By Frederick Philander LUDERITZ An expensive evening dress given to her as a present by a former Miss Universe serves as inspiration and lucky charm for a 12-year-old primary school girl in winning beauty contests. Chanique Izaaks, a straight A-grade learner at Nautilus Primary School, has been winning beauty pageants since the age of seven. “Michelle Mclean, my beauty pageant heroine gave me the dress as a present. She had worn the garment in Taiwan after she was crowned Miss Universe. I received the beautiful evening dress last year on my 11th birthday. In fact her parents, Athol and Annie, friends of my mother brought it to me before leaving for South Africa,” Chanique, the apple of the eye of mother Salome and father Roy, said in an interview. The little girl, with three recognised community beauty titles to her name, is adamant in her hopes and dreams that one day, she would represent Namibia at an international beauty contest. “Just like my heroine Michel Mclean, I hope to, one day when I am big, wear the Miss Universe or the Miss World crown,” said the girl who intends to become a model and a lawyer when she grows up. Chanique has in the past four years convincingly won the Miss Petite, the Miss Tinkerbell and a local “Miss World” competition of the Christian church in her town. “I like taking part in beauty contests because it gives me self-confidence to speak and talk in front of people. It also helps me to do better in my school work, especially in my favourite subject, Mathematics. Right now, I am concentrating on my school work, but when I am done with that, I hope to go into modelling, something my friends say I was born to do one day,” the girl with some Eastern-like facial features said. Asked what advice and special qualities a child beauty contestant should possess, Chanique said: “They should be sexy looking, have a nice walk, be intelligent, should not be shy and must show real interest, otherwise it will not work.” Probed on what influence Michelle Mclean’s black and gold velvet-like evening dress has had on her, she said: “It has changed my thinking and views on beauty contests and made me more determined to do better in it. I will keep and treasure the dress for as long as I live, though I have never met the owner thereof in person,” she said doing her school homework in the dusty Nautilus township of Luderitz.