By the time 2015 closed, there was a joke making the rounds that if you are below 25 years and have not won a crown or a title of ‘Miss-something’ then you could have a big problem.
This was due to the fact that there were so many beauty pageants organized, we lost count.
Miss Uganda was the mainstay back in the day, but at least 15 pageants were organized within Kampala alone last year and the numbers are expected to grow this year. According to Joram Muzira, who has made himself a name in the area of scouting for models and beauty queens under his Joram Model Management agency, the numerous pageants are a plus for the industry.
“The many pageants are creating a lot of opportunities for the different contestants that are taking part in them. Building their self-esteem and confidence, giving them a platform to work hard and achieve different dreams in life, since they all come with exposure benefits. They have also given back to different communities through charity, created jobs for pageant scouts and producers like me” he says.
Muzira, whose major project last year was Miss Tourism, having headed most of the regional searches, believes the different themes and causes benefit the country.
Well, Brenda Nanyonjo, the CEO Miss Uganda does not fully agree.
“They are devaluing the whole thing. Most of them do not have strong values,” Nanyonjo says, attributing the mushrooming pageants to the success of Miss Uganda.
She, however, recognises pageants such as Miss Tourism, Miss Teen, University Pageants and Miss Uganda, whose values are clearly spelled out as promoting Uganda’s tourism, promoting teenage girls’ talents, selling the institution of learning to the outside world, and empowering the girl child, respectively.
She does not support the idea of some girls turning their contesting in different pageants into a full time job.
“Those ones have no shot at the Miss Uganda crown,” she says.
Well, Nanyonjo’s ‘misery’ can only get worse in 2016, seeing as there are more pageants coming up.
The following are some of the crowns up for grabs this year.
Miss Kampala Royale
This pageant is supposed to pick the face of the Kampala City.
Grace Gashumba is the reigning Miss Kampala Royale. She has done a good job making appearances at events. Can she do something tangible with the crown before her reign ends? Lets wait and see.
Mr and Miss Y+
This one brings together young people living with HIV in order to fight stigma.
Robinah Babirye, who won the crown, is a Kyambogo University student and has dedicated her life to being a peer educator on how to live with the virus. This pageant will certainly return this year.
This pageant aims at promoting environmental awareness and empowering women with knowledge on environmental protection. Pearl Asasira won the first edition in Uganda.
Miss Teen targets teenagers of school going age. It is all about encouraging them to be creative and develop their talents while pursuing their education. It reaches out to schools in all regions and winners get schools fees.
Miss Teen powered by Mirinda has had a successful run in the last couple of years and looks set to return.
The winner becomes the face of tourism and her job is to sell ‘destination Uganda’ to the world. The
Zahara Nakiyaga, Miss Uganda 2015 just returned from Miss World. The pageant is all about beauty with a purpose and aims at empowering the girl-child. It is still the most prestigious pageant.
The winner becomes the face of the Bakuli-based nightclub.
While every university and vocational institute worth its name crowns its own beauty queen annually, they unite with a Miss University pageant.
Makerere University’s Lillian Luzinda is the reigning queen, beating the host, International University of East Africa (IUEA) representative and crowd’s favourite, Ariane Ndalikoto to the crown.
Mr and Miss Graphic Group of Companies 2015
Yes. That one exists. The group of companies where Graphic Systems falls among others held its own version during the Christmas party. Those who attended say it was very well organized. The idea was to pick a brand ambassador.
So if you work for any of the companies under this umbrella, it is time to start preparations as you may walk away with the crown at this year’s staff Christmas party.
Miss South Sudan Uganda
Miss South Sudan Uganda did not take place last year due to sponsorship issues but it could return this year. So, if you are a beauty from South Sudan living in Uganda, this could be your year to return home with a crown and title, of course assuming that the sponsors come on board.
If beauty pageants are your thing, your work is cut out. Target a crown and go for it.