Former Miss Scuba Kenya, Umutoni Thuku Benzinge, has her eye on 254. She’s introducing the long running international pageant to this part of the globe, writes Cheptoek Boyo
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a 23 years old, half Rwandese and half Kenyan. I moved to the UK at a young age with my family. That’s where I completed my education and did a degree in economics at the University of Leicester.
You won Miss Scuba Kenya 2013. Could you tell us a bit about the competition?
I was in my final year in university and my mom told me to apply. It was the perfect fit because I always loved swimming, though I didn’t know how to scuba dive. I saw it as a great opportunity because I loved to travel. I went for the auditions among other Kenyans in the Diaspora.
I was crowned Miss Scuba Kenya 2013. I got my Padi (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) open water licence. When the time came for the Miss Scuba International, I jetted into Malaysia, where they were taking place. However, I didn’t win.
What did you gain after doing Miss Scuba international?
In 2014, I was invited to host the Miss Scuba International finals and this year, I was made the director of Miss Scuba Kenya.
You are currently working in an IT firm. Where does economics come into play?
After I graduated, I did an internship in various organisations. During this time, I realised that economics was not my thing.
I got into IT and found it challenging and exactly what I needed. No day is the same unlike in economics. I also get to network with different people in various fields.
Since inception, Miss Scuba has been an international pageant. Why bring it here?
After I was made the Kenyan director, I saw an opportunity for the Kenyan girls to get to see the world and also work with Kenyan organisations for different causes.
What are some of the benefits of winning the pageant?
Kenya is the first African country to compete for Miss Scuba International. The winner will be the Kenyan ambassador internationally and also get a chance to work with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) both in marine and general wildlife.
Advice to upcoming models?
Work on yourself and embrace who you are because there is nobody else like you. Start where you are, use what you have and do what you can.