I’ve known Anthea as long as I can remember. Our mothers grew up together, our parents were invited to each other’s weddings and our grandparents still live next door to each other. Along with her sister Adreana, a gymnast who has also had her fair share of successful accomplishments, Anthea has always been the highly committed girl racing against time. Before leaving for Washington DC, where she is currently busy with her final preparations for Miss World, I caught up with Anthea over a cup of coffee and some almond biscuits her mother, Rosanne, prepared for us. Photographer Ronald Camilleri accompanied me for the interview.
First and foremost, you’re a professional dancer. How did it all start?
My passion for dance started when I was very young. I wasn’t even 3. At the time I used to play with my next door neighbour who practiced ballet, and her impression on me was so huge that I used to tell my mother, “You don’t love me because you do not take me to ballet!”
Just a year ago you represented Malta in the Eurovision Young Dancers. What does it feel like winning another massive title so soon?
Well, when I cast my participation for the Eurovision Young Dancers I knew I stood a good chance of winning. On the other hand, with Miss World everything was so unanticipated. It’s true that I trained hard for it, and took a diet seriously for the first time ever, but I never thought it would end this way!
Would you walk us through June 18th?
As soon as I woke up I ate two spoons of peanut better. My personal trainer instructed me to have just that – no water! Then, I went out and spent some €50 on chocolates, just for the evening, when everything was meant to be over. Then I came home, packed my suitcase, and left. I was excited, and pretty nervous too. I was looking forward to it all coming to an end because I was so tired of being on a diet for such a long time. Once it kicked off it was really fun, but at the end, once the first runner up was announced, I felt a little bit disappointed. I was sure I came fourth and missed the chance of a placing. But then, as the winner got announced, I was ecstatic. If you get to see my interviews from that night all I had to say was “What’s happening?”. Though I still managed to eat the chocolates, mind you!
What’s the plan for Washington DC?
What’s happening there is extremely important, but it is something that is basically worked up to. The competitions before the final night are totally crucial. We are judged every single day with every single meal for almost a month. We are split in four groups, with each group supervised by a leader. Competitions involve a sport competition, a talent competition, a national costume competition, a top model competition, a personality competition and beauty with a purpose.
You’re a public figure. What’s behind a public figure?
A lot of people and time. Personally, if it weren’t for the support of my family, I don’t believe I could ever get where I am today. My mother played a very important role here, besides the fact that she has always been my taxi driver (I drive now but she cried a lot when I got my driving license. In fact she made it difficult for me to get a car for five whole months).
Is one born a model?
To be honest I believe that one is born with a certain personality and presence. I have always been told that I have a certain presence on stage, but I’ve never been on a catwalk before June. You can learn how to walk, but presence is difficult to learn.
What does it mean to be the Maltese contender at the 66th edition of Miss World?
It means that you must live up to lots of expectations. People expect things from you all the time and that becomes tiring sometimes, even though it is a fun and exciting opportunity. You get to wear pretty expensive dresses too, not to mention the shoes! It also means a lot of training, and new encounters and connections which will not only help you in your professional career but which will teach you a lot of lessons.
What kind of community work are you conducting as Miss World Malta?
Also, around christmas time, I will be visiting 10 schools as part of the project A box for a Smile. We will be promotiong equality, diversity and anti-racism. Eventually, each and every child shall be bringing to school a gift for a boy or girl his/her age. We will then be giving these gifts to orphanages and children of refugees, in the hope that the Maltese foster a culture of equality and fraternity.
I’m the face of the national Cancer Platform for the next five years, and we’re currently working with President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca to make the Sir Anthony Mamo Oncology Centre less clinical. When it was built, not enough funds were allocated to ensure that patients can maintain a regular lifestyle. There are no TV sets, no strong wi-fi connection, no paintings, no garden and no books (because of the germs papers carry). Thus, we are trying to raise funds to make up for this. Our primary objective is to install a kindle with every bed. Kindles can be wiped and will also allow some of the patients to continue with their studies.
Anthea would like to thank all sponsors, mainly Jennifer, the makeup artist who has been by her side for the past 5 years; Vitalities Academy Malta and Natasha Polidano, sponsors for Miss World; Nilara, Dor Boutique, Ladymatic and Tutto Sports for the clothes. Her heartfelt thanks goes to Sue Rossi and Claudia Calleja (Modelle International), Mariano Farrugia (Personal trainer) and her family and boyfriend, whose constant support during this year made it possible to keep up with her many commitments.
© 2016 – VIDA Magazine – Clifford Jo Zahra
Photography – Ronald Camilleri