I had the unique opportunity 2 nights ago to observe and lend a hand to the Miss World Kenya competition. The contestants are aged 18-25 and they were selected from over 3000 applicants to represent their country in hopes of eventually becoming Miss World 2010.
They are all beautiful at the cusp of fame and international notoriety.
In contrast to previous years, the Miss World Kenya competition of 2010 is modeled off of American pageants; girls will not be judged on looks alone but on their personalities, their work ethic, and their ability to be a team player. Contestants are expected to choose a social issue that they would advocate for if selected as Miss Kenya, and they are trained on the values of poise, cultural respect and civic responsibility.
The organizers of the event are motivated to create something new—not just a singular event that produces a Miss World competitor, but a culture of confident young women and a community of socially responsible peer leaders.
I have decided, as long as I continue to have the permission of the pageant organizers, to incorporate profiles of the pageant and it’s contestants with my broader advocacy work. The 20 remaining contestants (2 are eliminated each week) are representative of all regions of Kenya. Many of them had never been to Nairobi before this competition and as of last week and for the remaining month they will be living together in a house and starring in a reality show about the competition.
I walked in as a stranger and I was amazed at the extent to which they welcomed me into their community; the contestants, the organizers, even the make-up artists and hair stylist were generous enough to let me interrupt their work with questions and photographs.
I look forward to following their stories, I hope you will too.
Posted By Dara Lipton
Posted Jul 14th, 2010