The 2016/17 Miss Malawi Beauty Pageant goes into the second round with regional finals taking place in Mzuzu on Saturday, and the aspirants say they have engaged an extra gear in their preparations for the showdown.
Initially, nine models were scheduled to compete for the regional finals, but three have so far pulled out for personal reasons.
The six in the race said in separate interviews they are geared up for the event as they aspire to become the country’s ambassador in fighting overpopulation.
“I do not prepare to be the best; l prepare to do my best because if l would say l want to be the best, it is hard to achieve. But doing my best means l have to be determined, passionate and put all my energy in what I do to achieve,” said Mzuzu University (Mzuni) bachelor of education student Miwasy Nyirenda.
Another contestant, 22-year-old textile and designing student at Phwezi Technical College, Sally Nyirenda, said she is ready for the contest as she seeks to help the youth understand the importance of education and end early marriages.
“Overpopulation is the root cause of several challenges in the country. Some of these challenges are crime and the spread of HIV and Aids, especially among the youth who are usually idle,” said Nyirenda.
University of Livingstonia graduate Yewo Gondwe said she decided to join the contest after noticing the competition gives one an opportunity to improve on public speaking skills as it raises one’s confidence.
“When I heard about Miss Malawi, I decided to join in order to be a role model to the youth as I believe I am an achiever with a bachelor’s degree at the age of 19. I regard this as really inspiring and I will not stop there. I want to achieve the highest qualification possible,” she said.
Journalism student at Lilongwe Technical College Tadala Uta said she is now working on her confidence, stressing some people have been trying to bring her confidence down with discouraging remarks.
“People say I cannot make it, but I want to prove such pessimists wrong,” she said.
Entrepreneur Vanessa Mtegha said she has always been ready for such competitions as pageantry is her passion.
Another contestant, Mzuzu Technical College student Ester Chiviya, said she is geared to win the contest as she feels that is the only way to fulfil her dream of fighting early marriage.
The 25-year-old said: “Because they are forced into early marriage, most girls end up having more children because they have a long child bearing period. We need to encourage girls to remain in school.”
The contestants are expected to parade in traditional, office, evening, casual and swim wear