Gibraltar gave a rapturous 'welcome home' to Kaiane Aldorino, Miss Gibraltar yesterday afternoon, following her spectacular crowning as our very own Miss World, at the glittering beauty pageant finale in Johannesburg South Africa, last Saturday!
In scenes reminiscent of the returns to Gibraltar of Sir Joshua Hassan and Sir Peter Isola, following their visits in the 60's to the United Nations, thousands turned out to welcome back this triumphal daughter of Gibraltar, now crowned as the most beautiful woman in the world... Gibraltar's own Miss World!
Today's Gibraltar Chronicle reports that Gibraltar came to a buzzing standstill yesterday afternoon, showered in red and white, and bathed in sunshine, to welcome Miss World 2009 Kaiane Aldorino back home.
There were unprecedented scenes of jubilation of enormous magnitude, with an entire population wanting to join in this once in a lifetime celebration, wanting to be a part of history – not just local but world history.
On Main Street the crowds were three and four lines deep, with flags unfurled, and confetti hurled high into the air. In John Mackintosh Square the scene was simply unbelievable – standing shoulder to shoulder Gibraltarians jam-packed in the square rocked in cheer. The Spanish press itself cited some 15,000 people.
There was an uproar of elation as the most beautiful girl in the world stepped on to the balcony at the City Hall.
The sentiment was warm, heartfelt and sheer delight. ‘I love Gibraltar,” cried an emotional Miss World. The rapturous cheers were deafening. The pouring of emotion, - of hopes, aspirations and dreams come true was overwhelming.
As humble as ever, she added, “If I was a proud Gibraltarian before, I am even prouder now, and proud to be here with everyone – thank you all for all your support.”
GBC Television 'Live' video
Gibraltar's local televiion channel, GBC TV, covered Kaiane's arrival live and has made the footage available via 'Livestream':
"Proud to be your ambassador"
As the champagne flowed and Kaiane made a toast, her family joined her on the balcony and she proudly introduced them… and again she addressed the crowds:
"This is a dream come true and I would not be feeling half of what I am feeling inside, if it was not for you. It is a day for all of us. I am proud to be your ambassador!"
As everyone sang, rocked and cheered to ‘We are the Champions’ – the feeling was one of euphoria.
Steve Douglas, Miss World Event Director, in disbelief at the scenes he was witnessing declared:
"I have taken many Miss Worlds home but we have never had a welcome like Gibraltar – never did we expect this – what a beautiful, beautiful country!"
He announced that during her reign she would be travelling to more than 50 countries, and that she would tell the world about Gibraltar.
Still taken in by the moment, he said:
"It was our job to bring your daughter home, the daughter of Gibraltar, to celebrate with the whole country!"
As Culture Minister Edwin Reyes joined her on the balcony he proclaimed:
"Kaiane, you will always be in our hearts!"
As the crowds clapped to the beat of Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’, Miss World joined in raising her arms with the whole population in triumph – this was definitely her day! And Gibraltar’s!
Miss World Welcomed by Chief Minister
On arrival at Gibraltar Airport, flown in by a private jet chartered by the Gibraltar Government, it was Chief Minister Peter Caruana who first greeted her with a warm Gibraltarian embrace, the embrace that all of Gibraltar wanted to give Kaiane. As he welcomed her he handed her a bouquet of red and white roses. Also there to greet her was Mrs Caruana, and Culture Minister Edwin Reyes and Mrs Reyes.
Kaiane's joy was evident and it was clear it was her family who she was keen to see. Her mother, her father and especially her sister Noelle, who had not seen her since before she left for the Miss World contest, burst into tears on seeing her.
A few hundred people had also gathered at the specially prepared area of the tarmac, to be there and witness this special moment. Standing behind a barrier, along with hordes of press photographers, the first cheer came as they saw the jet for the first time. The cries went up a notch as she stepped onto the red carpet from the Gibjet which had brought her back home. Security was very tight and all awaiting her had to go through security as if they were boarding a flight.
The jet circled the runway to the sounds of the Fire Defence Service fire engine sirens following it, adorned with Gibraltar flags. Co-piloted by Gibraltarian Mark Carreras the plane came to a standstill in front of the iconic image of The Rock of Gibraltar, as Miss World appeared, dressed in a black suit wearing the Miss World Crown, she was greeted to the sounds of a fanfare by the buglers and a piper of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment. It was Gerry Fortuna on the bagpipes who serenaded her to the sounds of ‘Los llanitos son asi’.
Speaking at the Gibraltar Airport on her arrival, Chief Minister Peter Caruana, boldly and proudly stated:
"Gibraltar has two Queens, Her Majesty The Queen, and Kaiane Aldorino!"
The Chief Minister excitedly added:
"This breaks all records, and we are all very proud of this global achievement. She will prove to be a wonderful ambassador for Gibraltar and for the Miss World Organisation!"
Speaking to The Chronicle reporter, Kaiane said:
"I am just feeling great. I can’t wait to see what has been planned!"
Her Miss World title, she confessed, "was just beginning to sink in".
Following a brief moment with her family and a change of dress, now in a smart red suit and her Miss World Crown, Kaiane was driven past Winston Churchill Avenue adorned with Gibraltar flags and Gibraltar Chronicle posters, and a large banner on the bridge which read ‘welcome home Kaiane – Miss World 2009’, people lining the streets in pockets along the way.
The scene awaiting Kaiane in Main Street were "beyond anyone’s wildest imagination" reports the Chronicle.
Miss World was transferred to the same car that paraded the late Princess Diana and Prince Charles through Gibraltar’s streets during their controversial honeymoon visit to Gibraltar. The Triumph was driven by Odette Benatar, escorted by three RGP motorists, and led up Main Street by the band of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment.
As she entered through the Casemates Gates, the crowds erupted – as she entered Main Street through a specially created arch of red and white balloons – the tears of joy and cheers and cries of ‘Kaiane’, ‘Welcome Home’, could barely be heard above the general uproar.
From balconies, from windows, and all along the street Gibraltar flags were being waved frantically – there were people of all ages. This was the smiling face of Gibraltar, - the day we all wanted to treasure.
On the balcony of City Hall, Christian Santos, who organised the 'welcome', announced her arrival; "The reigning Miss World 2009, Our very own Kaiane Aldorino" and the gathered crowd of thousands went wild with cheers and applause.
Francis Chipolina sang the emotional Gibraltarian song ‘Llevame Donde Naci’ (Take me where I was born) and tenor Nathan Payas also performed the Gibraltar National Anthem ‘Gibraltar, Gibraltar’, and the crowd joined in and sang along.
The cheers and cries of the people as Gibraltar’s beauty queen stepped on to the balcony to greet her people was deafening. In a cloud of confetti and streamers, and flags waving, she waved to everyone with a radiant smile. Again and again she moved across the balcony making sure everyone saw her – as they shouted “guapa!”, “well done Kaiane”, “Kaiane, Kaiane, we love you!”
'A Model of Consistency'
Chief Minister Peter Caruana yesterday declared that Kaiane in a very short period of time had transformed the sentiment and emotion of her entire fellow citizens.
"It is difficult to imagine that any single Gibraltarian can ever have a greater effect on the sentiment of the entire country, as Kaiane has had on the people of Gibraltar in the last few days, and today in particular."
Mr Caruana made these comments at the opening of the Press Conference at the Rock Hotel.
"We are unspeakably proud and happy that our own Miss Gibraltar has been able to triumph stunningly in South Africa and is now the reigning Miss World," he stated, describing her as "the most beautiful flower in the world".
"We entrust her to the Miss World Organisers," he added assuring that the Government of Gibraltar would give her and her family any support necessary throughout her reign.
"The Miss World Organisation has now seen how special she is to us all, they have seen what Gibraltar feels towards her, so they know that they are going to have to look after something very precious to lots and lots of people."
Mr Caruana said he had no doubt that she would be an equally successful ambassador for Miss World and for Gibraltar.
Steve Douglas on behalf of the Miss World spoke of the emotional roller coaster the experience had so far been for Kaiane.
He emphasised she had been a model of consistency in everything she had done.
"She has a wonderful way of expressing herself, and making everyone around her feel that they are special. That impressed the judges, and we feel she is going to be a fantastic Miss World!"
Addressing the press (live on Radio Gibraltar), Miss World was obviously content to be back home.
"To see my family, to see all my loved ones, my friends, my community, I am just really happy to be back!"
She admitted she had never expected the support or how Gibraltar had welcomed her with open arms. "I will treasure it forever," she said.
Asked if she now believed that she was really Miss World, she said:
"I should start believing it now because the whole of Gibraltar believes it. Seeing how proud Gibraltar is has given me the motivation and encouragement to do more, and I am truly looking forward to the year ahead."
Her travels begin in January when she heads for Asia beginning with Japan, Korea and Vietnam.
She stated that when she travels the world she will take everything about Gibraltar, "what can I leave behind?" she asked.
Mr Douglas emphasised that this was important year for the Miss World Organisation as it headed towards its 60th anniversary, and continued its charity work and brought to realisation the Miss World motto "beauty with a purpose".
I am indebted to David Parody who very kindly provided these great images of Kaiane Aldorino, Miss Gibraltar and Miss World 2009.
Photo © DM Parody (http://dotcom.gi/photos).
More of David's great images of Miss Gibraltar (now Miss World) can be seen on his Flickr channel and on the Facebook Group - Kaiane Aldorino, Miss Gibraltar & Miss World 2009