Miss Universe Zim 2023 crowned Miss Universe Zimbabwe winner Brooke Bruk Jackson

Arts Reporter

History has been made as Zimbabwe marked a spot at this year’s edition of the Miss Universe to be held in El Salvador, Central America, in two months.

Despite all the setbacks, finally a new queen has been crowned.

Saturday saw the rebirth of the beauty pageant as 21-year-old beautician, Brooke Bruk Jackson, was crowned winner at the glitz and glamour ceremony held at the giant Harare Hippodrome auditorium.

Jackson walked away with a ticket to represent the country at the Miss Universe in November after beating other 11 finalists.

Among her huge prizes were a US$10 000 cash prize from Style by Minnie, a trip to Victoria Falls courtesy of the Tourism and Hospitality Industry Ministry, a one-year contract with clothing company Hilz Couture, a spa treatment from Essentials by Tanya, two-year accommodation from West Properties, beauty products from Langa Cosmetics, air ticket to and from Central America courtesy of Traverze, photoshoot contract by Optimas Photography and latest Apple products courtesy of iHelp Company.

Jackson will also be brand ambassador for several companies that sponsored the pageant.

First princess went to Chegutu-based model and former Miss University of Zambia first runners up Nokutenda Marumbwa, while the second princess crown went to Amanda Ziyambi Mpofu.

In an interview with The Herald soon after being crowned, Jackson said she was shocked to emerge the winner as this was her first time to enter into pageantry.

“I am proud to be Zimbabwean,” she said. “This is shocking and amazing at the same time. I am so overwhelmed. I can’t wait to perform my duties as the queen of Zimbabwe this year in El Salvador. I have been modelling a few years back in Cape Town and have been travelling around the world, but this is my first pageant.”

Jackson said she is currently working in Harare as a beauty therapist and hasn’t thought what to do with her prize money.

“It came as a surprise and like I said, I need time to absorb this. I work at a local beauty spa as a therapist,” she said.

The 21-year-old model, who was the crowd’s favourite and also the tallest of them, came as no surprise because according to what the judges were looking for she had the requirements.

A close source revealed that she also did good during the boot-camp.

During the question and answer segment, Jackson sailed flawlessly and like any Shona girl with morals and taught well, she eloquently started her answer greeting her fans and judges in Shona, “Manheru akanaka Zimbabwe”, to the delight of many.

Her question was: “What is your biggest fear?”

She said: “My biggest fear is not to have an impact in people’s lives. Anybody who enters my life, I would like them to leave inspired and transformed not by the way I look, but with what is inside my heart.”

Immediately, social media was ablaze after she was crowned winner with many wanting to know more about her.

“My roles and duties in my life have changed, but I have not changed as a person,” said Jackson. “I am still Brooke Bruk Jackson, who has definitely grown on this journey so far, and I can’t wait to be an ambassador for our beautiful nation, to serve our people, represent our country internationally and inspire the youth of Zimbabwe that anything in life is possible.”

In a speech read on her behalf by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga’s wife Miniyothabo Baloyi-Chiwenga, First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa said she was happy with the bouncing back of the Miss Universe Zimbabwe pageant.

“We have been out of this pageant for two decades for us to be here today, providing a chance to our girls to showcase their beauty from inside and out and our beauty as a country,” she said.

“It is an event that shows that as Zimbabweans we are stronger and determined than ever and thanks to this beautiful girl Tendai Hunda who had a dream and followed it. She was determined and we thank you so much. Whoever is going to win this pageant would not only represent themselves, but will promote the brand Zimbabwe.”

Dr Mnangagwa said it was important to dispel the misconception that beauty pageants were all about beauty.

“They are not about beauty and validity alone, but there is more to it,” she said. “Whatever happens today (Saturday) at this event will be a ground-breaking for ideas, intelligence and for leadership to manifest.

“I personally believe that a woman should be a shining example of beauty with a purpose. As a woman one should be able to move mountains, be shakers in the fields they are,” she said.

“I know this event has a global reach and for Zimbabwean daughters to participate as we return in this show, it is something we are proud of. We welcome them with open arms, we will always support them. As First Lady of Zimbabwe, I am a staunch advocate for girl child empowerment, this pageant aligns perfectly with my vision of providing opportunities for young women to excel in various areas.”

She said it is an avenue for the girls to showcase their talent, intelligence and beauty.

“This pageant, not only does it align with my personal advocacy for girl child empowerment, but for Vision 2030 for Zimbabwe,” said Dr Mnangagwa.

“It serves as a beacon of scope, showcasing our country’s potential for development through opportunities for young girls to education and employment. I want to emphasize on the role of the winner as they are going to be a brand ambassador for Zimbabwe. They are going to make people know that Zimbabwe is a beautiful country.”

Radio and television personalities Tich Mawoni and Becky K facilitated the programme and apologised to the crowd for the late start due to some technical glitches.

The high profile judges included Young Rich and Famous reality star Luis Munana (Zambian), businesswomen Zodwa Mkandla, Pokelo Nare and Joana Sharpe, former Miss Universe Zimbabwe Langa Sibanda, Simbarashe Chinyemba and Karin Davis.

It would be unfair not to talk about the popular Dj Iroq who entertained the crowd with his playlist which catered for all ages. The event saw musicians such as Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana, Nutty O, Diamond Musica and Enzo Ishall putting up scintillating performances.

Prior to the event, songstress Ammara Brown, who had been on the poster for the show, informed her fans that she was no longer coming as she was in Johannesburg.  The “Mukoko” hitmaker called on the organisers to take down the fliers with her picture at the last hour, stating that it was false advertising.

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