Beauty pageants boost  self-confidence: First Lady First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa

Entertainment Editor

 Over US$50 000 was raised during the official launch and fundraising dinner of the Miss Universe Zimbabwe pageant.

The event was held on Thursday night in Harare.

The money will be used to host the pageant set tentatively for September 9, with the winner to represent Zimbabwe at the Miss Universe in December in El Salvador, Central America.

Several high-profile personalities, diplomats, business personalities and Government officials attended the glitz and glamour event, where they also pledged to support the Miss Universe Zimbabwe.

In a speech read on her behalf by Deputy Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Barbara Rwodzi, First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa said the Miss Universe organisation was a global, inclusive organisation that celebrated all cultures, backgrounds and religions.

The pageant was a good initiative that created and provided a safe space for women to share their stories and impact personally, professionally and philanthropically, she said.

The First Lady thanked the organisers of the event led by Tendai Hunda, former Miss Zimbabwe 2014, for her tireless efforts towards Zimbabwe’s reinstatement into the Miss Universe and the issue of a license to host Miss Universe Zimbabwe once again.

“You may be aware (that) Zimbabwe hasn’t taken part in the Miss Universe competition in 22 years. Miss Tsungai Muswerakuenda represented our lovely nation of Zimbabwe at the 2001 Miss Universe pageant in Puerto Rico,” said Dr Mnangagwa.

“The women who participate in this international platform serve as inspirational leaders and role models to their communities and fans around the world.

“The pageant itself boosts the self-confidence and self-worth of its competitors, who then use the stage to display their talents and volunteerism. Miss Universe is a global beauty platform. 

“History demonstrates that several stunning, powerful women’s careers were launched as a result of this beauty pageant.”

Dr Mnangagwa said the event, which is held annually, has been successful in combining the eyes of the world to watch it, and in shaping the perception of women globally.

“Every woman competes to represent her nation, no matter where she lives,” she said.

With the theme, ‘Beautifully Confident’, the Miss Universe pageant first took place in 1951, when Yolanda Betbeze, won the title of Miss America while sporting a bikini made by Pacific Knitting Mills.

Following that, Pacific Knitting Mills decided to launch their beauty competition called Miss Universe.

The contest has since grown, with a history spanning 70 years, said the First Lady.

Dr Mnangagwa said beauty contests get the prominence such as that of the Miss Universe because they help young ladies in many ways and teach them priceless life lessons.

She added that beauty pageants have since evolved and now focus on beauty with brains and the recognition of women in key decision-making roles.

“The benefit of this competition is that it does not necessarily require ‘winning’ to be beneficial. Among the benefits a participant may receive are the following; self-confidence which she will learn that she is capable of doing more than she imagined.

“As she learns and grows and achieves her goals, she will develop self-confidence and self-esteem. There is also the self-discipline, motivation, and determination, which will help her to work and improve physically and mentally.

“When a young woman desires something, she is motivated and when is motivated, she will learn to set goals and work to achieve them.”

The First Lady said the competition was a vehicle for honouring, polishing, and sharpening outer and inner character and attributes of participants.

“Aside from being of enormous benefit to the ladies who participate, Miss Universe is an opportunity for Zimbabwe to take as it perfectly fits the Government’s ambition for engagement and re-engagement.

“Zimbabwe is open for business is President Mnangagwa’s invitation to investors and business organisations, both domestic and foreign, to seize the many opportunities offered by the nation,” said Dr Mnangagwa.

She said participating in one of the world’s biggest competitions is a better way to signal that Zimbabwe is open for international collaboration.

“Participating in this competition also benefits the country in a tremendous way, cascading to the textiles industry and capacitating local designers, the arts industry as our music, dance, and art will be showcased, our tourism industry as we tell the Zimbabwean story of our culture and tourist destinations and we will see employment creation and youth empowerment being achieved,” she said.

The First Lady encouraged everyone to rally behind the organisers.

Hunda said she was happy with the support she is getting from Government, corporates and stakeholders, among others, to push her dream.

“Good thing, the Miss Universe has opened doors to young girls, married or not married, pregnant, and those with children to take part. The age limit is 28,” she said.

“By the way, I was crowned Miss Zimbabwe 2014 and represented Zimbabwe at the Miss World competition 2014 hosted in London, United Kingdom. I created a platform called Hundah, which today is one of Zimbabwe’s leading modelling agencies.

“As the Miss Zimbabwe Queen organisation, we realised that Zimbabwe was not being given a fair chance to participate on the Miss Universe global platform which claims to be an inclusive stage for the modelling and beauty industry.”

Hunda said they engaged the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation and the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe in the successful hosting of this pageant as they are the custodians of the arts sector and youth empowerment.

Hunda said the return of Miss Universe Zimbabwe was valuable.

Auditions have started in all provinces.

Hunda is also a co-director of the Miss Zimbabwe Queen beauty pageant that selects contestants to represent Zimbabwe at regional and international pageants like Miss Intercontinental Africa and Miss Top Model of the World.

In an interview, former Miss Universe Zimbabwe Langa Lloyd Sibanda said the return of Zimbabwe was good news for the industry. 

“I have pledged my full support to the organisation, coming from a background that I was once there, on such a stage,” she said. “I remember 27 years ago in Las Vegas, the US, that I represented Zimbabwe on that stage. It was a great opportunity coming from a rural background.

“It was something I never thought would happen to a Zimbabwean girl. It was exciting and daunting at the same time. Nobody called me Langa at the show, but they just shouted ‘Zimbabwe’.”

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