Keep calm and win the crown — it’s a pageant thing. Just ask the newly-crowned Miss World Africa, Evelyn Njambi. This is her moment, and she owns it, writes Cynthia Mukanzi
Congratulations on winning the crown. How does it feel like to be Miss World Africa?
It is a humbling experience and exciting at the same time to be chosen to represent my continent. It is a dream come true and means the world to me.
What was your reaction when you were named Miss World Africa?
I was shocked and thought I would faint. It was overwhelming. Every girl in the contest was a masterpiece that bubbled with intelligence. This could have gone any way and for me to get the title was a sweet surprise. I’m so eager to see what it all comes with.
Now that the crown is on your head, the spotlight is on you and that means responsibility. Are you ready for the magnitude it holds?
Let me say that I do not know what the future holds, but everything that one does prior to anything, prepares them for what is ahead. I trust that with the help I get from Ashleys, my home county, and loved ones, I shall conquer this and maybe even exceed expectations.
So, no jitters at all?
Not at all. You know, there is nothing to it but to do it and I am ready to take it on. All I need is to give it my best and that is not a question. Once you are given a crown, it is up to you to decide what to do with it.
How did you end up competing on Miss World Kenya?
I’m undertaking a degree in interior design and IT at Maseno University in Kisumu. I was going through my IG and came across the post on the concluded auditions for Miss World Kenya in Nairobi and that broke my heart. I talked to my brother who offered to check whether auditions were ongoing in other counties. Kiambu was yet to hold its auditions and so I went for it.
The finals came in August and I emerged the winner. I was the first runners-up at the national level and had gone back to school when I got a call that Miss World Kenya needed me to step in as a replacement for the pageant and represent 254. God had answered my prayers because I always wanted to contest in the Miss World pageantry.
What were the days leading up to the ultimate crowning like?
I had a lot of work to do within a short period of time. I hit the gym immediately and had to spearhead my charity anti-FGM charity campaign. We went to a boot camp in US on November 26 to December 18, when the final crowning took place. It was tough because this year, the boot camp session did not last for five weeks, as is the norm. It was a rushed preparation, but it paid off.
Why did you choose to focus on an anti-FGM campaign?
I met a girl who had to stop school after undergoing FGM and her story was sad. For many of these girls, FGM means end of childhood, no education and crashed dreams. Once you deny a child education, you are destroying their life. I believe children should be able to live in the endless possibilities that the future holds for them. It is important that we stand up and eradicate FGM. It has given me a platform to mentor and be someone who people can look up to.
How was it like interacting with models from other countries?
Every girl who was competing in Miss World was beautiful and had a purpose with wonderful projects. I felt at home. We were like-minded and purposed to use the crown to help others. It was easy for us to bond and be close because we had similar goals of making a difference.
We want to use the platform to draw attention to pressing issues in society. What were some of your highlights during the boot camp session? Tourin New York was a big one. It was beautiful. We also went to visit children whose parents were missing in action for different reasons. It was humbling to interact with them and give them hope.
Being a beauty queen, Spicers thought you’d be all glammed up but you barely have make-up on and still look stunning. What would you tell people struggling with body image or looks?
If you want to wear make-up or not, do you by all means. At the end of the day, it is your body and so, be at liberty to explore. However, focus on that which brings out your inner beauty. I grew up in a family full of love. My parents never forgot to remind us our worth and that affirmation gave me confidence to take on the world.
When did you get into modelling?
When I was in first year, I tried out for a beauty pageant contest, but it didn’t go well. I later decided to pursue modelling and called an agency. They demanded a huge amount of cash, which I couldn’t afford at 19. When Miss Kiambu county auditions came, I gave it a shot and here I am.
So, how would Miss World Africa describe her style?
I would say chic. I love floral attires. I’m so much into skater dresses and nude make-up. Oh, and let me just mention that Victoria Beckham is my fashion icon.