99FM – Your Inspiration Station

Celebrating Multichoice Namibia’s 25th Anniversary with Michelle Mclean-Bailey

The Pebble in the Pond, Creating a Ripple for Change

Michelle McLean-Bailey started her modelling career at the age of thirteen and was crowned Miss Namibia in 1991. At the age of 19 she was crowned Miss Universe in 1992 and became the first woman from Namibia to win the crown to date.

In 1995, Michelle was instrumental in bringing the Miss Universe pageant to Namibia. She is a well-known international media personality, entrepreneur and philanthropist. Michelle was a M-Net presenter from 1995 to 2003 and was the presenter on a lifestyle show for SuperSport during the FIFA World Cup in 2010.

She established the Michelle McLean Trust in 1992, and in 1998 Michelle was presented with The Lifetime Achievement Award for her philanthropy work. She is currently a professional life coach.

Michelle, what’s your philosophy in life?

It’s important for me to empower, compassion and as much valuable information to people around me, and therefore, having had a children’s trust, Michelle McLean Childrens’ Trust for twenty-five years. It’s actually also celebrating its 25th anniversary this June.

My passion has always been to be able to share what I have in life with other people. Using my platform as Miss Universe with the visibility, how much money I could actually raise, that was a big part of my passion in my life. To be able to help other people and I think I have. I grew up in Namibia knowing that there was always a lot of work to do for the communities. Now that I’m living in the States with my husband, we are motivational speakers on the topic of helping people to deal with stress and pressure. So every day of my life I am expressing the passion that I have for trying to help people have healthier, successful and happier lives.

Is what you are doing now what you’ve always wanted to do?

I’ve been very fortunate to have my career evolve from becoming Miss Universe and then doing television for 25 years and now being a motivational speaker. I would have to say yes, it’s a dream job. I get to travel with my husband. We speak together, I see the world and I get to be in front of people on the stage or on television and I also get to do valuable work that is meaningful in people’s lives.

What is your biggest success up until now?

I think my life has been very, very fortunate in so many ways. First and foremost being a mother. Being able to establish the Michelle McLean Childrens’ Trust. 25 years later I can honestly say that it’s not only been a passion and one of the greatest achievements in my life but I’m sure it’s helped thousands of people in Namibia.

Share one of your favourite memories on your journey with MultiChoice?

Okay, well it definitely would have to be the trip to Egypt. I had just found out that I was pregnant with Luke. There were a couple of us that were taken up for this huge function in Cairo. I’d been to Egypt before, so I’d seen the pyramids and Luxor and in fact I went there on my honeymoon, when I was married to Neil, Luke’s Dad. I was sharing with my fellow presenters, all the exciting places we could have gone, but we didn’t have the time to do that. We all travelled to the pyramids the one day and went on camels and, I don’t think my fellow presenters realised how much camels stink. So there’s these photographs of us half holding our noses. With these cameras following us we had to be all, oh, this is such a lovely experience everybody, you should all try camel rides. So that was funny. Just the perspective of a presenter you know, especially when you do travel logs to say oh, this is fun really, you are not going to be surprised by the smell.

When you are in Namibia or South Africa, is there a specific DStv show you watch?

I’ve always been very fond of the movie channel. It’s also nice for me to get a dose of KykNET as well. We don’t obviously get Afrikaans here in America and I grew up with the Afrikaans culture and it’s just nice to see part of my fellow presenters. It’s like going down memory lane and just catching up with a whole bunch of former presenter friends.

How has MultiChoice enriched your life?

It gave me the opportunity that I had in television. I started with M-Net in 1995, so I spent many, many years right up until 2010, working on the SuperSport channel for the World Cup in 2010. So I can say it gave me a wonderful platform for my career in television.

How has your association with MultiChoice allowed you to make a difference in your community and what difference have you made?

Well most prominently the fact that I was kept in the public eye, in the media spotlight through my presenting as an M-Net presenter and doing various other shows. I was able to utilize that visibility to raise funds for the Michelle McLean Childrens’ Trust and that’s been over twenty years now and it’s been hugely valuable to the visibility of the Michelle McLean Childrens’ Trust.

How has your association with MultiChoice allowed you to tell your story or narrative, share your passions and pursue your own personal dreams?

I not only fulfilled my love for having a career in television. Being a part of the MultiChoice and M-Net family for many years, I was able to raise millions for underprivileged children and for the education of children in Southern Africa through my association with MultiChoice.

What’s next for Michelle McLean-Bailey?

I’m going to continue working with the projects of the Michelle McLean Childrens’ Trust throughout Namibia. I will be back in July bringing ten leadership students from Miami. They are going to do a cross cultural experience with schools that I’ve identified in Namibia and doing a safari and going to the desert and Swakopmund and learning about conservation there. Then there are quite a few other projects where I’ve raised quite a bit of money from American sources here, to put back into schools in Namibia – I will be rolling that out in the next few months this year.

My husband and I will continue to travel with our motivational talks. I hope to do a few motivational talks in Namibia and South Africa too.