All throughout her life Naomi Hammett was encouraged by her family to start modelling, but being quite shy and reserved, the thought of herself modelling made her shudder with fear. She is still a very simple young woman, studying law at the University of Malta, living with her family, and enjoying her free time with her loved ones.

And yet, one day she was approached by the organiser of the Miss Malta pageant, Vince Taliana, on Facebook. He said that he was looking for new upcoming models for their pageant, and she decided to try her luck. Her parents were over the moon as soon as she told them.

“Before entering Miss Malta, I had no prior modelling experience, and I thought that there would be hundreds of experienced models who would have a better chance than me,” the 20-year-old student recalls. “In fact, I was so nervous when I went to the interview that my mind went blank for a short moment, because I did not know what was expected of me, nor did I know what the judges were looking for, and I was leaping with joy the next day when I found out that I made it!” smiled Naomi.

Eve: Last year you established a name for yourself in the local modelling scene – Miss Tourism of Malta 2017. When did you start taking your talent seriously?

Naomi Hammett: I only gave modelling a go as soon as Mr Vince Taliana approached me on Facebook, and I thought maybe he saw some potential in me as a model, potential that I did not see in myself! As soon as I found out I was chosen to participate in this prestigious pageant, I wanted to be the best I could be, and I worked hard to achieve the best possible version of me. My aim at the time was not to win, or even be a finalist, my aim was to get out of my comfort zone and work on my confidence.

Eve: You are now the titleholder of Miss Tourism of Malta 2017. What does this really mean and what will entail for you in the coming weeks?

NH: I feel like it is my responsibility to set a good example to other young women, not only with regards to modelling, but also as a Maltese citizen. As a title holder, I might have a voice which may be stronger than other people’s voices, and I believe that it is my duty as Miss Tourism of Malta to use my voice and speak about issues which matter to all of us. As a holder of such an honorary title, I will do my absolute best to help others in need and raise awareness about issues which may affect all of the nation in the future.

As for future events, at the moment the situation is quite calm and there are only a few events which I have to attend, but I am very looking forward in taking an active role in Miss Malta 2018, where a new Miss Tourism of Malta will be crowned.

Eve: What’s your general perception of the local modelling scene?

NH: Before I started modelling myself, I had a very flawed perception of this industry. I always thought that pageants were very superficial, and only looked at the models’ looks and not their intelligence and inner beauty. However, through my experience, I realised that I was gravely mistaken. Models need to be well-rounded and easy to work with, driven, compassionate. We were also tested on our intelligence, and answered some very perplexing questions which kept us thinking on our toes.

Another mistaken impression of mine had to do with the models’ appearances. I had the impression that more often than not, surgically enhanced models were preferred over more natural-looking ones, which is also another reason why I entered this pageant without having many high hopes that I could do well. However, I was proven wrong as I managed to compete and do well in this pageant with all my simplicity, and without being over the top.

Eve: When you’re not modelling, what do you do that gives you equal pleasure?

NH: I consider my everyday life to be far from extraordinary! First and foremost, I am a student and my studies always come first, and I tend to keep my hobbies on the side, especially during exam season. One of my most favourite things to do is to try out new restaurants and experience different cuisines. Many would not be able to tell when first meeting me, but I really do love eating! I love fashion and clothing an awful lot too, and my spendthrift behaviour often drives my family and my boyfriend crazy. I also love travelling whenever I have enough time and finances, and I have a whole list of cities that I would love to visit in the near future. I’m also quite the avid reader when I have some time on my hands, I especially love dystopian novels, like 1984 by George Orwell.

Eve: Do you feel you have enough space to spread your artistic wings in Malta?

NH: In my slight experience as a model, I learnt that there is a place for everyone in the modelling industry. There are loads of modelling agencies and plenty of fashion designers looking for freelance models for their photoshoots and fashion shows.

Eve: If any of our readers were interested in trying to break into modelling, what would you recommend them to start with?

NH: Do not underestimate yourself. Very often, you might not even realise your own potential. Make sure to surround yourself with people who want to see you succeed, and cut out nay-sayers from your life for good. There may be moments where someone else less deserving was able to achieve what you wanted, but that does not mean that you should give up. There will come a time when you will shine. Always work hard, and never forget who helped you achieve your desired results.