All eyes on Brooke Bruk at Miss Universe pageant Outgoing Miss Universe 2022 R'Bonney Gabriel

Tafadzwa Zimoyo

Lifestyle Editor

The stage has been set in yonder El Salvador. 

Preparations have reached fever pitch. 

And, Zimbabwe in particular, and the world in general, waits with bated breath, as the Miss Universe beauty pageant finals roll out.

The beauty of it, though, is that it is not about the alphabetic order where Zimbabwe comes last, it is about a contest. 

It is about the most beautiful tapestry of the world.

Our beauty queen Brooke Bruk Jackson is contesting and the nation is rallying behind her. 

Hopes are high. And social media and the streets are agog with the war cry: “Bring the Crown Home!”

Described as ‘legally blonde,’ in pageantry lingo, the lanky beauty left the country two weeks ago for the camp.

The camp activities were hyped on Wednesday night as the momentum got high after she finished among top 10 finalists at the Miss Universe 2023 Voice for Change Silver Finalist.

Now the country has started rallying for her but what some locals and her fans are not understanding is that they are thinking that she is in the top 10 finale, but not yet.

The Voice for Change Silver Finalist is about representing a global tapestry of voices committed to making a difference.

She is still in the competition with Angola, Brazil, Chile, Lebanon, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Singapore, South Africa and Ukraine.

The finalists have not only captured the audience’s attention but have demonstrated a passion for positive change through their impactful advocacy videos. 

The competition, which goes beyond traditional beauty pageant norms, allows viewers to play an active role in shaping the outcome. 

According to the organisers of the show, voting is now open for supporters to choose their favourites and help determine the 3 Voice for Change Gold Winners, set to be announced tonight.

Miss Universe contestant (Zimbabwe) Brooke Bruk Jackson

Apart from that, the pageant will be the 72nd Miss Universe pageant, to be held at the José Adolfo Pineda Arena in San Salvador, El Salvador and R’Bonney Gabriel of the United States will crown her successor at the end of the event. 

Last Thursday was the national costume ceremony of which Brooke did well with her outfit done by popular designer Jasper Mandizera of “Ivhu Tribe, although it divided the nation on what they expected from her. 

Earlier Brooke’s handlers described her dress as symbolic of a truly African with warrior and power theme. 

“Brooke’s National Costume has different parts which all mean and represent Zimbabwe in a different way,” said national director Tendai Hunda. 

“It has the “Cowry Shells,” which are a representation of fertility and womanhood. This is to say, we are all born in the same way, no matter the colour of your skin.” 

“On the cowry shells, the colour white, like on the Zimbabwean flag, goes further to embrace the peaceful nature of the Zimbabwean woman. 

“Gold is a representation of the special mineral beneath our land. The beauty of our land Zimbabwe lies not on it is surface alone.  It goes way beyond the soil.” 

“The pattern on the orange fabric, right on the tail of the costume represents the Great Zimbabwe (Madzimbabwe). The pattern showcases the way each rock was laid on top of the other, creating beautiful art on the great enclosure. The Great Zimbabwe figure is a representation of our roots.” 

“The lion design is a representation of strength, power, courage and authority. A woman with such attributes is unstoppable and can achieve the greatest of goals. 

“A conqueror and a warrior. It also symbolizes the riches our Zimbabwe has in the wild. The Lion roars in the savanna regions of Zimbabwe. Commanding eternal respect,” she explained. 

Meanwhile, locals have praised and applauded Brooke for going thus far as the last standing Zimbabwean model was Tsungai Muswerakuenda in 2001.

Tonight, all eyes on her as she is expected to take part in what can be described as the “Walk of Fame”, if she brings the crown home.

With tight competition, if the 21-year-old makes it in the top 20, and 10 yet alone brings the crown home, she will have returned the lost glory of modelling in Zimbabwe. 

But how is the process though at the Miss Universe pageant tonight?

According to the programme, first they will announce the top 20, then the girls will do the swimwear competition before the top 10 announcements.

Those who have qualified for the top 10 will do the evening gown and then be cut off to the top five who will further have a chance for the interview questions.

The judges will again reveal the top three who get final questions before the crowning moment.

The event will see American songwriter and singer John Legend as the headline act performers while the show is an all-female hosting cast.

The hosts include Olivia Culpo, Jeannie Mai Jenkins and, Maria Menounos who will be supported backstage by correspondence such as Zuri Hall and Catriona Gray.

What makes the pageant unique is that the 80 contestants upon arrival had a chance to choose their dresses during the boot camp and they were sponsored shoes and makeup.

They managed to visit some of the tourist attractions in El Salvador including having an experience of some of the dishes, cultures, and heritage.

For Brooke fingers crossed on what she is to display.

Although some were of the opinion that they wanted to see her final dress before she walks on the ramp, just like what her counterparts did on their social media, Brooke’s handlers said her dress was finished late as she was departing for El Salvador but have assured locals that it is the best dress local designer Zarguesia has made for the queen. 

A survey also revealed that Miss Universe is dominated by white and mixed-race girls with few black girls taking part but this does not affect anything as South African model and television personality Zozi Tunzi, was crowned Miss Universe 2019.

She was black with naturally short hair, a typical African.

For Brooke, she chose being natural and this has made her reach that far.

Some had said she should have put hair extensions just like other models in her camp. 

The 21-year-old is feeling the heat both in El Salvador and back home as all eyes are on her, with Miss Zimbabwe 1994, Angeline Musasiwa, having set the bar too high at the Miss World as she finished in the top four.

Again another factor, the Miss Universe pageant also constitutes the voting process.

One is supposed to have downloaded the application of Miss Universe to vote for their favourite contestant and to some it is beyond their reach as the votes are being sold for 0,99 pounds.

That is business and we can’t change their format, what we could have done earlier was to educate the locals and some have said Brooke did not have much time to prepare for the finale as she was crowned in September.

Her handlers are optimistic she will make it judging with what she has presented so far.

To watch the show, it is under the Miss Universe Livestream page where one is expected to buy a ticket but for the African side, it will be aired on SABC 3 open up at 3 am, on Sunday.

Zimbabweans should rally for these competitions and support each other not complain that somehow it is a “white syndrome thing”.

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