Miss Kenya Evelyne Njambi has made history by becoming the first Kenyan to be named among the top five in the world’s most glamorous and prestigious beauty pageant.
The 22-year-old interior design student also became the first Kenyan to hold the Miss World Africa title. The country has participated almost every year since 1963. Regal and resplendent in red, Kenya’s queen took her place of pride in the pageant whose finals were held in Maryland in Washington, DC, watched by a live audience and broadcast to millions across the world.
Miss Kenya won hearts during her question-and-answer session, when asked what could be done to improve education in the world. Ms Njambi, quoting Nelson Mandela confidently answered, “We should begin by empowering every child in the world to understand that education is important. Former South African President Nelson Mandela said that it (education) is the weapon they should use to face the future.
“So let’s first educate our parents that education is important and then we will have all children on board that education is important to achieve their dreams,” she concluded to a rapturous reception.
While the overall title and the crown went to Stephanie Del Valle of Puerto Rico, Miss Kenya was three times the queen when she made a strong showing in the top model and the beauty with a purpose categories to emerge the fifth overall.
First runner-up of the 2016 edition was Yaritza Miguelina Reyes Ramirez of the Dominican Republic, followed by Miss World Indonesia Natasha Mannuela.
Overcome with emotion, the 22-year-old, who is also the reigning Miss Kiambu, said she was thrilled by her win. “I am humbled and greatly honoured to have been the one representing not only my beautiful country Kenya, but Africa too to finish in the top five! I attribute my success to God’s unfailing love and grace!” she said.
Ms Njambi’s stellar performance at the world stage comes soon after Mr Kenya, Kevin Owiti, emerged fourth in the men’s pageant. Both results are no mean feats as Kenya competes against countries who take years to groom their girls for the pageant spending a lot of money in the process for their chance at glory.
The streak of good performance comes after a decade-long drought in the 2000s, when Kenya did not make it to the top 10.
Ms Terry Mungai of Ashleys Kenya said in finishing fifth, she was optimistic that ultimately, the country would arrive at a winning formula and the Miss World crown will soon come to Kenya. “We celebrate this victory today and are very proud of Evelyn and what she has achieved. This was a result of team work and we are encouraged that our years of hard work are paying off.”
The search for Miss Kenya is a long rigorous process that sees scouts scour the counties for prospective candidates as Miss World pageant has stringent requirements for its contestants and only accepts one representative per country fitting a certain body structure. The pageant also seeks a well-rounded person who is intelligent, beautiful, and has a heart for their community.
Miss World finals are a month-long affair and judging starts from the moment the beauties arrive for the event. The contestants are subjected to interviews with the judges, who grill them to see what they are truly made of and that their beauty is not just skin deep.
Points are awarded for a range of activities and events. Beauty with a Purpose, Multimedia, Sports, Talent, and Top Model heats offer contestants a chance to shine.