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Isabel Dalley: Not your average queen

Published:Friday | September 2, 2016 | 12:00 AMRandy Bowman

At six feet two inches tall, Isabel Dalley stood out from the other competitors to cop the coveted title of Miss Universe Jamaica. The 18-year-old is not your average beauty queen. As a matter of fact, she is what most considers a tomboy.

Born in Fairfield and raised in Montego Bay, Dalley enjoyed a well-rounded childhood impacted largely by four persons. "When I was younger, I lived with my grandparents, who were always there to guide me. My grandmother enriched my love for cooking and baking. Every evening when I went home, she was always making something delicious in the kitchen, from chocolate cake to fresh bread and cookies. And my grandfather would try to get me to learn golf because he said I had the right build," Dally told Flair. She added, "He would introduce me to other cultures via movies from all the around the world."




It was her father, however, who introduced her to racing. "I developed a love for racing from my father, who would make it a point of duty to take me to all racing events such at Dover, Spot Valley, Moreland Raceway, Jamwest, Dexterities Montego Bay and Vernamfield Raceway."

Her mother had a different lesson to teach though - how to enjoy her island. "During the long summer breaks, my mother felt it important that we experience the beauty of the island, and she would take us on trips to Blue Mountains, Dunn's River Falls, Mayfield Falls, Port Antonio, St Elizabeth, the Mineral Bath in St Thomas, just to name a few."

Currently a student at the Montego Bay Community College, Dalley wasn't always a confident individual. During her tenure at Montego Bay Preparatory, she was bullied because of her height. "I can remember always trying to bend in pictures to be the same height as my friends, and continuously slouching to seem shorter." But as she got older, the quote 'the brave may not live forever but a coward would have not lived at all' became her mantra. Her confidence increased, and at the end of high school she was signed to ShowJam Modelling Agency.

But outside of modelling, Isabel has a special place in her heart for animals. A space big enough to accommodate the over 30 pets the 18-year-old has (at least 20 doves, five dogs, a fish and a rabbit). "I always wanted to be a veterinarian - I even printed up business cards when I was in grade six. At Mount Alvernia High School, I completed my volunteer service at the Vets for Pets and the Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. While completing my SBA for geography, I was introduced to the Montego Bay Marine Park where I found that I could have a greater impact in helping the environment by changing my course of study to marine biology. This was further cemented when I became a certified diver. Being 100 feet below the surface was an unbelievable experience, and I had witnessed the beauty of the underwater environment, but I have also seen the damage being done to our coral reefs and saw the impact of garbage and chemicals that have been dumped in the ocean."

Today, the eldest of three children, who still enjoys getting dirty - changing engines, playing football - scuba diving, poetry writing and not surprising, modelling, wants to become a marine biologist within the next five years, while being on the dean's list at the University of the West Indies.

The statuesque beauty tells Flair that she went straight to bed after being crowned, to catch up on some well-needed snooze. Her plans are now to "use my platform to bring awareness to environment restoration and protection as well as anti-bullying campaigns".