From the very moment she was crowned the 2017 Miss Botswana, Nicole Gaelebale was a big bundle of controversy.
But for the queen, that’s the moment she knew that God answers prayers. She knew then that perseverance pays and most of all that dreams do come true.
For most, her win came as a shock, not only because some thought her counterparts deserved it better but because she was the same girl who tried five times without any luck, yet still came back and eventually won. Her story is one of a kind, and her kind is rare.
The 2017 queen hails from Mahalapye and is a daughter amongst two other siblings to a single mother. “Being raised by a strong single mother who I have watched defy all odds to raise three strong children, I would not have been my mother’s child, if I had given up at any point,” she says.
Nicole comes across as a humble, sweet and a gentle young lady. Her height enchanting and she wears the most mesmerising and warm smile that can be felt from a distance.
In an exclusive interview with BG Style the young lady shares that her love for pageantry began when she was still a little girl, “But I never won,” she jokingly laughs.
“It is only in 2008 when my efforts were rewarded when I took away the Miss Ledumang Secondary and in the same year scooped Miss Teen and I never really stopped”.
Her strong-will resonates well with her patience and grit to become what she saw as herself. “My dream is to become ‘Miss World’ and I will not stop until I am there,” she maintains.
Gaelebale draws most of her inspiration and drive from her mother, who she says has been a big part of her growth in the pageantry. “She is not a quitter, and therefore instilled similar values in me.
“There was a year I was confident I was going to take the Miss Botswana title, but I became a princess instead, I was so sad and for sometimes the thoughts of giving up reigned on me.
“I even sold all my shoes, thinking it is all over. But you see, the thing with having a dream, it keeps reminding you why you started in the first place. I had to stand up again and keep on.”
She says at 26, her dream almost faded right in front of her. “The contest usually takes up to 25, but this year it was extended by a year.”
This presented her an opportunity to try again. “I tried again only to realise that it was the very year I would win. Had I given up, I would not be Miss Botswana today,” she says boldly.
In retrospect she says all the time she spent investing in contesting for Miss Botswana while coming out unsuccessful were all worth it. “Preparation is key and only meaningful preparations are rewarded in the end,” she adds.
The queen urges young women and girls to never give up in their dreams no matter how long it takes. “Take that time as a time to prepare, learn and build as much as you can, and trust God’s timing.”
For her, she turned all her losses to gains by preparing for Miss World all the times she did not win. “The aim is to win Miss World, but I realised if I am to attain that far I would first need to win Miss Botswana.
“Through this time I was able to learn that pageantry is not all about looking good and showcasing what you have but more to do with what you will give back to the people.”
During her preparation, she has been able to gather herself, her strengths and most of all ready her NGO for the task ahead. “Now after all these years we are more than ready for Miss World.”
Gaelebale will represent the country at Miss World grand finale which will be held on 18 November 2017. Under her belt she has titles like Miss Botswana first runner up 2015, Miss Earth 2014 and Miss Global Botswana 2012.
“It has been a long walk to victory,” she teases.