Miss Africa USA Searching for Miss Ethiopia

Fifi Soumah of the Republic of Guinea was the winner of last year's Miss Africa USA crown. (H Greaves Photography)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Thursday, September 8, 2011

New York (TADIAS) – Organizers of the Miss Africa USA pageant say that Ethiopia remains unrepresented as they prepare to crown the 2011 Queen at their annual event in Silver Spring, Maryland in November.

“Right now we are still searching for a candidate to represent Ethiopia,” Constance Nkwantah, Communications Director of the pageant, told Tadias Magazine.

According to Ms. Nkwantah the scholarship pageant is open to delegates from all 54 countries. Past winners have gone on to join forces with Habitat for Humanity, Concern USA, as well as Russell Simmons’s Diamond Empowerment Fund, to help raise money for various causes benefiting communities in Africa and the United States.

Below is our recent interview with Constance Nkwantah:

Tadias: Please tell us a bit about the Miss Africa USA Pageant. When was it launched and what is the objective?

Constance Nkwantah: Miss Africa USA Pageant is a Scholarship and Beauty Pageant and our mission is to empower young girls as Goodwill Ambassadors promoting positive causes in their home countries and the world. It showcases African cultures and diversity, bringing together all African nations in a grand celebration.

Tadias: How many African countries are represented at the upcoming contest?

CN: Our closing date is Sept 30th and the competition is open to all 54 countries. We are looking at up to 25 countries for the 2011 Pageant.

Tadias: Is Ethiopia one of them?

CN: Right now we are still searching for a candidate to represent Ethiopia. Ethiopia has very beautiful and intelligent women and it will be great to have a representation. Last year Ethiopia was well represented and we hope this year will not be different. We encourage all ambitious and dynamic young women aged between 18 and 30 to participate. We are still accepting applicants up until Sept 30th.

Tadias: How do you select the girls? What is the criteria to participate?

CN: Our selection is done via an application process, then we audition the girls and carry out interviews for each country in order to make a final selection.

Tadias: How do you answer critics who say that beauty pageants are demeaning to women?

CN: Miss Africa USA Pageant has never received such a criticism because we focus on the substance of a woman rather than the physical appearance of a woman or her sexuality. The Miss Africa USA Pageant preserves the African culture and therefore we do not have bathing suits as a segment of the competition which is what draws criticism. Rather, we focus on leadership skills and talent. Our Queen has huge responsibilities.

Finalists at the 2010 Miss Africa USA Pageant. (Photo credit: H Greaves Photography)

Some of the contestants at the 2010 Miss Africa USA Pageant. (By H Greaves Photography)

Sofia Bushen (L) was a finalist representing Ethiopia at the 2010 Miss Africa USA contest, held July 24, 2010 in Silver Spring, MD. (Photo: H Greaves Photography)

Tadias: What are the challenges you face as a pageant organization?

CN: Over the last couple of years, it has been difficult to get new sponsorships so a lot of the financial commitments are met by personal sacrifice. We appeal each year for sponsors to keep the pageant going and will continue to do so. We are grateful to Western Union and our presenting sponsors who have been there over the years. We hope to win back MoneyGram this year and other corporate sponsors. The pageant is very costly to produce and we need the support of the community.

Tadias: Could you share with us some success stories of pass winners of Miss Africa USA Pageant or other participants?

CN: Our focus is on promoting goodwill. The current Queen Fifi Soumah from the Republic of Guinea is right now in Guinea to launch her Foundation called TEARS AWAY. She is focused on promoting education of young girls. The United Nations statistics show that 81% of girls in Guinea cannot read and write. Miss Africa USA Fifi Soumah has established a scholarship program to help these young girls go back to school and get an education. She herself is a student at Montgomery College in Maryland. And In 2008 Miss Mfonobong Essiet of Nigeria completed her medical project where she donated a 40ft container of medical equipment and supplies to five different hospitals in her country. It was a very successful project. She is currently a medical student studying to be a Cardiac Surgeon.

Tadias: What should people expect at 2011 MISS Africa USA Pageant?

CN: The 2011 pageant is full of excitement. On the 12th of November we are having the African Banquet at the Hilton Hotel in Silver Spring Maryland. We have invited members of the African Diplomatic Core, community leaders and our sponsors and VIPs to be our guests at the official opening of the pageant. Finalists will be presenting their platform projects. The following day at the same loaction, we will host the final competition and a coronation ceremony. It’s a red carpet affair showcasing the culture, beauty and diversity of Africa. The entire family can attend.

Tadias: Is there anything else you would like to share with our audience?

CN: We are asking the community to come out and support the 2011 finalists who are representing Africa. We thank Tadias for the opportunity to reach out to the Ethiopian American community.

Tadias: One more thing, we understand that you’ve partnered with Nollywood Critics to present The 2011 NAFCA: “The African Oscar.” Can you tell us more about it?

CN: The awards is open to African Film Makers and the executive producer Dr. Victor Adeyemi is very open to collaborate with film makers from all over the continent. I would encouarage all film makers and actors who are interested in participating to contact us for more information.

Tadias: Thank you.

If You Go:
The 2011 Pageant is slated for Sunday November 13th from 5pm – 11pm. Tickets are $45 in advance and $50 at the door. Tickets start selling on Friday, September 9th via the website www.missafricaunitedstates.com. The African Banquet takes place on Sat Nov 12 and tickets are $100 each. Both events will take place at the Hilton Hotel 8272 Colesville Rd, Silver Spring, MD. Free parking is available.

Watch: Miss Africa USA 2010 Introduction Dance (Video courtesy of Miss Africa USA)

1 Response to “Miss Africa USA Searching for Miss Ethiopia”

  1. 1 Miss Africa USA Making Progress in Its Search for Miss Ethiopia at Tadias Magazine Pingback on Sep 19th, 2011 at 3:05 pm
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