Philippine beauty queen dreams of Palestine

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Half-Palestinian Gazini Christiana Jordi Ganados is named after her Palestinian father Ghassan. (Instagram)
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Half-Palestinian Gazini Christiana Jordi Ganados is named after her Palestinian father Ghassan. (Instagram)
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Half-Palestinian Gazini Christiana Jordi Ganados is named after her Palestinian father Ghassan. (Instagram)
Updated 08 August 2019

Philippine beauty queen dreams of Palestine

  • 24-year-old Gazini Christiana Jordi Ganados is the Philippines’ contestant for Miss Universe 2019
  • She is the daughter of a Filipino woman and a Palestinian man

MANILA: She has her father’s eyes and her mother’s hair. And that is good enough for Gazini Christiana Jordi Ganados, 24, who says that even though they are separated, at least on her face her parents are still together.

The half-Palestinian, half-Filipino contender for the Miss Universe pageant this year credits her looks, especially her nose and height, to her Arab-Mediterranean father, whom she hopes to meet some day.

“I’d love to meet him. I have no grudges because that won’t bring me anywhere. But instead I’ll just thank him, and know that he’s still alive,” Ganados told Arab News.

FAST FACTS

  • Miss Universe 2019 will take place on Dec. 19.
  • Catriona Gray, Miss Universe Philippines 2018, was crowned Miss Universe last year.
  • Gazini Christiana Ganados was crowned Miss Universe Philippines 2019 in June.

“I’d be happy to know his side (of the family) and if I have a grandfather or a grandmother. Or maybe I have a stepsister or a brother. I’ve always wanted to have more family since all my life I’ve grown up alone.

While she knows very little about her father Ghassan, Ganados said that besides a photograph, what keeps his memory alive is the fact that she shares her name with him.

“My mother named me after him … My name is Gazini, which is from his name Gazan (from Ghassan); Christiana because my mom is a devout Catholic; Jordi because she told me it means flowing water, and I’m assuming it’s like the Jordan River,” she said.
Born in Dapitan City, in the Philippines’ Zamboanga del Norte province, Ganados began modeling at 15. Her first major break came in the form of a contract with Origin Model Management, which thrust her into the world of glamor and spotlights.

“At 15, I started modeling and supported myself through education. And then I took up nursing care, graduated from it, and then started another course in tourism management,” she said.

 

By 2014, she had already enlisted to participate in the Miss World Philippines contest, all while setting her sights on the bigger title of Miss Universe.

“I wanted to try another pageant one last time before I embarked on working a stable job … I just gave it my all,” she said.

The hard work paid off in June this year when Ganados beat 40 other Filipinos to win the Miss Philippines title — her ticket to the biggest beauty pageant in the world. It is a dream which she said she has always shared with her single mother.

“I hoped for this day to come, and now I’m Miss Universe Philippines 2019. None of this would’ve been possible without my mother,” she said. 

She added that being raised by a single mother “made my foundation very strong.”




Gazini Christiana Jordi Ganados says she will promote the rights of the elderly if wins the Miss Universe title. (Instagram photo)

Ganados said: “Growing up without a dad has made me a little bit stronger because my mom showed me if men can do something, a woman can do it too … and I’m so proud that I was born and raised by a strong mother.”

If she does win the Miss Universe title, Ganados has committed to promoting the rights of the elderly. “I’m extremely close to my grandparents and therefore want to be an advocate of elderly care. There’s a lack of facilities in our country, and a lot of people can’t work any more because of the age restrictions. I want to incorporate an active lifestyle for elderly people,” she said.

She intends to set up an elderly care center in every province where they can work.

“It’s a place where they can do stitching, or maybe they can create some artwork that can still be sold.  And at the same time, they’re earning and still stimulating their mind as well as promoting our local products here in the Philippines. So they’re already earning, plus they’re enjoying being active while aging,” she said.

Ganados said that taking care of the elderly is a major aspect of Filipino culture, something which she shares with her Middle Eastern lineage. 

“I’ve heard a lot of good stories about the Middle East: They have a lot of good food. I’ve researched about Palestine on Google. There’s a lot of architecture which is beautiful. I love exploring new cultures and I’m hoping that, maybe some day, I’ll visit,” she said.


Startup of the Week: Saudi baker and chef winning hearts of food lovers

Photo supplied
Updated 20 August 2019

Startup of the Week: Saudi baker and chef winning hearts of food lovers

  • Working over 15 hours a day and being self-taught was just the start; Essam is the interior and graphic designer, the marketer, the CEO and the chef at White Mountain

A Saudi bakery and restaurant business specializing in pastries is finding its way into Saudi hearts with a delectable selection of fine Italian, French, and Swiss foods.
Ahmad Essam, 28, a self-taught baker and chef, left a productive family business to create what is now one of the most prestigious bakeries in Alkhobar.
Essam set up his bakery and restaurant while working as a production engineer, selling tarts and cakes to his friends.
He was overwhelmed by the encouragement he received, and little by little Essam, his dream of running his own company emerged.
Working over 15 hours a day and being self-taught was just the start; Essam is the interior and graphic designer, the marketer, the CEO and the chef at White Mountain.
Baking French pastries such as croissants, macarons, mille-feuille, eclairs and tarts require a true artisan. Essam described the glory he feels when he bakes, saying: “Dealing with precise tips to get the real essence of French pastries and reaching a level to bake without recipes is a matter of experience and good knowledge. Being a real baker requires a lot of learning as it’s not only about mixing water and flour; its trick lies behind the process of fermentation that sometimes lasts for days.’’
Every once in a while, the young man distributes membership books to loyal customers. “On Valentine’s Day, we distributed 3,000 roses,” he added.
Essam is very passionate, and dreams of opening a cooking academy in Saudi Arabia so he can inspire other amateur bakers; he told Arab News about his future 12,000-square-meters cooking village project that he is aiming to create in Riyadh, “including a library that collects all cookbooks, a seasonal spice shop, a great lake garden, a pizzeria, glossary shop and more, all of which falls under one theme: Cooking.”
For him, business is an obsession and profession. “Chefs have their egos. They are dealing with a tricky job and they know what they are doing exactly. They do not accept comments or advice from other chefs,” he explained.
You can follow him for more information on White Mountain on Instagram: @wm.bakery.