Derek Savy writes in the Today Newspaper in Seychelles a fitting farewell to Amelie Michel, Miss Seychelles 1975.
Derek Savy writes: As the country elected its Miss Seychelles 2013, we take time to reflect on the passing away of our 1975 beauty queen. Her beaming smile and cheerful personality [were] the embodiment of the “joie de vivre” of our country on the eve of its birth as a new nation. Amelie Michel passed away peacefully in South Africa recently after a short illness. She has been an ambassador in the promotion of our beautiful islands ever since she was crowned and represented our country at the Miss World Pageant in London.
Born and raised at “Chateau Mamelles,” Amelie was a princess with a very big heart who was brought up in a tourism world where her charm, piercing pale blue eyes, and bubbly personality would captivate many a tourist who embraced her true Seychelloise hospitality. Growing up, Amelie was already showing her traits of kindheartedness by showering everyone she met with unconditional generosity. Her neighbors would always be in awe. John Etienne who grew up with her as a childhood “little brother,” describes her as his Lady Diana who lived her life like a “candle in the wind.”
Amelie would save her pocket money to buy gifts for her friends. There was never any boundary between her and other people. John believes that to him, she was the most beautiful Miss Seychelles whose inner beauty was as radiant as her physical attributes. John’s career in directing was somewhat influenced by his interactions with Amelie who loved putting up drama sessions on the veranda of her home while growing up, enlisting her cast and directing her plays!
Indeed, life for this charming bon vivant was a theatre of dreams… She would constantly get her friends and neighbors to join her in numerous activities. Her simplicity and down-to-earth demeanor would always impress people. Her childhood neighbors vividly recall how she would cherish and ensure that others enjoyed the simple pleasures of life: a grilled breadfruit was always relished with melted butter, which she would sneak out of the house to replace the margarine…
Amelie was also a fine gourmet and excellent cook! Her home, perched on a rock at Cascade, was an entertainment den for her numerous friends. She loved fishing and enjoyed preparing her freshly-caught fish. Her signature dish that everyone would crave was “Pernod Prawns,” a concoction that took pride of place regularly at her dinner table. She ventured into business by setting up two fashion shops called “Amelie’s Boutique” at Michel Building in Victoria and Barbarons Beach Hotel where she initiated fashion shows to market her products. Her contribution to the tourism industry was in the form of a hostess and representative for her sister Kathy’s Mason’s Travel.
Amelie strongly believed in peace, love, and unity. In fact, she was probably a bohemian at heart, espousing the freethinking spirit.
At the Miss Seychelles contest, she challenged convention when she decided to wear a two-piece bikini (one-piece was the norm) in the swimwear category and linked the top and bottom with a ribbon! Cheekily clever for a 17-year old who ended up taking the ’75 crown by storm! Amelie was a true sixties child who cherished life and was constantly defying the odds. She cared so much about other people to the point where she would often put others before herself. She would accept people as they come without any prejudicial judgment.
She married “Speedy” Gonzalves Larue in ’76 at the good old Pirate’s Arms Hotel in Victoria, and they had a son, Christian. She later remarried Frenchman Philip Blanchard and had a second son, Lancelot. Amelie was a caring and loving mum who would dedicate a lot of her time to the upbringing of her children.
Amelie is the daughter of Rene (Dadi) Michel and Lilian Hunt of Les Mamelles and sister to Kathy (of Mason’s Travel and married to Micly Mason), Vivian (died at birth), Rosemarie (widow of Pepi Cavitolo residing in South Africa) Rene Michel (Michel & Co.), Cecile (Savy & Sons), and Ginette (married to Alain St.Ange).
At the 2013 “Miss Seychelles… Another World” beauty pageant at Eden Plaza, a tribute to Amelie reminded the audience of this Seychelles personality who will be missed.
Amelie was interred on May 27, following a solemn sending off at the Cathedral at 0930.
She will be truly remembered as the Miss Seychelles who provided our newly-born nation with a beam of hope and joy as she lived her life to the fullest.
Adieu Amelie… “You had the grace to hold yourself, and your candle burned out long before your legend ever did…”