It is a contest that has drawn international praise, the inaugural contest featured nine contestants and organisers of the contest which was staged in collaboration with the Tanzanian embassy in the US are looking forward to a great future.
The first contest featured the eventual winner Joy Kalemela, Alice Mhina, Julia Nyerere, Namala Elias, Hellena Nyerere, Faith Kashaa, Sham Manka, Doreen Rumaya and Aesha Amani Kamara.
This week Winny Casey the founder of Miss Tanzania-US speaks to The Beat on the contest’s goals and aspirations.
What is Miss TZ-US all about?
The Miss Tanzania-USA pageant has a mission to empower young Tanzanian women in Tanzania and continental USA through education, community oriented projects and many others. The winner of the Miss Tanzania-USA pageant officially represents Tanzania in the Miss Africa-USA pageant as well as serve as Tanzanian Diaspora USA community liasion to the executive in social causes.
The purpose of this pageant is to offer mentorship through workshops and seminars that are designed to help young women and girls develop and step up as leaders in their communities while learning decision-making skills that will empower them to reach their full potential. They will encounter mentors that demonstrate how to navigate through life’s journey successfully, following paths that will lead to resilience, growth, perseverance, and success.
What has inspired you into organising this contest?
Our goal and passion is to help young Tanzanian women in Tanzania and the US achieve and perform to their full potential through successful education and personal growth thus laying a strong foundation for them as future productive members and leaders of the society.
How different is it from the contest that we have at home?
Besides educating Tanzanians and other nationals in the USA about our country, this pageant will help to improve relationships between Tanzania and the US. It promotes Tanzanian culture to the multi-cultural community based in the United States by showcasing Tanzania’s beauty.
Who qualifies to participate in this contest?
A Miss Tanzania USA pageant contestant may be any young woman who is Tanzanian or at least have one Tanzanian parent. They must be between the ages of 18 to 28 years and must be at least 5’5” in height and living in the United States.
How easy is it to get the girls to participate given the vast nature of the US itself?
We have talent scouts and coordinators working in most of the States to spread the word and get girls to participate. So far, the response has been very good. The pageant is new, so we have been working hard to get this information out there. The first annual pageant was a great success, and has played a major role in getting the interest of Tanzanians through word of mouth, photos and videos as well as social media. Many Tanzanians living in the US now have information on the pageant and are proposing potential contestants or wanting to contest themselves.
How can you use this platform to promote Tanzania as a tourist destination for the Americans?
The aim of Miss Tanzania USA is to endorse the beauty of our contestants and the country they represent, Tanzania.
We strongly believe in the tourism message of Tanzania through Miss Tanzania USA and are proud to help attract both domestic and international visitors as well investors. Our newly crowned Miss Tanzania USA 2013, Miss Joy Kalemera, will be a positive role model and will portray the true face, creative, supportive and multicultural aspect of Tanzania that the whole world needs to see.
Speaking of the inaugural winner what prizes do they take home?
There are several packages and different gifts. The winner of the pageant gets the crown and sash as well as moves on to compete in the Miss Africa USA. She also takes home a cash prize as well as other gifts such as gift baskets, etc. The second and third runners- up also get sashes and win prizes.
How has this contest helped in promoting Tanzanian culture especially with regard to the Kanga?
The kanga is one of the most important components, if not the essence of this pageant. The kanga is a very colorful, versatile piece of cloth that can be worn in many ways. During the Miss Tanzania USA, the outfits that the contestants wear are made mainly of kanga. The founder of the pageant, Winny Casey, who is also a wonderful designer, designs beautiful kanga styles and outfits for contestants.
Is there any partnership between you and the local Miss TZ committee?
A partnership between us and the local Miss TZ committee is currently in the works. We look forward to working together as there will be many advantages to this partnership in the future.