At the age of 13, Michelle McLean entered the world of International modelling, being crowned Miss Namibia in 1991 and reaching the all-time high as Miss Universe, crowned in Bangkok, Thailand, in 1992 - at the age of 19.
As a Master of Ceremonies, Michelle McLean has worked in 26 countries, including South America and Asia. Some of her more memorable events have been the hosting of ‘Opera at the Pyramids’; M-Net’s ‘Face of Africa’ competition in Ghana and Egypt and the Loeries Advertising Awards in both 1998 and 2000.
As a TV presenter, her shows have ranged from magazine and lifestyle to music and e-commerce to show-casing some of South Africa’s most stylish homes in her new DSTV Home Channel “Better Bonds Celebrity Homes”.She is also one of South Africa’s leading voice-over artists, with MTN Cellular as one of her main clients.
She campaigns tirelessly for many charities and topping this list is The Michelle McLean Children Trust in Namibia, formed in 1992 and still going strong, and the Michelle McLean Primary School, also in Namibia, which has 890 students. She is the current face of Lux Lotion.Michelle is involved in various business ventures, most notably in the property market as a Director of one of the country’s top Estate Agencies and she has just launched a fine jewellery range.
Before she became Miss Universe, McLean competed in Miss World 1991. In the preliminary competition she was tied in second place with a score of 51 along with Miss South Africa, behind the eventual winner, Venezuela's Ninibeth Leal; McLean eventually finished in the top 5.
In the 1992 Miss Universe pageant she finished second in the preliminary with a score of 9.147, right behind Carolina Izsak of Venezuela, who won all three preliminary competitions. Nonetheless, McLean's warmth and love for children helped clinch the crown over Izsak, Paola Turbay of Colombia, and Madhushri Sapre of India.
In 1992 Michelle founded the Michelle McLean Children's Trust in Namibia, which focuses on the education and care of under-privileged children.
Michelle was instrumental in bringing the Miss Universe pageant to her country in 1995. Michelle married Neil Bierbaum, they had a son together, Luke McLean Bierbaum in 1999 they then divorced in 2006. In 2000 Michelle funded the building of the Michelle McLean Primary School, in the capital of Namibia, Windhoek. It now has just under 1000 students. In 2009 Michelle co-hosted the Miss World pageant held in South Africa.
Michelle McLean is a well known international media personality, entrepreneur and philanthropist.She started her international modeling career at the age of 13 years and won the Miss Universe title in 1992 at the age of 19 years for Namibia. From 1993 to 1994 while living in Los Angeles Michelle did acting with Sal Dano (Tom Seleck and Carrie Otis’s coach).After moving back to South Africa,
Michelle became a presenter for Mnet from 1995 to 2003 hosting and presenting numerous programmes. Front Row (a magazine show), E-bucks (an e-commerce show), Buy Design (a property make-over show for SABC), Celebrity Homes (showcasing their homes for DSTV), Revlon Supermodels (a reality show for SABC) and most recently Woza Lunchtime (lifestyle show for Super Sport during the FIFA World Cup 2010).
Michelle was the face of Lux Lotion in South Africa and has been the official voice of MTN for six years.Close to her heart is the Michelle McLean Children Trust, which she established in 1992. The Trust built a primary school in her name and provides education for 900 children.
In addition they established the Michelle McLean School of Excellence, which provides entrepreneurial and financial skills training to learners. The Trust has initiated and managed hundreds of projects, including ten projects for Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. It has raised over R40 m.Michelle was previously a Director of a Property Group, and co-owned a jewelry company.
Captivate Media Training provides TV presentation and speech making courses. She is also a professional life coach.Michelle is a Director of BrandsRock, a specialized marketing company. She is a member of the World Economic Forum and is a consultant for Trade and Tourism in Southern Africa.
In 1998 Michelle was recognized by Donald Trump the owner of the Miss Universe Organization and presented with The Life Time Achievement Award for her philanthropy work. Michelle resides in Johannesburg with her 11-year-old son Luke, and is currently writing a book about life in the media and memoirs of her travels.
McLean hosted Miss World 2009, which was won by Miss Gibraltar, Kaiane Aldorino. Kaiane was crowned by Miss World 2008 Ksenia Sukhinova of Russia.
Michelle McLean and former Manchester United goalkeeper Gary Bailey married on 9 March 2013.