Posts Tagged ‘MRS BOTSWANA 2011’

Nomalanga: Miss World announces contestants list-what about the judges?

Friday, April 20th, 2012

It is being reported that a list of 50 winners of national beauty pageants around the world was made public. These 50 are the first of what is expected to be a total of 120 women all vying for the Miss World 2012 title. What I find interesting is that we always know so much about the contestants but so little about the judges.

It makes sense that in order to protect the integrity of the judging process, the international beauty pageants would not disclose the names of the judges but I also think it is reasonable to expect that after the pageants, there should be full disclosure. If there is no transparency in the judging process, we can never be certain that the winner was chosen fairly.

My experience at Mrs World 2011
led me to write a letter to the Mrs World Pageant owners, specifically because the pageant lacked both transparency in the judging process and there was a lack of diversity in the selection of the judges as well. Of the nearly 60 women that entered the Mrs World pageant, there were no less that 12 women who were either African or identified themselves as being of African decent and yet, not one single one made it into the top 14. Of the women that the judges selected to go into the top 14, only Mrs Vietnam (a gorgeous and phenomenal woman) made it in. The problem with this is that the only non-white judge on the judging panel was a Vietnamese woman who is also a former Mrs Vietnam.

I’m saying all this to make one basic point, we need BOTH transparency and diversity in judging international pageants. If pageants are going to define beauty by narrow, euro-centric standards, then it may be best for those that do not fit into those narrow stands to forgo entering the pageants all together. Although pageants are about more than how the women look, it is next to impossible to deny that how the women look is certainly a critical factor in deciding who walks away with the title.

The main reason why I wrote the letter to the owners of the Mrs World pageant is because I believe that the Mrs World did not select a diverse pool of judges and in so doing, they opened most of the Mrs World contestants to an unfair pageant experience.

One thing that I absolutely love about the Miss World (not MRS) pageant system is that their judging system is such that they always have a finalist from every continent or region of the world. That being said, in their history, they have only, to my knowledge, ever had two Black women win the title. Statistically, that is not high enough and I hope that in the coming years, we will see an improvement. Being a finalist and or runner up is great, but black women deserve to wear the crown as well.

Nomalanga: Why I wrote a letter to The Mrs World Pageant Owners

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

These are the reasons that I wrote the letter:

1. Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and skin tones. The judges selection of the Mrs World 2011 finalists did not reflect that.

2. An all white judging panel is less likely to see the beauty in a black women and other non-white women than a panel of judges that has a mix of both white and non-white judges.

3. I believe that because of my letter, the next time that the Mrs World organization holds a pageant, they will diversify their judging panel or they will have a judging system in place that will ensure that they select finalists from very continent or region of the world.

Side note: If they don’t do what I mentioned on point number 3, above, I will be writing them another letter and publishing that as well!

These are NOT the reasons why I wrote-the letter:

1. Mrs. America, April Lufriu did not deserve to win. -In fact, I actually believe that in spite of all the inconsistencies of the pageant, she probably would still have emerged as the winner!

2. I was mad that I did not win. -I have entered more pageants than I can count and have never actually won a national or international title and have never complained because there was a fairness, diversity and transparency in the judging system. I have been a first runner up twice and a finalist in most of the pageants that I entered and each and every time, I graciously congratulated the winner, thanked the organizers and then went on with my life.

HOW I WON AT MRS WORLD 2011

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

1. I became a pioneer for my country as the first ever Mrs Botswana
In the history of Botswana, no married woman has ever taken the courageous and bold step to enter the Mrs World pageant and represent the beautiful married women of Botswana. I am proud and honored to have opened this door and it is my hope and desire that we will continue in this new and unique way of recognizing the hard work, accomplishments and beauty of the married women of Botswana.

2. I achieved a lifelong dream of representing my country at an international pageant
In 1997, I entered the Miss Botswana (World) pageant and was honored to attain second place and be crowned the first princess of Miss Botswana 1997. Mpule Kwelagobe won that year and a couple of years later she was the first ever contestant from Botswana to enter the Miss Universe pageant. Mpule went on to make history as the first ever Black African woman to win the Miss Universe pageant. Mpule’s win brought all us Batswana a great deal of joy and pride and I believe she represented us exceptionally but my desire to compete at an international pageant never left. By competing in the Mrs World 2011 pageant, I finally fulfilled one of my big dreams.

3. I raised awareness and brought attention to issues that I’m passionate about.
Those that know me know that I recently designed, piloted and taught a college level course designed for young black women and other women of color. I believe that personal development is the bridge that takes us from where we are to where we were born to be and my passion and purpose is to instill this one principle in as many young women as I can. Mentorship and good roles models affect us in such positive ways and the more women of substance that stand up and lead by example, the more of a positive impact we can make in our families, our communities and society as a whole.

4. I reclaimed my health, beauty and vigor.
When I decided to enter the Mrs World pageant, I decided to be the best that I can be. I walked in looking my best and feeling my best. It was about being the most beautiful, healthy, fit and positive ME that I could be and going after this goal injected some passion back into my life and I channeled it into doing better with my eating and exercise habits!

5. I made lifetime friends.
I was loved, affirmed, validated, encouraged and understood and it did not just stop there, I met women who I instantly loved and appreciated and I poured into them in the same way that they poured into me. I laughed and cried and connected with such phenomenal women and my life is forever changed by that beautiful experience.

6. I brought “Noma” to the Mrs World pageant
One of the things that I heard most consistently before and during the pageant was “just be yourself” and that is exactly what I did. Some people loved it, some liked it and some…not so much :-). The victory here is that I accept myself as I am and that opens the door for others to do the same and that is one of the most powerful lessons that I have learned in my adult life.

7. I took my very first “solo” and much needed vacation ever since I got married and subsequently had children.
Since I got married and had children, I have never been away from all of them and my job all at the same time. What this experience has done for me is that it gave me time and space to reflect on my life and my life choices. It gave me a new sense of appreciation for my wonderful husband and my beautiful children.

8. I carried myself with grace and dignity.
The low moment in this pageant experience was the announcement of the top 14 the judges selected and sadly, there was not a single African woman or black woman or a woman of African heritage or descent amongst them-not a single one. At a point during the final night, there was talk of the all black women boycotting the pageant and just walking off. I was instrumental in negotiating with those that felt strongly enough to do it and asked them to maintain their grace and dignity even in the moment of such blatant disrespect and disregard. We all walked back on the stage and supported the winner, Mrs America; a beautiful woman with such a big heart that I felt the crown was in its rightful place.

9. I realized just how much my friends and family love, admire and support me.
During the week leading up to the pageant, I got so many messages of love, encouragement and motivation from friends and family from all around the world and I am forever grateful for that. I am so humbled by the amount of faith that “my people” had in [God] and what he could do through me.

10. I failed to get the crown but every failure takes me one step closer to my ultimate success.
At the end of the day, I did not walk home with the crown and that is okay because as I said, every failure (even though this was ultimately not a failure) leads to my ultimate success and my success is that of my husband, Ezra Moses, my children, my parents and family, my community and my country, the diamond of Africa-Botswana.

Ke a leboga bagaetsho. (translation: Thank you my brethren /my countrymen)