Zi Lin Zhang from China is the reigning Miss World and the new face of Jamaica’s ‘One Love’ destination loyalty card with double Olympic Gold medalist and star of Beijing 2008, Usain Bolt.
The ‘One Love’ card allows members to redeem US$1,000 towards the cost of a holiday on the beautiful holiday island of Jamaica.Miss Lin Zhang, who comes from Shi Jia Zhuang City in Hei Bei Province, has track skills to match her face. She won the “Sports Advance Distinction Award” whilst an undergraduate at Beijing’s University of Science and Technology, and also scooped numerous athletics competitions before winning the world’s most famous beauty competition. She is also set to become the new face of L’Oreal.
(Pictured above: Miss World, the Hon. Edmund Barlett, Jamaica’s Minister for Tourism and Graham Cooke, President of World Travel Awards)
She was also the Guest of Honour at the inaugural World Travel Awards Asia and Indian Ocean Ceremony in Shanghai in June.
BTN: You have a beautiful name. What does it mean?
ZLZ: “Zi” means strong and beautiful tree and “Lin” means beautiful jade so I was very lucky to have been given this name and I love it very much.
BTN: What does it mean to you for your country to be hosting the Olympics?
ZLZ: I am very proud of my country. Beijing is my home town and I have lived here most of my life so I am very proud of my country and my city. I am very happy to be here in my home town for the Olympics. It makes me very happy.
(Above: it’s hard to contain the excitiment ahead of THE 100m Men’s Final)
BTN: What changes have you noticed here in the run up to the Olympics?
ZLZ: I think Beijing has changed hugely in the last 10 years, even in the last five years. Beijing now is so different to Beijing when I was young. The new Beijing is more modern, quieter and friendlier than before and I am very happy to see these changes.
BTN: What do you think the post-Olympic effect will be on Beijing?
ZLZ: I think that the Olympics has given Beijing a big opportunity as many more people have come from abroad than perhaps wouldn’t have come before. And it’s a great opportunity to show China off to the world and I think that once they have come they will want to come again. So I think that after the Games, Beijing will be even more successful.
BTN: Can you tell me about the work you have done for charity?
ZLZ: As Miss World, you have the Beauty with a purpose. It’s a very important part of the title. And during my year I go to different countries and different cities to do different charity work using my title to help different people that are in need. So far I raised nearly $30 million. I went to an HIV centre and met the children and visited many people in poverty and schools in poverty, this is very important to me and a very good life experience.
(Press conference with Godfrey Dyer, Chairman, Jamaica Tourism Enhancement Fund; Ed Bartlett; Miss World; Gianna Merlo, President of AIPS; Graham Cooke, President of World Travel Awards)
BTN: You used to be an athlete yourself. Does watching the Olympics make you miss competing?
ZLZ: I really miss it. I started training for track and field when I was about eight years old and it remains my favourite game. Yesterday I went to the Birds Nest Stadium and watching the events made me really want to join in.
When I was young I was the champion of the Beijing Sports Meeting and I wanted to be an Olympic champion but I thought that that would be impossible for me as the competition is too high. So I decided to make it my favourite hobby.
(Above: the evening of Husain Bolt’s historic 100m World Record and Olympic victory)
BTN: But I think the competition to be Miss World is quite fierce too?
ZLZ: It’s quite different though. However I think my time training as an athlete was quite good for me. It helped me feel quite relaxed and to keep me calm and not let my heart beat too fast.
BTN: What was your highlight of the Olympics?
ZLZ: Watching the 100m final live was very exciting.
BTN: And finally do you have a message for the Chinese Team?
ZLZ: Yes I want to say all of us very proud of them.