The Stage is Set For Miss West Africa International

Going For The Prize: Sharon (Nigeria)

Going For The Prize: Sharon (Nigeria)

Miss West Africa International (UK) is just around the corner and this year’s event is promising to be explosive. As we have already reported, the contest will feature models from Ghana, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Cameroon, Guinea, Togo, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau residing outside of their home countries. In the stage that follows, the non-African constituencies that the West African International girls will be representing are USA, Canada, UK, France, and Italy and at the time we spoke to the representative of the pageant, Germany’s participation was yet to be confirmed. Asia will be represented as a continent.

The contest is designed to showcase both the beauty of West African women and the culture of the region. Already endorsed by a number of international celebrities, this year’s event is also going to be co-hosted by British celebrity comedienne Gina Yashere. Gina Yashere is also of Nigeria descent. Other celebrities are also expected to be in the house for the event at the Royal Regency Hall in London. Pictures at the event will be taken and developed by renowned photographer in the UK African community Felix Barber.

Reigning Queen: Shireen

Reigning Queen: Shireen Benjamin

When we asked one of the organisers what she thought the event brings to the global community, she said “It’s great, a lot of African culture is very popular, as we know throughout history (that) Africa has been mocked, demonised, or branded helpless in the global community, but I think Miss West Africa opens doors via smart intelligent girls, letting people know that “we are not a down trodden set of people, we have a strong music, film and fashion industry, and we have amazing looking women who are not just beggars waiting for charity money.”” She also said that “This might sound a bit upfront but we do believe there are people that are clueless about the development of Africa, even some Africans born abroad.”

On the event’s impact on West Africans, she said “I think it has a stronger effect on West Africans. It makes us acknowledge our neighbouring countries, our similarities and our differences. Some fans of Miss West Africa had never heard of some of the countries in the competition before they knew about the competition.”

The current Miss West Africa International, Shireen Benjamin, who is from Sierra Leone, could not hide her excitement over taking part in this year’s event. We gave her the opportunity to explain to us what else a Miss West Africa International does, besides going to represent the Diaspora at the home pageant. She told us that part of her role is to crown all the regional queens as well as bring awareness and encouragement by speaking out on necessary humanitarian issues regarding West Africa. The stunningly beautiful Roehampton University graduate said that “I mainly work in raising awareness regarding HIV AIDS with my mum and the Miss West Africa organisation. Another one of our main objective is to bring light to a lot of the unrecognised good works of West Africa.”

When we asked about how her work benefited herself and the people she worked with. She said, “It does help, when people see you get involved with charity work, a lot of them want to get involved. Being a Queen gives you a status that most people wish to be, so by doing anything you do they will automatically be influenced and if not they will consider it.”

She described the event as, fantastic and diverse, and added that, “I believe, the organisers of Miss West Africa do a great job of promoting (the event) outside the West African circles, so you find people of all walks of life and it’s fun. I myself was sashed by Mr England, and that news remains on the Miss England website. And with the celebrity support it definitely puts Africa ahead.”

Shireen also said that when she gets to pass on the crown, she wishes to carry on with her career in Media and that she wants to be a presenter because she loves getting to interview and know more about people. She is an example that the contest is definitely not about beauty without brains.

On other performances at the event, the organisers said that “With Miss West Africa UK, we’ve always loved to keep our performances to non vocal performances. So most times you would find drummers, dancers, instrumentalists and more, we feel they are more entertaining in the arena we are in”

For Africans who are proud of their heritage and would like to have a wonderful evening of celebrating the beauty of West-African women and their culture, Miss West Africa International is the place to be on 26 November. Locals are also encouraged to come and witness one of the pageants that expose the true beauty of an intelligent African woman.

Tickets and more information available here

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