Miss Solomon Islands Gladys Habu
SOLOMON Islands has never won a Miss Pacific Islands Title, nor make it to the final or the top level.
But all that changed when the country contested again last year 2019 and made it to an impressive 1st runner up for the Miss Pacific Islands Title Beauty Pageant held in Papua New Guinea.
This is a history for the country, as our representative, Gladys Habu beat 12 other beautiful girls to make it to second place (1st runner up).
Indeed a dream comes true for this down to earth Gladys Habu.
Not only she currently holds the Miss Solomon Islands Title 2019-2020, but she’s a pharmacist, currently working full time at the National Referral Hospital.
It was through her job as a pharmacist that she came to join the Miss Solomon Islands Beauty Pageant.
“When I first compete at the Miss Pacific Islands contest last year knowing that I’ll be competing against 12 girls from other Pacific islands, my heart was pumping fast,” she recalls.
“It was a big challenge for me, but I have the support and motivation from many people knowing that I’m carrying my country’s name on my shoulders,” Gladys added.
“I kept in mind that I must do my best and that support and motivation really helped me pushed hard to reach the top of Miss Pacific Islands 2019-2020 competition.
“I have to step out of my comfort zone, considering these things were new to me and my respect for our culture as well.
“After all I’ve never in my whole life thought I would be joining the Miss Solomon Islands competition”.
Gladys revealed that she worked at the National Referral Hospital as a pharmacist where she actively supports the hospital’s dispensary, medicines information center, and the hospital’s Oncology (Cancer) Unit.
Not only that she’s also working as an external lecturer with the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) to support the new diploma course in Pharmacy Technology.
It’s a first of its kind to be introduced in the country, and she’s excited about this new course.
“My job is to look after and supervise students who came to do their practical work at the hospital’s pharmacy, which is very rewarding for me and I look forward to working with the students throughout this semester.”
How was that possible?
Having a full-time job as a pharmacist, assist in lecturing SINU students and her role as Miss Solomon Islands, Gladys had that all covered, thanks to her diary book, where she keeps track of all her engagements, appointments, event, and her work.
She also has a “To-Do List”, which really helps her in sorting out tasks each day.
“So in between my full-time job or after working hours, I do as much as possible to support various groups and organizations within the country in the activities they do.
“As Miss Solomon Islands, my bosses at the hospital are well aware of my role.”
Joining the Miss Solomon Islands began during her internship at the National Referral Hospital Pharmacy.
Through her working closely with the cancer unit, she was asked to contest and use the platform to give awareness on cancer, specifically cervical and breast cancer.
“I choose Cervical and Breast cancers because these are the two most common and number one killer sickness that mostly affects our women and girls in our country.
“We have the highest number of deaths from these two cancers.
“Women or girls who have these cancers can go as far as age nineteen.
“So we definitely need to advocate more about these cancers, so we can detect them at an early stage and treat them before they get worse.”
Gladys also used the Miss Solomon Island platform to carry on her role in advocating on Climate Change, as she saw with her own eyes an island disappeared or sunk undersea at her home village in Isabel Province.
With that, her passion in advocating for climate change builds up and before entering Miss Solomon contest, Gladys has an opportunity to advocate on climate change by having interviews with 60 Minutes Channel, Australia, and ITV News from London which of course put the Solomon Islands on the frontline of the fight against Climate Change.
Gladys never stopped there.
Recently she got involved in another Climate Change documentary which was done by a TV crew from The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
The documentary will come out sometime this year.
So far Gladys says she’s enjoying her role as Miss Solomon Islands.
Even though it comes with its challenges, it also helps to improve herself in life.
“I’m privileged to have this opportunity and take on this role, and I encourage girls out there when such opportunities come up, please do take it as it will help boost your confidence and your skills in leadership and you’ll learn a lot from this platform.
“Of course there’ll be challenges but be ready to face them, every day brings new challenges, nothing comes easy in life.
“Personally the best way to go about it is to use these challenges to drive performance rather than allowing it to limit the potential you have.
“I believe challenges give us an opportunity to self-reflect on ourselves and see how we can improve”.
Gladys also highlighted one biggest challenge she came across when joining the Miss Solomon Islands contest.
She said people were commenting about her skin color on the media.
“I just want to say that those comments really hurt.
“I did not personally respond to those comments back then because I feel that I didn’t need to, but I’d like to say that these kinds of comments are hurtful and putting down Solomon Islanders based on the color of their skin.
“At least try and recognize our people who are trying to make Solomon Islands grow, and help each other build up rather than putting someone down.
“I grew up here, I went to school here and I’m a Solomon Islander.
“I don’t believe such comments would come up, and I was surprised by it, so that was a challenge for me back then when joining the Miss Solomon Islands contest.”
While continuing with her role as Miss Solomon Islands and her full-time job as a Pharmacist, along the way, Gladys says she’s grateful to God and she thanked her parents for inspiring her and those she met and came across in life, in shaping who she is and what she does today.
“I am passionate about helping people and I believe having the heart to help others around you to live a better life is what everyone should be doing to build a happy family, community and ultimately our happy isles, Solomon Islands.
“I’d like to advise and encourage our young people today, that there is a time for everything so it is important to have a balance, stay true to yourself, set goals and achieve!
“Wherever you are in life, be kind and help out when help is needed.
“My parents always reminded me, it doesn’t matter what school you’ve been to or where you grew up, what matters is what you can do to make a positive difference.”
Concluding the interview Gladys says she’s happy to help out wherever she can, especially as she paves the way for the next Miss Solomon Islands 2020.
- Paoa FM broadcasts the Change Makers Program on Mondays at 9am, 2pm and 8pm.