Jessica Kahawaty, who was the second runner-up for Miss World 2012, is more than a pretty face—the Lebanese Australian beauty queen is also a model, TV host, charity worker, lawyer, and the most recent big name to open and close the Kookai Runway. All in all, Kahawaty, 29, may be considered an overachiever but with the brains, beauty, and kindness most of us can only hope to achieve. It’s her personal story, which she believes will provide her career with longevity.
“You need to be special and unique in your own way in this industry…know what your hobbies or passions are and highlight those things that make you,” Kahawaty said. For her, this means being a humanitarian, specifically for refugee-related children’s issues. “My family and I travelled to the Middle East when I was younger…I think about the children who have nothing to do politically or socially with the conflict yet are caught up in it.”
Kahawaty, whose passion becomes clear when discussing humanitarian issues, brings that same passion toward her family. They’re also the reason Kahawaty, who begins each day with warm water and Manuka honey, began organic living about two years prior. “Both my parents were diagnosed with cancer at the same time in 2015. It was really difficult. We went through a lot of lifestyle changes then and researched ways to really reduce the risk and live healthier lifestyles,” Kahawaty said.
As part of this lifestyle, Kahawaty uses vegan, chemical-free products, such as for cleaning, and eats plant-based dishes in restaurants, as she likes to avoid meat that isn’t organic. “Sometimes, I’ll put myself on a vegan diet for a week, and I find myself in a more energetic state…but I love all sorts of food and think everything in moderation is great,” says Kahawaty, who also uses meditation when she’s feeling overwhelmed. “They say if you have time, you should meditate for an hour, and if you don’t have time, you should meditate for two…You have to take time for your mental health.”
However, the greatest health lesson Kahawaty has learned, besides those from her parents’ cancer diagnoses, came earlier in the year during a particularly hectic schedule. “In one week, I was on a plane for 70 hours. Sure, it’s good to have extreme and intense times of working and travelling, but you also need to give your body a break, so you’re not just functioning on adrenaline.”
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