Presenting Miss Havana 2021 – Gislain Billy! A fashionista in her own right, Gislain is a young woman hailing from Lelepa island and dreams of one day opening up her own fashion boutique. Empowered by the classes she has taken at Wan Smolbag including sewing, singing, guitar and drumming, Gislain is fearless in her journey to unlock her creative potential and lives by the quote “Learn from yesterday, live today and hope for tomorrow.” In this photoshoot, Gislain is modeling her own clothes that she has designed and sewn on her home island.
#AelanQueen #WomanLelepa #TuffTumas #FashionDesigner #MissHavana
Where are you from?
I am from Lelepa Island and part Banks.
Tell us about your family?
My mother’s name is Fiona and my father’s name is Brownie Billy. I have a brother and a sister, both older than me. My parents are my backbone, always supporting whatever I choose to do, my siblings are like my second parents, they give me support in anything that I need. I feel very fortunate to have my family.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to go fishing with my father, I play volleyball and when I am not doing that, I am mostly on my sewing machine, making outfits for myself and friends.
What do you study? Do you work?
I left school in year 9 because of personal reasons. I have taken Wan Smol Bag sewing classes as well as music classes, vocal lessons, and learned how to play the guitar and the drum. This has helped me tremendously in the sense that it has made me believe in myself and my potential.
What do you aspire to do in the future?
My goal for the future is to pursue a career in fashion and open a local boutique. This is very important to me as I would like to help support my family one day and give back to them all the support they have been giving me and continue to give me.
What is a quote that you live by?
“Learn from yesterday, live today and hope for tomorrow’ – Unknown
How would you describe your style?
My style is mixed with modern and islander! Stylish but conservative enough to show respect for our Christian and cultural values and standards here in Vanuatu. I love fashion because when I see other people wearing outfits I like, I can make them for myself even if I can’t buy them!
Who influences your style?
My aunties most definitely and of course, myself.
What beauty products do you use?
I use coconut oil for my hair and skin, eyeliner for my eyes and I love the ‘Red Rose’ perfume that can be found at Prouds or Healthwise.
Any fashion tips?
Wear what you choose to wear, do not worry about whatever other people say, as long as you know you feel pretty but also decent. There are no limits when it comes to fashion.
What are three words you would use to describe yourself?
Creative, committed and loving.
What is one thing you wish you could tell your younger self?
I would tell her: do not listen to the negative comments people throw at you, those words are meant to break you. Do not let it break you down.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
It would have to be when I won the ‘Sewing and Design competition’ in Lelepa in 2020. Later in 2021 I went on to win ‘Miss Havana’ hosted in Tanoliu. These experiences will always be in my heart and mind as they were huge accomplishments for me.
Make-up: Hair & Body Shop
Photographer: Niki Kuautonga
Assistant: Umi Nompavos
Designer: Gislain Billy
This article was originally published in the Vanuatu Daily Post’s June 2022 Life and Style magazine edition.