she is currently taking her gap year from academics but has plans to further her studies next year. Though she is still on the fence about her career path, she has intentions of one day becoming an ambassador.
Aside from her involvement in pageantry and charitable work, in her spare time, you might just find Lieve listening to tracks by Fetty Wap or Drake, or maybe even whipping up a creole dish or two.
When asked if there was anything about her that people would be surprised to find out, she replied cheerfully, “To be honest my life is an open book. What you see is what you get.”