Iman Oubou (Miss New York)
Q: What is it like for you to be at this amazing event tonight?
A: It’s an honor. I have always admired the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation because they have a lot of focus on women empowerment and fighting against hunger and poverty in developing countries. And women empowerment is actually my platform as Miss New York. And I do come from a developing country as well so I am very much involved in a lot of medical missions and nonprofit efforts that give back to those in need and in other countries and help them achieve a better and happier life.
Q: Any specific organizations that you are a part of that you want to talk about?
A: I have been volunteering for about four years now with Mission to Heal. It is an organization founded by Dr. Glen Geelhoed and we have been planning and executing mission to developing countries such as South Sudan, Ecuador, Kenya, Nigeria, and Morocco recently … and we will be going back to Morocco to implement a mobile surgical unit to help restore proper healthcare and fight hunger and malnutrition.
Q: How have you used your platform as Miss New York to help target these specific things as issues that need to be addressed?
A: I started a podcast actually. It’s called “Entrepreneurs En Vogue,” and it is dedicated to interviewing women—millennial women entrepreneurs who have overcome certain challenges and can advise other women looking into starting a business as to how to tackle those challenges in a strategic way. And also by sharing their own personal stories, it helps other women to be inspired and to not give up on their passion and making that their lives. So that’s one initiative. I have also been working an organization called One Girl New York and we help younger girls determine their goals and really work on them and plan what they can do in order to reach them in the most expressive way. And I have a focus on the science because that’s what my background is and I went to school for that.
Q: What did you study in school then?
A: I have a Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular and a Master’s in biomedical engineering.
Q: And any work that you are planning on doing next that you would like to share?
A: My biggest milestone, at least on my radar, is to be involved in the UN Women. And hopefully if I do win Miss United States that could be a good step for me to implement my initiatives on a national level … I was talking to her about starting a project which is a documentary where we go and interview women entrepreneurs in the Western and the U.S. and then in developing countries and then compare it and see us how us women in America influence other cultures and to pursuing their goals and becoming a powerforce in the community.
Felipe Martins (Red Bull Soccer Player)
Q: What is it like for you to be at this event tonight?
A: I think to represent the Red Bulls being here means a lot to me, to support this organization to fighting hunger around the world. Coming from Brazil, a country with a lot of people in this position, I think it is a beautiful thing and to be a part of this is amazing.
Q: And the honorees are Bill and Melinda Gates and they have done a lot of work with fighting hunger, poverty, and women’s rights, so can you talk a little bit about what your thoughts are on what they have achieved?
A: I think they are doing a great job to put the women in positions where they can speak for themselves and around the world there are not that many countries that have this right. And I think the hunger and poverty around the world is a lot and to have those people helping a lot and doing that much for them – there aren’t a lot of people doing that for them so it is a big thing for us as human beings to support this cause because there are a lot of people who really need it.