Diversity is a word that gets thrown around all the time, but not many know exactly how to achieve it. It is one thing to be interested in many things, and something entirely different to actually do them. Marianne Fouad Metry is one of those who embrace diversity wholeheartedly. She was crowned Miss Alexandria, but that is only the tip of the ice berg. She teaches German, she does yoga and kickboxing, and she has written her own cook book. We sat down with her to talk about her work.
How did this all start? Did Miss Alexandria or the cooking come first?
I started cooking on my own since I was 15 or 16 without anyone teaching me and really loved it. I got to the point where I wrote my own book. I was waiting for a chance to publish it, then I found out about the contest by chance and decided to apply.
Some people think beauty pageants are demeaning to women and focus only on their look. Do you think this has changed recently?
I got into this contest after I found out that it has nothing to do with modeling and looks, because it’s not what I’m looking for. So when I found out it was done as a way to support tourism in Egypt and realized it could help with my career, I joined. It was a small pageant to support tourism, not like Miss Egypt.
Are you planning on having a cooking show or do you want to write more books?
I considered it before the contest. I even went on TV twice on cooking shows and really liked it.
You also do Yoga and Kickboxing, tell us about that.
I like to do many things, but I don’t think about it too much. I know that I have the energy to do it. I mean, I do a lot of things that have nothing to do with each other (laughs). Teaching German is my job, Kickboxing is something that I love, Yoga relaxes me after all those things and cooking is entirely separate.
Has anyone ever told you that you should focus on one thing?
Yes, and they discourage me so much when they do that. I don’t feel like I’m cramming a lot of things in my life.
Why haven’t you considered modeling or acting?
I’m just not interested in them.
Have you considered starting a food blog?
I thought about it, but I didn’t want to ruin my book. I didn’t want to show everyone the book before I publish it.
Is there a certain thing that you want to do which you haven’t done yet?
When it comes to the contest, I want to do sport and culture events; something like the groups that clean up the streets. And now I’m working on an event which will take place on the 8th of October. It’ll be a fashion show for girls with special needs and I’m the one who will teach them to walk.
What do you think needs to change about Alexandria?
The garbage. I mean, there is garbage in Cairo, but Cairo is huge; Alexandria is tiny, so whatever garbage there is, it shows.
What about other things that you’d like to raise awareness for like maybe sexual harassment?
Of course. Tourists don’t come to Egypt now because they know about all the harassment. It’s important for us as well we now can’t feel confident walking down the street.
Were you ever discouraged from the Kickboxing because it’s not “girly”?
I’ve been kickboxing for a while and not one of my friends until now said it’s a good thing. No one understands that I just love it.
Kickboxing, Yoga and cooking are all things that people use to unwind.
Exactly. I cook even when I’m not expecting company, but I get a lot of energy out when I cook.
What is your advice for someone who is being told to slow down and discouraged the way you were?
I always say “as long a I can, I will”. Never say that what you’re doing is enough. Something that you do which might seem trivial to someone, might make a huge difference for you.