- Most women went for the short hair style
- 2 720 women auditioned compared to 72 in 2019
Over the years, people have been made to believe that beauty is long weaves, fair skin and a petite body. The media and beauty outlets were a part of this mania that caused black women to resort to bleaching and wearing weaves in rejection of their blackness and natural hair, endangering their skin and health in the process.
On the brighter side, understanding of beauty as cultural, is making Batswana and African queens stand out on bigger platforms like Miss World and Miss Universe.
When a former Miss South Africa and Miss Universe took over as Queen both at the national and international levels, she brought about a re-view of what African beauty means. She was able to represent an African Queen in all her glory. Today African pageantries are coming to the party and are embracing that authenticity. A part of the reason Batswana were rooting for Uua Murangi is that she was a natural.
This new influence is evident in the 2 720 beautiful young women who auditioned for Miss Botswana 2021/22 and from among whom the Top 30 were selected. What stands out this year is that most women have chosen to be true to their roots and represent beauty based on who they are.
In an exclusive interview with Executive Life, the Miss Botswana Pageantry Unit Director, Kaone Moremong, said the transformation of beauty Queens is amazing as they are becoming more and more aware of who they are.
”I think we are becoming a lot more aware of ourselves as Africans,” Moremong noted. “This trend of appreciating ourselves as we are is visible internationally in different aspects of beauty. From having our natural hair and appreciating our different skin tones to our languages and food, there is a radical trekking back to the roots. African pageantry and beauty standards are being re-defined to be more inclusive and representative of what black pride is.
“In an ever-evolving world, it is important to understand our roots as Africans. It is important for us to understand our diversity and to take pride in all things that make us if African beauty queens are to play an integral part of empowering the younger generation to carry on the movement. This empowerment should improve economic diversification as we seek and find African solutions to African problems.”
This year’s scouting was 100 percent virtual due to movement restrictions and but many women turned up to audition still. “The scouting for this year was different in the sense that it was entirely virtual,” Moremong explained. “Over the years, we have travelled to different parts of the country to audition young women but this year we didn’t.
“Instead, we invited special guests to scrutinise the applications submitted and to select the top 30. The online application process allowed young ladies from all corners of the country 24 hours round the clock for two full weeks to apply and a second chance to edit their applications if they felt a need to. We are pleased with the turnup.”
Pageantries often look for a beauty with brains to represent the title well and someone who can carry out specific tasks diligently. Miss Botswana is a no exception. Asked what they were looking for this year, Moremong responded: “We are unearthing a new jewel. We are looking for a self-aware queen who has the heart, will and mind to represent the young lady of today. Resilient and intentional; one who can empower young women through these difficult times.
“Jewels are found in the midst of obstacles and go through a rough process to end up as shining pieces with a beautiful story. This year’s theme, because of COVID-19 challenges, gives us the opportunity to really unearth a new jewel.”
Although it was difficult to for them to choose the top 30, they finally managed. The scouting, said Moremong, was harder than they thought. “The women portrayed beauty, intelligence and creativity that we judged through their audition tapes,” she explained. “All the ladies who auditioned were well spoken and beautiful. If we could, we would have a Top 72. But eliminations had to be made.”
Miss Botswana 2021 will be captured in a documentary series that will be aired on a broadcaster to be announced. Benefits that go with the title and status of Miss Botswana 2021 will be announced in due course. The Top 16 will be announced at a special fashion show featuring Botswana’s highly sought-after fashion designers.
Miss Botswana 2021 Fashion Show will have six designers showcasing 10 pieces each. This is where the Top 30 will be cut to Top 16. They will undergo a boot camp along the lines of the Miss World boot camp.