At CARISMA we love to celebrate strong women and Michelle Anne Azzopardi is definitely one of those which is why we organised a luxurious day of indulgence for her to be able to relax and let her hair down. We sat down with her after her fabulous day out to talk about the various twists and turns her life has taken and what has gone into making her the indomitable force she is today.
“I didn’t have the best start in life,” she begins slowly. “I was born in Romania and spent the first ten years of my life in an orphanage. I was literally found in front of the door of the orphanage as a baby, so I have never met my biological parents and don’t know anything about them. Those years at the orphanage were hard because we suffered a lot of abuse. We were hit a lot for no reason and there wasn’t much kindness to be found. Something which has really stuck in my mind is that at Christmas people would bring us presents and then literally ten minutes later, they would be taken from us and we would never see them again. It was so horrible.”
Michelle’s adoptive parents would come and visit the orphanage two to three times a year to see her and started the adoption process when Michelle was seven but it took three whole years for things to be finalised: “Those three years were emotionally taxing for me because we could never be entirely sure about what would happen. There were other children at the orphanage who were meant to be adopted and then for some reason or another their adoptions would fall through. At the age of ten, I was finally brought to Malta and I was immediately enrolled into school. My parents also sent me to M.U.S.E.U.M. and Girl Guides. I was kept so busy and I met so many people all the time that I learnt how to speak Maltese in six months. I’ve been in Malta for twenty-one years now and I’ve spent eleven of those years being a Girl Guide leader.”
Although Michelle has had a peaceful life in Malta, it has not been without its fair share of tragedies: “My dad passed away tragically in 2013 in a fire and we still don’t know what caused it. My mum was never the same after that and died from cancer a few years later. She was bedridden for the last three years of her life, so I left my job to be able to take care of her around the clock. A lot of people had told me that I should put her in a home, and this used to really hurt me. This was the same woman who had chosen me out of countless others, taken me out of a home and cared for me day after day till she couldn’t anymore. I owed her my entire life, why would I ever put her in a home? I have no regrets; I did the best I could for the woman who had crucified herself for my adopted brother and I.”
Speaking about the beautiful day she spent getting pampered, Michelle is both excited as well as enthusiastic: “I was so honoured to be chosen, everyone was so nice and kind to me. I didn’t even want to leave the hair salon when my hair was done. It was an especially poignant moment for me because a few years ago I got alopecia and all my hair fell out. No new hair grew for a year and eight months after that and I had to get treatments constantly and wear wigs. A lovely man called Jean did my makeup at Inglot and I honestly felt like a million dollars. After that, I was taken to dinner. It was a really special day and I never wanted it to end. I can’t tell you enough how grateful I am, CARISMA certainly gets a gold star from me!”