It was a case of second time lucky for Charity Mwangi, 22 who has been declared Miss World Kenya 2015. The beauty representing Kiambu County, in her words “the land of milk and honey” trounced nine other contestants to take home the crown, the car and the cash.
In an intimate, glamorous affair featuring world class performances from Jazzist Hellon and Jamaican reggae artistes Morgan Heritage, the Weston Hotel, Nairobi traded infamy for beauty as it hosted the finale.
Ten contestants, all taking a second stab at the national title took to the stage as a group in a choreographed dance before individually strutting the stage in a show of confidence, elegance and poise.
In immaculate makeup, not an eyelash out of place balancing expertly on sky high heels they strutted and twirled first in cultural wear of their respective counties before changing into contemporary African wear and then into glamorous evening gowns.
It was in these body-skimming gowns that they presented their scorecard as they made an attempt to impress the judges to name them Kenya’s representative to the global pageant to be held in China later this year.
MORE THAN BEAUTY
The finalists, drawn from the pool of 24 finalists from last year’s pageant, presented a report on their performance and activities during the year of their reign. This is a marked departure from the past pageants when the contestants give proposals of what they intend to do.
According to Terry Mungai, of Ashleys Kenya, the Miss World Kenya franchise holder, said this was in line with global practices and gave Kenya an opportunity to adequately prepare their representative at the world stage. “This year we made changes to the order of crowning its beauty queens to reflect majority of other competing nations of the world where the country representative is chosen a year in advance in order to give ample time and opportunity for further training and exposure before they compete at the international stage,” she said.
Wilson Malaba, the associate director of Miss World Kenya secretariat said that this pageant was looking at being more than just a beauty pageant. “We are looking at how best we can use this platform to bring about a transformation by championing causes that can bring positive changes to the society.”
Mwangi, an Agricultural Resource Management student at the Kenyatta University said that she had in her reign embarked on a personal campaign dubbed ‘Mtoto Aishi initiative that turned a painful experience into a beautiful cause that aims to educate mothers, nannies and child caregivers on first aid to avert infant death in domestic accidents. “We lost a child close to my family due to chocking on a bean.”
However, the beauty with a purpose crown that came with a cash prize of Sh50,000 went to Miss Narok, Nabaya Ntete who cycled a long distance on a bicycle to get a medical assistance for an ailing person in her community.
The new beauty queen takes over from Ms Idah Nguma who emerged seventh overall during the Miss World finals held in London last year, a feat Kenya had not been achieved in over a decade.
The pageant which celebrated 50 years of its existence is different from other pageants as it hopes to cherry pick beauties with a combination of qualities that would give them the highest chances of winning as opposed to popular votes.
“The international standards are stringent and we assemble a panel of judges who have international exposure and experience in judging pageants to select an all-rounded individual with a host of qualities. “But we will make special considerations for models who possess almost all the qualities but we will not negotiate with intelligence and a great personality its key, Mungai said.
Kajiado’s Margaret Muchemi Kajiado was named first runners-up winning Sh100,000 while Murang’a’s Olive Waithera was the second runners-up pocketing a cash prize of Sh50,000.
This year’s final were held against the backdrop of county auditions for the Miss Kenya 2016. Scouts and beauty insiders have been traversing the counties in search of the next beauty to be unveiled in partnership with County Governments to ensure the success and spread of opportunities.
It is the first year without the Beach Wear (swimsuit) category as per the new guidelines set out by the Miss World global secretariat.
The organisers too have brought back the male competition due to great public demand from across the country and also to ensure the boy child has a role model and a voice in this dynamic society.