Today we travel in the Netherlands with the portrait of Swelia Da Silva Antonia crowned MISTER SUPRANATIONAL Netherlands 2020-2021 and candidate for Miss SUPRANATIONAL 2021, which will take place Sunday August 21 at Strzelecki Park Amphitheater, in Nowy Sącz, Poland.–
Inside Pageant – Can you tell our audience a little about yourself?
My name is Swelia Da Silva Antonio, 24-years-old living in The Hague – the Netherlands. I’m a first generation migrant as I moved here a the age of two together with my family. Overall I’m a studious person and right now I’m finishing a premaster in public administration and I hold a Bachelor’s degree in European Studies. After this, I aspire to continue to pursue a Master’s degree in governance of migration and diversity. Aside from my academic performances, I’m the ambassador for education at an organisation that empowers black women in Dutch society called Black Ladies Talk. In combination with my title of Miss Supranational, I take on projects to address the issue of intersectionality, especially in education.
Inside Pageant – Who is the most influential person in your life?
The most influential person in my life is my mother. As I grow older I realise the inexhaustible strength, resilience, intelligence and perseverance she shows in life. It strengthens me to know that I’m a product of such exemplar human being and to have access to her wisdom. Even though she isn’t always familiar with the encounters I have in my life, she surely has necessary assets to navigate in the journey of life.
Inside Pageant – What values did this person teach you that made you better?
Among many, one core value worth mentioning is summarised in an Angolan saying: [translated] ‘lies have short legs’. This means that sooner or later lies will be discovered. Therefore, it’s better to act with sincerity and integrity. Adding to this, she explained that one’s honesty will open doors that a lie could never, so the truth will lead you to your purpose.
Inside Pageant – What is your motivation and what do you feel grateful for every day?
My motivation is knowing that my purpose is part of a greater process of creating a better world now as well as for generations to come. I’m intrinsically inclined to be a helping person and answering to this call feels satisfying. In this, I direct my energy to issues close to my heart and experiences, such as the issue of intersectionality in education and issues faced by black women in society. I’m grateful for the ordinary things; health, love and peace of heart and mind.
Inside Pageant – What is the one thing you can label as your guilty pleasure?
Occasionally, I like to take long and hot showers, because it helps me to get centred, reflect and find calmness. However, I consider it my guilty pleasure as I’m aware of the fact that it impacts the environment in a negative way, which in turn I care about a lot. It’s complicated!
Inside Pageant – What is your motto?
My motto is ‘the way is forward’. In my past I dealt with many disappointments and obstacles. Frankly, often times those difficulties were unfair as they were rooted in discrimination and racism. Therefore, I needed to create a coping mechanism that would get me back on my feet and going. For me it worked well knowing that there is always a way forward and a reason to continue.
Inside Pageant – What are your hobbies and interests?
I’m most interested in people, because it’s intriguing to learn about cultures and new ways of living. This is linked to my interest in languages; I practice English, Dutch, Portuguese, French a little bit of German and I’m slowly learning Spanish. I also have hobbies, those include cooking for family and friends. I like to give receipts a twist of my own, which I then call ‘à la Swelia’. Lastly, I love kizomba music and the kizomba dance as well. It’s a style originating in Angola, very close to zouk and similar to Latin styles as well.
Inside Pageant – You was crowned Miss Supranational Netherlands 2020-2021. Tell us about your pageant history
My pageant experience started in 2017 when I decided to go to a casting, knowing I wouldn’t be able to actually compete because at the time I was going to move to Sweden. I did that to experiment a first impression. I passed through the selection of the casting, however I couldn’t continue. The experiment was still a success, because in 2019 I completed participation in a pageant where I won the titles of 1st Runner Up and Best in National Costume. After that I joined the pageant to compete for the title of Miss Supranational Netherlands 20/21 – ‘Hello, this is yours truly speaking!’
Inside Pageant – How did you start in beauty pageants?
I started participating in beauty pageants because of my aspiration to contribute to society. A close family member tagged me in a post on Facebook saying that I should just try it out for once, because they saw me in such position way before I even considered my own potential. From there, a seed was planted and the rest is history.
Inside Pageant – What inspired you to do your first pageant? What inspired you to participate in beauty pageants?
I was impressed by the historic win in Miss Universe of Leila Lopes, Miss Angola 2011. However, I didn’t think it would be a path designed for me since I was focussed on my studies. In 2019, when I was completing my Bachelor’s, I looked for ways to give back to society by sharing my knowledge and intellect for the betterment of the world. My little experiment back in 2017 led me enter the world of pageantry.
Inside Pageant – What’s the most rewarding in a contest for you?
The contests I participated in thought me many lessons and the challenges I encountered were opportunities to develop. I grew as a person, in my character, world view, skills and not only that, I was also able to inspire people with my story and to empower them to be determined and persevere in what they believe in for themselves. I wouldn’t trade this for anything now that I’ve experienced it, this is the most rewarding thing in beauty pageants for me.
Inside Pageant – What is the most difficult or disappointing in a contest for you?
One thing I despise is bringing people down or devaluing them. In life I have been bullied a lot, so to see someone else be dehumanised provokes feelings of resentment in me. Unfortunately, I have seen this happen in pageantry as well. I try to shut down the situation by speaking up against it. Personally, this is the most disappointing thing in beauty pageants.
Inside Pageant – How did competing in pageants helped your life? How will pageant competition help you develop as a person?
The lessons I learned as a participant in beauty pageants and as a title holder can be applied in my professional career, also stretch it to the social realm. I believe that being in the field is the best way to enrich oneself. This is the prize I hadn’t anticipated to win or even expected.
Inside Pageant – Your fitness and health secret?
No secrets to share on this subject, really. I like to think that my food consumption is balanced. What helps is that I’m a huge fan of fruits and veggies.
Inside Pageant – What is your on stage strategy to win the judges over at Miss Supranational?
To win over the judges on stage at Miss Supranational, I’ll put my authenticity at work. To convey a message I don’t only use speech, but also body language and facial expressions. The goal is to catch their attention and mesmerise them throughout my stage moment.
Inside Pageant – How do you define your style? What’s your strength?
I would say my style is best defined as versatile, because many colours work on me, same goes for designs. However, I mostly prefer clothes with solid colours and not too much going on in the design or pattern. For example, since a young age I get nausea from polka dots. Can you imagine?
Inside Pageant – What is the most fun and exciting thing about participating in a beauty contest?
The most exciting thing, stepping away from the goal-oriented part to the entertainment value part, I would say is the high level of interaction between people happening in such a short period of time. This causes a dynamic that excites my and awakens my energetic and social characteristics. It also allows me to be exposed to many people of different cultures.
Inside Pageant – Can you describe what it’s been like holding a beauty title during a pandemic?
Holding a beauty title during a pandemic is the only experience I’ve had so far. I tried my very best to share my message of empowerment to overcome challenges posed by intersectionality. A lot of it was online. Looking at the image of what a beauty queen does, I would say the biggest difference is that during my reign I wasn’t able to visit places. Yet, through the Internet and social media I believe to have reached many people and to have been impactful. In the end that was what I aimed at.
Inside Pageant – As a pageant winner, you work on several projects. Tell us about your platform or what cause do you volunteer for.
As a person, I’m socially oriented. This is reflected through my personality, my academic works, the beauty pageants and my role as Ambassador for Education at Black Ladies Talk. All that I am and do, I interconnect in my projects that I build from the ground up. For instance, for my dissertation I did research at a local school in Amsterdam to diminish the work pressure on its teachers. Teachers who are pressed are less able to perform, which is a risk to upholding intersectionality. My projects are meant to impact society and I’m working towards a leadership position. This helps in bringing about sustainable positive change in society.
Inside Pageant – What are some of your achievements?
I’m proud of the woman I am and works I do today. I feel like it’s of utmost importance to be thankful of where we stand at the present moment. Therefore, I feel blessed to have a successful academic career with a Bachelor’s, almost having finished my premaster’s and I’m accepted to a special Master’s programme at a highly accredited university, I’m honoured to be Miss Supranational Netherlands and show the world the best of us, I’m grateful for the journey towards Miss Supranational and finally I’m grateful to fulfil my role as Ambassador for Education at Black Ladies Talk. Moreover, I’m pleased to have better and stronger relations with my loved ones.
Inside Pageant – How will you use your title to benefit others?
The main reason for me to participate in beauty pageants was to contribute to the betterment of our global society. I focus on projects having to do with intersectionality in education, social (in)justice and human rights. These are high impact areas and I believe that with me on the task, positive change is bound to happen.
Inside Pageant – How would you empower women?
I empower women through my role as an Ambassador for Education at Black Ladies Talk. Also, I aim to be an example and to show good practice. That’s because I want women to see that it’s possible, whatever you aspire the options are endless.
Inside Pageant – What does it mean to you to be a Beauty Queen?
Being a beauty queen to me is the first among her equals. A representative of people and a spokesperson to address a social issue. She functions as a bridge between disconnected people and societies and so brings unity. However, above all I believe a beauty queen is human. With that, she’s able to be genuine, show emotion, be approachable and learn along the way like any other human being.
Inside Pageant – Are you desperate when you lose your phone ?
I wouldn’t say desperate, because I love some time offline. But without the device itself I would get a bit disoriented, since everything is saved in there. From schedule, to notes, conversations – an entire existence. It’s a tool that helps me a lot on a daily.
Inside Pageant – What is your favorite social media app or tool?
Instagram, undoubtedly! Very visual, it contains music, searching features and it’s fairly easy to use.
Inside Pageant – What do we find in your bag?
A lip moisturiser, hand cream, tissues, a mirror, chewing gum, keys and ID and debit cards are all mandatory!
Inside Pageant – What’s wow in your bag?
Alcohol gel – also before the pandemic!
Inside Pageant – What’s the essential item you always put in your bag?
Phone, keys and debit card.
Inside Pageant – What will we never find in your bag?
Cigarettes maybe – I’m not a fan of smoking.
Inside Pageant – Lastly, is there any message that you would like to give to your fans at Inside Pageant? Inspirational special message to IP readers?
A tremendous thank you for your interest in me and my journey towards the Blue Crown of Miss Supranational 2021. This Supra season I’m doing all that I can to convey a message of togetherness, and in the end this is all I want you to remember: be good, practice love and seek to progress every day in order to bridge the gap of social inequality in society. Together we can. All the best, yours sincerely – Miss Supranational Netherlands 20/21.
Thanks you for your time Swelia and good luck for your preparation. See you on the stage of Miss Supranational in August.