Beauty with a purpose: How Miss Kenya dazzled the world

Tuesday December 16 2014
miss world

Miss Kenya Idah Nguma (centre) with the first runners-up, Lucy Wangechi (left) and second runners- up Lucy Amtalla (right) at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport where they had gone to welcome back the reigning Miss Kenya on her triumphant return from London on December 16, 2014. PHOTO | COURTESY


When reigning Miss Kenya Idah Nguma went for the world contest, little did she know she will come back with another title.

For during the Miss World Kenya contest in London, she was declared the winner the Beauty with a Purpose title.

The award is bestowed to the most transformative charitable cause championed by the individual Miss World chapters.


The title comes with a Ksh 900,000 ($10,000) donation.

Nguma will be working with Smile Train, an organisation that provides free corrective surgery to people with cleft lip and palate.


Miss Nguma represented Kenya at the Miss World Finals 2014 held in ExCel London on Sunday night where she was declared the seventh most beautiful girl in the world, the best position Kenya has held in over a decade.

In making it to the top ten, the fourth year marketing student at Kenyatta University managed to break a 14- year jinx that has seen the country’s representative to the pageant perform poorly.

Miss Nguma’s performance has not been repeated since Kenya’s Yolanda Masinde was top 10 in 2000.

Rolene Strauss from South Africa was crowned Miss World 2014. Miss Hungary, Edina Kulcsar, came second while Miss United States, Elizabeth Safrit, came third in the world’s most glamorous beauty pageant.

Nguma said it was a great moment for her and was proud to have flown the country’s flag high.


“This is the best moment of my life. I am overwhelmed at the pageant’s legacy and I’m glad I did not let the country down,” she said.

She arrived home Tuesday to a tumultuous welcome.

Her early morning return brought the busy airport to a standstill as beauty queens and a troupe of dancers were on hand to receive her.

At a breakfast in her honour Tuesday, Mr Wilson Malaba of the Miss World Kenya Secretariat said they were proud of Nguma.

“Those are grand achievements. We at the Miss World Kenya secretariat are proud of her for her exemplary performance.”

This year, Miss World Kenya broke with tradition by having a panel pick the winner rather than leave the decision to the public.

Nguma, who hails from Machakos County, was also second best in the beach wear category and was third in presentation and public speaking.

She also scooped Miss Africa 1st runners up title. 

Tanzania’s and Uganda’s contestants did not feature in the top 25 despite sustained social media efforts to vote for them.

The Miss World pageant is in its 63rd edition while the Kenya chapter is celebrating 50 years.