In the middle of a pandemic that has wrenched the globe off its axis, one Lebanese woman stands as a beacon of hope for women, the youth, and all other marginalized sectors: Lisa Shatila.
Before her engagements in international beauty pageants and being recognized as a famous model in the region, Lisa realized how hard it was growing up in a country struggling with an ongoing financial crisis that became fully apparent in 2019 and was further exacerbated by the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic.
”There are two kinds of girls who participate in international beauty pageants: those who are there for the experience and those who are trained to win,” explains Lisa. “Lebanon is classified in the first category,” she adds.
Lisa said she decided to work first to help her country, which was grappling with a severe economic crisis and had time and again faced shortages of basic products.
“Let’s face it. In times of crises, whether that be a conflict or a disaster, women usually endure extreme hardships, which include increased insecurity and violence, restricted movements, and added domestic responsibilities,” says Lisa.
While there is increasing recognition of the need for the participation of women in humanitarian action, for example, women’s leadership roles continue to be underutilized across the globe.
Lisa said she had to do the work needed before training as a beauty queen to change her body and work her way towards becoming an inspiration to many young girls.
“For me, before reaching my dreams in becoming a global ambassador in international pageants, such as Miss Universe, Miss World, or Miss International, I had to become what a true Miss Lebanon stands for – and that is to help my country get back on its feet in an era of turmoil and a seemingly never-ending crisis,” Lisa explained.
Lisa eventually became Miss Lebanon, which gave her tremendous opportunity to advocate for the causes close to her heart – ending violence, elevating the role of women in society, and ramping up efforts for peace resolutions around the world.
“It starts here, in Lebanon, where I grew up. For me, it’s about getting back on the growth path after a continued slide towards ruin. I believe in my country, and I believe in the people at home,” she says.
Apart from being Miss Lebanon, Lisa is a film producer, a model, and a marathon runner. She has inspired hundreds of Lebanese girls to achieve whatever dreams they have in life.
Those who want to learn more about Lisa may visit her Instagram page for more information.