Can she bring the crown home?

The call to vote for Miss Uganda Quiin Abenakyo in the Miss World beauty pageant has been immense. Links have been shared on WhatsApp groups, Facebook and Twitter. From politicians, corporate companies, celebrities to the media, many have joined the campaign to vote for their girl, ahead of the Miss World’s crowning, organised by Miss World Organisation (MWO), tomorrow, at Sanya city arena, Lizhighou Road, China.

There is belief at home that Abenakyo can work a miracle. Singer Sheebah Karungi tweeted: “Wow! She made it to the Miss World 2018 finals! Congratulations @AbenakyoQuiin. Thanks for putting us up there! Uganda, let us support our own! I just voted a few minutes ago! Go vote too! Outgoing Kampala Capital City Authority executive director’s tweet read:

“This is good news for Uganda. Congratulations @AbenakyoQuiin! Let’s all vote and support our very own Quiin to bring the#MissWorld2018 crown home! VOTE.”

 Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga posted: “This is good news! Congratulations to our own Quiin Abenakyo for making it to the top 30.” In the 68-year-history of Miss World pageant, no Miss Uganda beauty queen has ever won the global tiara.

In 2001, Victoria Nabunya fi nished in the top 20 and third in the Miss World Scholarship. Barbara Kimbugwe was in the Top 20 in 2004’s swimming competition category. Fourteen years later, Abenakyo has sailed to the 30 fi nalists out of the 118 contestants from all over the world.

This came after she beat Argentina’s Victoria Sotto in the Head to Head Challenge, a category that pits 20 contestants in pairs, to present to a panel of judges in 90 seconds, the work they are doing in their home countries to support Beauty with a Purpose.

Following each of the two presentations, the judges chose which contestant would be guaranteed a slot in the top 30 at the fi nals. However, there has always been complaint over the years that there is a lot that MWO considers ‘behind-thescenes’, before choosing a queen. Some say the contestants’ country’s economic strength plays a great role, others racism and others, the quality of girls in the competition. Former Miss Uganda Leah Kagasa, in 2017 cited racism in the global competition in an interview with New Vision, the reason she gave for her failure to snag the tiara.

 She said: “There is a lot of racism in the competition. I think it is not good to be black.” Sylvia Namutebi, who participated in the global competition in 2011 and was 37th, on top of performing well in the sports and beach wear categories, blames Uganda for the poor performance in the pageant. “We have always been disorganised in preparing for Miss World,” she says.

“The reason Abenakyo has done well so far is, fi rst offall, because this time, we were careful from the start. We got new partners onboard and were careful in selecting the girls to participate.”

 Namutebi continues:

“Abenakyo can bring the crown because she is doing well onlineand has the other attributes, such as height, speaks well, she can stand herground and has the brain. If she does not win the crown, I am certain she willfinish in top seven and maybe be Miss World Africa. She has the beauty queenlook.”

 Santa Anzo, the chief executive officer of Arapapa fashion house, also believes the 22-year-old beauty queen has the qualities to bring the global crown home.

She said: “This girl is quality and I think she can finallybring that crown home. I have watched her speak; her command of the languageand body is exceptional and her Beauty with a Purpose cause to help thedeprived is convincing. With our support, she can do it.”

Fashion designer Brenda Maraka, who has watched Abenakyo’s rise, says:

“Abenakyo has the charm; she is beautiful and when she opens her mouth to speak, one hears her brains.”

Ronnie Nsubuga, a beauty pageant coach and manager with Crystal Models, believes the support of Ugandans online can take Abenakyo near the crown.

 He said: “Thepopularity vote is a big deal for Miss World organisers and when they realiseone’s country supports one greatly, one may earn herself a spot in the lastfive. It is from there that the contestant can play her part during thequestion-and-answer sessions, talent showcase and display of confidence. MWOlikes to have a queen who is popular in their country so that their projectsare well-supported.”

Nsubuga adds:

“If Abenakyo can display the grace of a beauty queen at thefinal, then she can win the crown.”

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Lukwago Joseph grew up in a newspaper family, and rumor has it that instead of playing the guitar in his infancy, his parents put a reporter’s notebook and a pen next to him shortly after he turned born eight years. Before becoming editor of UGANDANZ, Lukwago was a parliament news editor for WBS TV. He joined UGANDANZ in July 2018, A few months after the company launched. Lukwago also spent five years as a freelance reporter, where he covered reporting for the highest bidder, intelligence, foreign policy, and Ugandan police. Lukwago graduated from Makerere University in 2008 with a B.A. in Journalism and worked on his college newspaper.