Q & A: Meet Miss West Africa International (UK)

Waving Her Flag Proudly: Madeleine Glatz

Waving Her Flag Proudly: Madeleine Glatz

At 1230 in the early morning hours of 27 November 2010, the new Miss West Africa UK was crowned. Out of all the beautiful contestants from several different West African countries, Madeleine Glatz was the judges’ final pick.
A surprised and tearful Madeleine stepped forward to be ‘sashed’. She sat on her throne, flanked by the second runner up Taneesha from Gambia and first runner up Astride from Guinea Bissau as she received the honour. This episode marked the beginning of a new chapter for 23 year old lady, who was very unconfident about even being in the top 3, at the end of the contest. Her crowning has been dubbed by judges as game changing. They said “they believe Madeleine’s victory will have a big impact on the stereotypical analysis of beauty today and encourage more people all over the world to recognise dark skin and afro hair as a high level of beauty.”

The intelligent multilingual model is also a keen ‘fashionista’ with a great taste of clothes and accessories. We believe this icon in the making is just at the beginning of her journey of success and spreading the message of authentic African beauty. One of her next major challenges is to win the Miss West Africa International contest so she can represent West Africa, not only in the UK Diaspora but in the world as a whole

We caught up with the newly crowned Queen and got the opportunity to ask a few questions about who she is, where she is coming from and where she is going. Here is what she shared with us.

How does it feel?

Madeleine: It feels like I am still the same person, but with more responsibilities and projects.

Do you think you had something special over the other girls?

Madeleine: No I think everyone is special and unique that is why we all are different.

What challenges do you think lie ahead of you as the new Miss West Africa UK?

Madeleine: The first challenge is to keep it up and let people know that I have not won this crown for Cameroon alone but for all of West Africa, and do my best to respect all the other 15 countries.

New  Queen: Madeleine Glatz

New Queen: Madeleine Glatz

How many languages do you speak?

Madeleine: French is my mother tongue, my spanish and russian are basic, and I am still developing with English.

What is your favourite African food?

Madeleine: Banana plantain, pastel, jellof rice and chicken well cooked! I could even eat it for breakfast too! I am really flexible with food.

If I don’t have my facts wrong, you moved to France at the age of 5 and grew up there?

Madeleine: Yes.

You could have chosen to take part in French pageants but you chose Miss West Africa. I know you have Cameroonian roots but apart from that, why did you choose to get into Miss West Africa?

Madeleine: I have always been really proud and in love with my roots and this is why I ceased this (opportunity) occasion to represent my country, Cameroon as best as I could. I felt Miss West Africa was one of the few African pageants that push their winners and their messages and it would be a good platform for me to voice my opinions too.

Who is/are your favourite artist?

Madeleine: As a female singer I would like to say Lauryn Hill as a male singer Lenny Kravitz.

You were never confident about winning the contest because you “assumed, your strong African features and look would not be embraced by the judges”. What message do you think your victory sends to African girls with similar appearances?

Madeleine: It is true that I had some doubts about winning because I felt like I was too much different from the other girls, because of the hair style when actually I was just wore my natural hair. If I have to send a message it won’t be only for the African girls with a similar appearance to me. That would be ridiculous. It (the message) will be for the whole world. I think everyone should be themselves and wear what they like. I think if you love to wear extensions, wigs or weaves then go for it, as long as you do it because you like it and not because you are insecure of your own features. I don’t think I should use the crown as a way to tell people what they should do and how they should look, but for girls that want to be natural I hope this will encourage them.

The next question was going to be. What message would this send to the world at large but you kind of answered already. Would you like to extend a bit more?

Madeleine: My victory is a nappy start! It means if you want to, be the real “You”, the way God made you! I think society likes to discourage African women from being natural and my message is let yourself out when you want to because out there, there is are plenty of beautiful black African women who are losing their beauty because of the society stereotype.

You lost your mother when you were very young. What do you think this would have meant to her if she was still alive?

Madeleine: Oh my days, she would have been so proud! She used to have short hair and rasta (dreadlocks) and my natural dad a small afro! Also, my adoptive family was really proud when they heard I entered this competition for my country! They always told me how much they loved my hair without chemical or extensions and how beautiful my skin was. Actually they made me the black lady I am today.

What perfume do you wear? Or which one is your favourite one?

Madeleine: I used to wear Dolce and Gabana and Kate Moss ha ha…sometimes I wear Yves Saint-Laurent.

In one of your online profiles you wrote that “like to dance ballet as much as in a Hip-Hop battle or a Bachata contest and that you appreciate as much to see some graffiti as to go to an exhibition”. What sort of person do you think that makes you? One that tries to fit in, in every circle or one that is built to fit in.

Madeleine: Actually it was for an essay that I did for my school in Events Management. As how you read it, it makes me an open minded person and the paragraph that follows that statement is “I was fortunate to grow up in melting-pot family, with different artistic tastes, origins, skin-colour, and languages. I will be lying if I said that my family has not had a significant influence in most of my choices and artistic tastes.
They all made me open mind and aware to everything and everyone around me or at the end of the world.”
But being open minded does not make me forget where I came from and what story is and it never will.

Can you rap or beat box?

Madeleine: ha ha i used to rap when I was a teenager and everyone in my school and family knew it! I love to write and it has been always easy to do and express myself that way, but beat boxing, no. I can’t even make a proper african “tchip” so imagine me doing a drum rhythm…

Stunning: Madeleine

Stunning: Madeleine

How about singing? I think you mentioned being a female singer earlier.

Madeleine: oh lala I am known in my family to be a bad singer but I don’t care because I love singing it makes me feel good.

Do you see yourself in Hollywood at some point in the future or maybe in hip hop music videos?

Madeleine: No, not at all. I am interested in visiting USA as a tourist definitely but not more. I really love meaningful hip-hop but there are also rappers that I love to listen to relax with friends or when I am out partying, not because I love their lyrics or they philosophy but because of their voice, and their style… But I will not mind to play a part in a video shoot for Kanye West, Nas, Jay-Z, The Roots and a few other artists on their level.

Which is your favourite holiday destination?

Madeleine: As a personal statement, Africa, but for pleasure it will be Brazil.

What do you like about Brazil?

Madeleine: For the history and the fact that it is really a culture similar to Africa’s.

Do you watch or follow any sports and who is your favourite athlete?

Madeleine: Usian Bolt is amazing, lol. When I was younger I loved to watch football and I have had a crush on Allen Iverson since I was 12 years old, I can’t even explain why.

Which celebrity or luminary would you like to meet most?

Madeleine: So many the Fugees, Spike Lee, Kah Wallah (who is running in the Cameroonian presidential election), Nelson Mandela, Ticken Jah Fakoly, India Are, Ben Harper and Lenny Kravitz and more, I have already met the Noisette’s singer. She is amazing.

What do you think contests like Miss West Africa do for young Aficans who moved abroad from Africa at young age, like yourself and those who are born outside of Africa?

Madeleine: I think it is good. It shows the young people that knowing your culture is an achievement, and that if you also know your country, there can be a big show just for you. It is very hard for some Africans outside of Africa to be proud of themselves, so shows like this make it easy for them to know that the world thinks a lot of them. It makes them want to be African even more.

What do you think the organisers should do to reach out more to those kind of people?

Madeleine: It would be good if there was more frequent travelling with the winners and even the contestants to engage with African people more but I think for this to happen you need lots of sponsorship.

Any words of advice for young and upcoming models?

Madeleine: Not really as I am a beginner in modelling, but I might say just be yourself and never do something that you don’t feel comfortable with.

When and where will you next public appearance be?

Madeleine: It will be on the Posh Show at Planet Nolly and it will be aired on the 21st of December, stay tuned.

Lastly, are you single or in a relationship, he he?

Madeleine: he he he he he he that is a secret

Thank you so much for talking to us today.

Madeleine: You are very welcome

See pictures below, courtesy of Felix Barber

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