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.


A day in Elton John’s life: Buy Rolls, write hit song, dine with Ringo

Updated 19 October 2019

A day in Elton John’s life: Buy Rolls, write hit song, dine with Ringo

  • Diary entries helped jog Elton John’s memories from his 50-year career
  • ‘Even when I was doing a lot of drugs, I still carried on playing music’

LONDON: When Elton John was working on his new autobiography, the legendary singer, songwriter and performer pulled out diaries he had been encouraged to write during a stint in rehab.
One entry read like this: “Got up, tidied the house, bought a Rolls Royce, had dinner, wrote ‘Candle in the Wind,’ had dinner with Ringo Starr,” the musician said. “That was one day.”
John, 72, spoke in a video interview provided to Reuters by his publisher, Henry Holt & Co., to promote the release of his book, which is titled simply “Me.”
The diary entries helped jog John’s memories from his 50-year career filled with hit records, Grammy awards and royal friendships but also addiction and a suicide attempt two days before a show at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
“I wanted to show the tough ride of being a successful artist, and how I went through tough times, and how I came out at the end and got my life together,” John said. “It’s the story of my life up to the present day, warts and all.”
In the book, the “Crocodile Rock” singer revealed recent health scares including a near-fatal infection and a serious bout with appendicitis. “I did like 10 or 11 shows, 24 flights, with a burst appendix,” he said.
John is currently in the middle of a lengthy “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” world tour that will bring his touring career to an end. In the interview, he said performing on stage “just never gets old.”
“I never go on stage late,” he said. “I just love to get out there and I’m raring to go.”
“Even when I was doing a lot of drugs, I still carried on playing music,” he added. “It’s been my touchstone of my whole life.”
A highlight, John said, came in 1975 when John Lennon joined him to perform three songs at Madison Square Garden. It was Lennon’s first appearance on stage in New York since the Beatles played Shea Stadium.
Lennon was so nervous that he vomited before the performance, John said. “He came out to probably the most touching ovation I’ve ever heard,” John said. “We all shed a tear on stage.”
John said he is not sure what his future holds but he is still writing songs.
“I don’t know what’s next and I don’t want to know what’s next,” he said. “I’m just ready for the next chapter.”