Acting Entertainment Editor
Zimbabwe has a newly crowned Miss Zimbabwe Queen, and just like the reigning Miss Zimbabwe, Belinda Potts, she too hails from Masvingo.
Oh, by the way these are two different pageants – Miss Zimbabwe Queen and Miss Zimbabwe.
The one under discussion today is Miss Zimbabwe Queen.
And the name of the newly crowned queen is Charlotte Muziri.
One thing different about Charlotte is that she is different from some queens who had a silver spoon.
Hers is a sorry state which later turned to sweet.
It is all about determination, perseverance and integrity that has kept her strong.
Alas, she is bold.
She had never dreamt that one day she would have a manager, stylist, itinerary and above all a crown on her head as the most beautiful girl in the country.
The Herald on Saturday Lifestyle caught up with Charlotte who opened up in an exclusive story about her journey to becoming Miss Zimbabwe Queen.
“I was born on the April 29, 1997 in Chivi in Masvingo province,” she said. “My grandfather moved from Mupagumuri still in Chivi where his family home is, to stay in Gwenzi village under Chief Matsveru near Chivi growth point, which is now our rural home.
“Muziri family is well known for having so many educators in Masvingo. Most of my uncles and aunts were and some are still teachers, including my father. I come from a blended family, being the only child from my mother’s side and the first born out of four children from my father’s side.”
Charlotte says she later moved from Chivi to Bulawayo in 2000 when her mother fell sick.
“While my mother was still trying to recover, she asked my grandmother to take me and go with me to her maternal home in Zhombe that very same year in late 2000,” she said.
“I later moved back to Bulawayo when my mother had recovered and she enrolled me at Mzilikazi Primary School in 2003. I did my Grade One to Grade Three first term at Mzilikazi primary school.
“My mother got an opportunity to go back to school at Mlezu agricultural college. I had to move back again to Zhombe to stay with my grandmother in 2005. I continued my education at Fafi Primary School in Zhombe where I continued from Grade Three to Grade Four.
“When my mother finished her studies in 2007 at Mlezu Agricultural Institute, she was deployed to work in Mvuma, Chirumanzu in Midlands province where she is currently working. I had to also move and stay with my mother in Mvuma where I finished my primary school at Chamakanda Primary School in Chirumanzu District.”
The lank model said she did her ordinary and advanced level studies at Holy Cross High School and attended her tertiary education at the University of Zimbabwe.
“I am a Bsc Hon degree holder in Rural and Urban Planning with plans to do my masters next year,” said Charlotte.
How did she grow up?
“Growing up it was not easy for me, witnessing my mother go through difficult times trying to make ends meet in raising me up,” said Charlotte. “There are times that are still painful for me to talk about, but my mother is a fighter and she gets things done and she never gives up and here I am today thanks to her.
“My mother always told me that she could not give me the world, but only education because that’s the inheritance I get to keep for life. I remember one time I had to go for entrance tests for my Form One. We had to walk from Lynwood Mvuma to Holy Cross High School by foot because it was a matter of saving for entrance test fees.
“Those who are familiar with Chirumanzu know that it is a long distance between those places. I recall we left the house at around 2am in the morning for us to get to Holy Cross before 8am for the entrance test. I also remember when I had to stay with my grandmother and mother was at school and we were financially strained. I had to walk to school without shoes.
“This one time in Form 4, my mother had to wake up at around 4am to ask for financial help from one of the farmers in order for my school fees to get paid.”
The runway and commercial model says every time she was in school, it was all about God’s grace.
“It was not easy to be there. When I look back at everything, I truly believe that,” she said as tears dropped on her brown pale make-up pasted cheek bone.
She would definitely fit in the Brown Skin Girl video by Beyonce.
“It takes a village to raise a child,” said Charlotte. “I have so many people who are not even related to me to thank for helping my mother to send me to school. I always try to reflect on how I got here so that I can get motivated to try and do better.
“I had the privilege to be raised by strong independent women, when my mother fell sick and when she also had an opportunity to go back to school I had to go and live with my grandmother. The most amazing human being ever, I wish she was here to celebrate this moment with me.”
The 25-year-old said she owes much of her girl power to her late grandmother.
“My late grandmother taught me how to cook, how to take care of myself, how to pray and to work for something, she was like my second mother,” said Charlotte. “She would always tell me that there is nothing for free in this world. My grandmother was a tailor and she would make us clothes, but to get them you had to do something in return either help weeding the fields or fetch firewood and then she would give them to us.
“She instilled in me the value of hard work and prayer. May your soul rest in peace.”
Charlotte said she was promising to erect a tombstone on her grandmother’s grave to honour her.
“I told her before that I would build a house for her, now she is late, I have to fulfill that by putting a tombstone for her,” she said.
Charlotte said modelling was natural for her as growing up her grandparents would call her Malaika because of her height.
“I had an aunt who would teach me and encourage me to do catwalk, but it was just for fun then, I think I was in Grade Three,” she said. “Ever since then, I fell in love with being called Malaika, however when you grow up insecurities creep in your life and you become too afraid to follow through with your dreams.
“I used to shrink myself in the crowds so that people won’t see how tall I am, because I used to get mocked for being the tallest girl in class and at school. Even walking in the streets right now, people still find it amusing that I am this tall.
“So, I never participated in anything that would make me stand out as I was always referred to as “toro” tall girl and to me back then it diminished my confidence.”
For the record, Charlotte’s height is 1,81m, which is the correct one for the global pageants.
She said modelling was her passion growing up.
“It is something that I love, looking back at my past year’s new year resolutions I always mentioned that I must participate in beauty pageants,” she said.
“I was inspired to go for modelling because I had my mum who would always encourage me to try, but her vision for me was to do modelling for Edgars and late last year I went there for the sake of my mum so that she will stop bothering me about it.
“I met their marketing director who encouraged me to get grooming first and to look out for auditions if I wanted to work with them. They also suggested a modelling agency for me to go for grooming. It discouraged me a bit because I did not think it was going to be this long process.
“After sometime, I met someone who rents a property from my work place (Guest and Tanner), who asked me if I was a model and when I said no, he said I’m wasting time and my talent and they gave me a contact for an agency to go to for grooming.
“Fun fact, it was the same contact I was given at Edgar’s but it took me almost two months without acting on it. When I got to look at all these events and my passion as well, I believed it was God amplifying my dream. So, early this year, I put my mind to it that I was going to try and do something about it.
“I got my grooming done, had my first campaign with WearZim, I got to do my first runway show at Makanaka fashion show and got the privilege to be one of the faces for the show. A week later, I am crowned queen at Miss Zim Queen.
“Miss supranational auditions came and I even wrote my introduction and why I should be miss supranational, but fear got a better hold of me. I told myself I will try when the next opportunity comes. The fashion show that I did in a way boosted my confidence that I can actually do this and when Miss Zimbabwe Queen came, I took a leap of faith.”
Charlotte was optimistic when taking part in the Miss Zimbabwe Queen.
“Honestly, it was about giving myself the grace to try so that I will not regret later on. What I have learned is that if you give yourself grace to try God always meets you along the way,” she said.
Apart from modelling, Charlotte said she loves writing.
“It started when I was in college, my then college Professor (Innocent Chirisa) picked me and my friend to do some editorial work for him and from then on he kept on pushing us to do more writing,” she said. “Through him I have managed to write three book chapters which are all published.
“This helped me a lot that even when it was time for my dissertation it was easier to get the work done and I managed to scoop a distinction for my final paper. I helped co-author the following book chapters which are Ground Water Management in Greater Harare, Wetlands Under the Impact of Urban Development in Zimbabwe and Food and City Planning Management in Zimbabwe.
“When I started writing these book chapters, my mother reminded me that even in primary school, I was always commended for writing good compositions. I believe it’s something that was in me that wanted to be nurtured. When I write I get this sense of joy when I look at my work and it’s fulfilling.”
Her biggest wish is building a house for her mother of which she is already working on it.
“Growing up all I ever wanted was to build my mother a house in the middle of Harare, buy her a jean dress and high heels and professionally I wanted to be an air hostess and to be a model,” said the bubbly model.
“I am a town planner at Guest and Tanner Real Estate doing property management which is closely aligned to what I want to do. I want to have my own property development company one day; and this was inspired through watching television shows like House Hunters International and Property Brothers.”
Talking about her funny story at the auditions, Charlotte said; “I was not prepared and as always, I was planning on sabotaging myself again. These auditions happened when I was still preparing for the Makanaka fashion show. The time for Miss Zimbabwe Queen auditions was clashing with my rehearsal schedule.
“However, my friends from the Makanaka fashion show knew I once spoke about auditioning so when the time was going against me, they offered to drive me to the venue. My other friend offered to do my make-up and we did at the Rainbow Towers bathroom. I am so grateful to these people because they did not give me a room to make an excuse and I showed up for the auditions.”
Describing herself, Charlotte said she was still the same girl next door.
“What has changed is now my itinerary, diary for the day,” she said. “I came to Harare through tertiary education at the University of Zimbabwe, I was fortunate enough to get my first friend there and still my friend helped me get used to the Harare life and I quickly adjusted.
“Up until today, that moment when I was announced the winner of Miss Queen Zimbabwe still feels so elusive that I still fail to fathom how it makes me feel, it’s all a blur, but I feel very grateful to have been chosen amongst the best ladies that competed.”
Charlotte said her mother is her role model.
“I would like to meet Karlie Kloss, she is an American supermodel,” she said. “Being Miss Zimbabwe Queen it’s an honour and huge responsibility which I hope to carry and do well. This whole process has been overwhelming because I know I will go through certain changes, from schedules, clothes, health, everything is going to change.
“But I am accepting these changes with a grateful heart as I know that being chosen amongst the most beautifully intelligent young ladies in my country, God saw fit and worthy of me to be crowned. I know it takes hard work, preparation, sweat and sleepless nights to be selected among the best 11 contestants, but to be crowned I believe it is destiny.”