What does Magali Febles see when she recruits a girl? What does she look for or how does she know she has the potential to be a beauty queen? What makes one candidate dominate over another? And, most importantly, after she is chosen, how does she polish herself to shine as a queen?
Magali Febles has all the answers. After all, she is the one responsible for getting those young women, who are chosen as Misses in a country, to the finals of a pageant like Miss Universe. As national director of the Miss Universe Dominican Republic franchise and previously of the Miss Universe Puerto Rico and Miss Haiti franchises, she knows all the tricks and processes to achieve the coveted crown thanks to her more than thirty years of experience in the world of modeling, beauty, makeup, styling, hairdressing and production of beauty events.
In her resume she has not only been the trainer who won the crown in Miss Universe Puerto Rico for the Puerto Ricans Dayanara Torres (1993), Denisse Quiñones (2002) or Zuleika Rivera (2006), but also in our country she worked her magic, among other candidates, with Ada Aimée de la Rosa (Miss Dominican Republic 2009, semifinalist in Miss World 2007 and first finalist in Miss Universe 2009; Clarissa Molina (Miss Dominican Republic 2015 and one of the 10 finalists in Miss Universe that year); Kimberly Jiménez (Miss Dominican Republic 2020 and fourth runner-up in the Miss Universe 2020 pageant); and, of course, our own Andreína Martínez (Miss Dominican Republic 2021 and second runner-up in Miss Universe 2022).
“Let Magali guide you, she is the one who knows, my lindis”, say the most reputable missologists. As we wait until September 3 to find out who will be our Dominican candidate, Magali revealed part of the formula that has always worked for her.
“The first thing is that I personally take care of the casting and interview her personally, I like to have that interaction with the young candidate to learn more about her, and I look at the potential she has to develop both physically, intellectually and internally,” says Febles.
To participate, first, in Miss Dominican Republic there are some very important basic requirements: first, that she is studying, or graduated, otherwise she cannot participate; second, that she has a defined social work, with a real vocation; and, finally, that she does internal tourism for the province she represents. These are the main requirements, not counting those established by the contest.
“Apart from that, during the interview process I ask her a series of questions, as if I were a judge, like why you want to participate in Miss Dominican Republic, what motivates you… to know what the girl has in her mind, or the woman, because sometimes adult girls come”.
That is to say, are you more concerned about the attitude and how the girl is than the beauty itself, we asked her. “Yes, because I can make beauty, I can’t change her soul, her interior, but beauty can be worked with. It is also important for me that the girl has values, that she is a young woman who is guided by what needs to be done, because at the end of the day that candidate has never participated in this platform and does not know how to handle the contest. And we have a very demanding contest, the training is not easy, and not all the young women can bear to meet the requirements of the preparation. Here there is no time for parties or to rest… Miss Universe ends and we still have to continue, there is no rest…. We must not forget that the hardest part of this preparation is usually to sacrifice free time and that ends during this process”.
For Magali, beauty is made. But, how many retouches, surgeries or changes does a girl usually need to present herself at Miss Universe?
“Every girl is a different world and each one has a special need, but when I evaluate a person (which I also do with regular people on how they can improve their physique), I evaluate the person and not just the physical. I work with her to bring out the full potential of her beauty.”
And how much investment does it take to take a girl to Miss Universe? “It’s a big investment”, acknowledges Febles, who in addition to paying the rights and everything involved in taking her to the contest, has to count the cost of clothes, shoes, accessories and some touch-ups… which would be around 100 thousand dollars”.
In the case of Andreína Martínez, our Miss Dominican Republic Universe, recognizes that she did not want to make retouches, “her nose is hers”, she says clearly; “We worked on her smile in a very natural way, because she has a spectacular body, so we worked more with a personal trainer to tone her figure, the skin, we gave her catwalk classes, makeup and hairstyle (I like that they know how to do it because they know her face better), we have to include the wardrobe (which must be special and not what the designer has on the hanger and lends you), a coach to know how to express herself, reinforce her culture … but everything depends on the education and training of the candidate. … but everything will depend on the education and formation that the candidate has; there is a formation that is given at home and another that is complemented with what I need: first to prepare her for Miss DR and then to get to Miss Universe, which has another level”.
Besides beauty, what other qualities do they look for in pageants like Miss Universe?
“The first thing is that they are already applying to be world ambassadors and they have to know etiquette and protocol, know how to behave, be empathetic, not be overwhelmed, they don’t like girls who are problematic, gossipy or who for any nonsense feel a displeasure, they have to be empowered young women, They must be self-confident because they are going to represent the Miss Universe brand and be young women who have projection, who can carry the weight of the sash, who can sit down and talk with a person from an institution or with a president”.
For example, continues explaining the national director of Miss Dominican Republic Universe, “Andreina is a very simple young woman, but logically I have had to work on her projection and look for ways to create that balance; in her case she was selected by the Dominican community in the United States, which represents the diaspora, but when she came to me she had to pass the sedazo and if there is something I saw, she had to work on it during the competition process. What I noticed in her from the beginning is that she was a very ‘proper’ girl, very genuine, educated, she is not weak, she is elegant, she has personality, she knows how to speak and has the content to answer any question.”
“I, as a director, am very detail-oriented because my thing is art”. An art that Magali Febles is capable of sculpting between one and six months, that is the time it takes her to prepare a queen for Miss Universe. Now, “if the candidate is disciplined I can have her ready in 3 or 4 months”, she admits.