…’Thorough screening of contestants to restore ‘tainted image’ of modelling in Zimbabwe’
THE Miss Tourism Manicaland pageant is making a return this year to thoroughly scout for beauties with brains that will be true ambassadors of the beautiful Eastern Highlands region that has potential to be the leading tourism destination in the country, the new Manicaland license holder Caroline Marufu-Buwu has said.
The former crown holder during her days said the return of the regional Miss Tourism pageants was ideal to boost domestic tourism through the pageants and to promote modelling countrywide as well. For the past three years provincial pageants were no longer being held, only private auditions were held and the finalists would be taken to the national pageant to compete for the crown.
Speaking at a press conference in Mutare on Monday, Marufu-Buwu said the vision of having regional competitions was motivated by the need to promote tourism and culture throughout the country.
“The pageant aims to showcase our regional history, culture, traditions as well as increasing the public and private sector participation in the tourism sector. This is a platform for our Manicaland beauties to market the tourism industry at the local level, as well as remind our fellow citizens of the existence of the rich tourism potential in the province and the country at large. Our aim is to endorse the beauty of both our contestants as well as the regions they represent,” she said.
She expressed optimism in the fact that the decentralization of pageant would also give limelight to local creative designers in various provinces to showcase their works at local level and at the national pageant as well.
The first phase of the auditions for prospective Manicaland beauty queens will be on the April 28 and the second audition on May 5 at the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority offices at Zimre Building in Mutare, whilst the re-branded Miss Tourism Manicaland pageant is expected to be held on June 2 at the Golden Peacock Villa hotel.
She said they were expecting at least 20 models from all the seven districts in Manicaland to battle it out for the provincial crown.
Marufu-Buwu who was the Miss Zimbabwe 2007 and went on to win Miss Tourism Africa that same year is a former model that navigated the road of modelling for several years. She said the beauty queen they were hunting for apart from being the tourism ambassador, she should also hold facets of goodwill, be a role model of faith and good works as well as a portrait of calm and peaceful thinking in bringing hope to the people of Zimbabwe.
However, the model guru did not shy to concede that in the past beauty pageants had been marred with controversies and scandals in the media.
The scandals which border from age cheating, leakage of nude pictures of models, illicit love affairs with adjudicators to mention a few have over the years been traits that have overshadowed modelling as a ‘dignified’ profession in the country.
She assured that in rebranding the battered image they are aiming to leave no stone unturned by having thorough screening of modelling candidates.
“In the last few years beauty pageants have been rocked with a lot of sex scandals. This time around we will tighten screws through thorough screening to avoid such cases. We will look at the aspiring models’ social media footprints before we give her our nod to represent our region and our country.”
Marufu-Buwu said the first edition of the Miss Tourism Manicaland will see models being judged on their catwalk, deportment and grace as well as their ability to think on their feet to promote the beauties with brains concept.
She said during their preparation for their duties as tourism Ambassadors, the contestants will be taken to visit some of the province’s notable tourism sites so that they get well versed about tourism in Manicaland, which they are expected to share at the national pageant as provincial ambassadors.
The reigning Miss Tourism Zimbabwe is Ashley Morgen.