Interview done by Pulse Magazine
Pulse: You did not win the Miss World Kenya title last year after you made it into the top ten. Did you think you would ever win the title again?
Charity: The feeling is amazing. I have learned persistence and dedication. Those two virtues will take you miles. Looking back, I am relieved that I did not win last year. I wouldn’t have been the best Miss World Kenya option at the time. Let’s just say it was Idah Nguma’s time. This time round I was so sure that my time had come.
P: Just to take you back a bit; what was going through your mind back then watching Idah celebrate her win?
C: Throughout the finals that evening, it was nerve-wrecking waiting to hear your name get called out as it became evident only one of us was to be crowned. When I heard Idah’s name, I was happy. I knew she was a deserving winner and a queen and was absolutely going to make Kenya proud. She ended up among the top seven during the Miss World finals and could have probably been crowned Miss World Africa since the winner Rolene Strauss, the only African beauty who beat her ended up being crowned Miss World. Idah went ahead to be crowned Miss Beauty with a Purpose, a title that comes with Sh900,000. She did Kenya very proud.
P: How does it feel to get a second chance that finally gave you the coveted title and a golden opportunity to fame and fortune?
C: It was humbling to have a second chance. Life does not give you a lot of those so when I got the chance to represent to county again this year, I went for it with all I’ve got. My fellow county queens were very excited when we got the news that we would be competing again.
P: What did you do different this time round?
C: I was better prepared this time round and I stayed true to myself.
P: When you say more prepared, what do you mean?
C: Since last year August, I was the reigning Miss World Kenya, Kiambu County. This experience was life -hanging and very educative.
P: What did you achieve as Miss World Kenya, Kiambu?
C: My title crown opened doors that not only benefited me but others. I tackled several social issues in my community as a reigning queen. My main platform issues are combating mortality due to domestic injuries and restoring smiles in partnership with Smile Train Africa. I founded and have been implementing a first aid campaign known as Mtoto Aishi. This initiative helps to educate new mothers and caregivers on matters of first aid for children under the age of five. On the same platform, I raise awareness on corrective surgeries for cleft lips and palates. I have learned that being a beauty queen is not just having a beautiful face. The true meaning of a beauty queen is far from how many people look at it.
P: On that note, what is the real meaning of a beauty queen and how does that title affect your daily life?
C: It means living your life in dedication to the greater good of the community. It means being a role model and mentor. It means touching as many lives in the society as you can though doing good. True beauty comes from the heart.
P: Now that you come from Kiambu County, a hotbed of politics, where politicians might want to interfere with your reign, how are you preparing to deal with that?
C: I will not let politicians interfere with me. The Miss World Kenya title is an office. It is not an individual. With this in mind, I will carry out my duties as Miss Kenya with the support of Terry Mungai, the pageant holder and Ashleys CEO. The Miss World Kenya team is behind me to help me achieve the set goals.
P: You are still a young university student at Kenyatta University, where most beauty queens come from, so congrats again. What are you studying in campus and how do you plan to balance your studies and new duties?
C: Thanks. I am a final year student studying for a Bachelor of Science in health services management. The new title comes with responsibilities that may interfere with my learning and so that means I must re-plan my study calendar. This is already being worked on.
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.