She travelled from Balaka to Sunbird Capital Marquee in Lilongwe for a relation’s wedding.
Upon learning about the Miss Malawi auditions going on in a nearby room, she decided to try her luck and Meryn Chiuzingwa convinced the judging panel that she has all what it takes.
Her story might be different from the rest of the girls who turned up for the auditions, but the passion is the same.
Chiuzingwa said: “Overpopulation is a very big challenge. The country cannot develop as few resources ought to be shared by many. Therefore, that way we cannot deal with poverty, high unemployment rates and HIV and Aids, among other problems which are all linked to population boom.
“If I am crowned Miss Malawi, I will make sure there are programmes that empower girls to go to school and women to be self-dependent. Once girls drop out of school, the next thing is that they are married, then they start giving birth.”
She said in the end, such women lack sources of income and rely on the husband for everything.
Under the theme Beauty with a Purpose, the Miss Malawi to be crowned in April 2017 will drive messages on effects of high population in the country.
Almost all the 15 girls who auditioned had an idea or two of how the population boom is weighing on Malawi’s development agenda.
However, 11—including Chiuzingwa, a student at Malawi Adventist College in Ntcheu—impressed the judges and made it into the next round of the contest.
The others are Charity Kachitsa, 22; Alinafe Chalunda, 22; Rachel Mkandawire, 22; Mirriam Mwimba, 21; Beatrice Chisoni, 18; Natasha Phiri, 22; Sibongire Kadzakumanja, 18; Chikondi Chisalika, 24; Tiyamike Kazima, 21 and Sarah Chiundiza, 20.
Sharing her experiences, Phiri said the auditions were tough and terrible.
“I was so nervous. So, somehow, I messed up, making me to perform terribly in certain areas. For example, the judges said I must work on my confidence, smile, pose and facing the camera which I agree. All these are as a result of me not doing well enough. Otherwise I have the brain and what it takes to be the next beauty queen,” she said.
Kadzakumanja, who is juggling education and work, said she had a gruelling time with the judges.
“Much as the questions were fine, the judges were tough. But I am glad I came out one of the winners. I believe in myself so much and counting on Malawians to make me their choice,” she said.
The judges—marketer, Wilkins Mijiga, onetime Miss Malawi organiser Tadala Chihana and former beauty queen Blandina Khondowe—assessed the contestants on poise and appearance, oral expression and swim wear, among others.
The next auditions will take place on August 28 in Blantyre and all the shortlisted will face another test before organisers, Nation Publications Limited (NPL) and Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) announce the 15 finalists.