By Sharon Muguwu
Miss Zimbabwe Trust chairperson Marry Chiwenga says the national pageant’s tainted reputation is scaring away beautiful girls.
Under Chiwenga’s watch, Miss Zimbabwe 2014 Thabiso Phiri and Miss Zimbabwe 2015 Emily Kachote were dethroned over nude pictures allegations.
The wife of Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Chiwenga told the Daily News that despite their best efforts girls who meet Miss World standards are shying away.
“Remember how tainted the pageant was when we took over, all those stories that were being talked about, they just put people off.
“Another problem is what happened with the girls we crowned and what the media was writing. Remember, the world will be watching and observing.
“It is all about perception and labelling. I even distanced myself from the auditions as I do not want people to say I influenced the scouting process,” she said.
After months of searching, the Chiwenga-led administration has only attracted 15 girls instead of the required 30.
The Miss Zimbabwe Trust is scouting for girls who are 1,71 metres tall; who have never been married and do not have children.
“We did countrywide auditions a few months ago where we asked girls to come through but only a few showed up.
“I have called you to see and understand what we are experiencing. These are the girls that came through and they are only a few. If it were you, would you go ahead with the pageant under the circumstances?
“We have been advertising and calling for people to enter and we even decided to incentivise anyone who brings a girl who will win the pageant,” Chiwenga said.
The former model, who took over from the late Kiki Divaris as chairperson of the Miss Zimbabwe Trust a few years ago, said they offered $2 000 to whoever would bring a winning girl because they had approached several modelling agencies in vain.
“We are working with experienced scouts who include Sarah Mpofu (Bulawayo) and Mercy Mushaninga (Harare). I even engaged Model Management and was told that the girls’ parents were not willing to let them compete in the national pageant,” she said.
Some stakeholders in the local beauty industry though believe the Miss Zimbabwe Trust was making excuses to mask their inability to fund the national pageant but Chiwenga strenuously refuted the allegation.
“It has nothing to do with funding; the funding is there. Remember we have always had a venue, we had booked it for April and failed to utilise it as there were no girls. These are not excuses but facts on the ground,” she said.
Chiwenga and her team at the Miss Zimbabwe Trust are also unwilling to attract more girls by putting in place attractive prizes.
“The fact that someone is flying to Miss World and interacting with other beauties is good enough. That process opens up doors whether in business or getting other modelling gigs.
“Remember Tendai Hunda who went to Miss Intercontinental and won? She was scouted at Miss World. This business of getting loads of prizes defeats the whole purpose of the pageant,” she said.
Despite the sorry state of affairs in the Miss Zimbabwe camp, Chiwenga refused to state if the national pageant would go ahead all the same.
“If you were me what would you do? Remember the year we took over from the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority we did not hold a pageant, this was the major cause.
“There were simply no girls good enough to work with. It doesn’t mean that there are no models good for the job, they are there. Some are purely not interested and some want to complete school first, while some are beautiful but too heavy. Remember we adhere to Miss World standards,” said Chiwenga.
She said the Miss World organisers had given them an extension after they failed to hold the Miss Zimbabwe pageant before the July 29 deadline set by the global body.
The 2016 edition of Miss World will be held in the United States of America in December.
“We told them our predicament and they said we could hold the pageant when we were ready, so the dates are not an issue. We have done it before. My only worry would be the beauty with a purpose project which the girls are supposed to have,” Chiwenga said.
The Miss Zimbabwe pageant was initially set to be held in April at Borrowdale Brooke Golf Course, but the organisers pushed the event to a later date because they claimed that they wanted to accommodate university students.
The 2016 Miss World Zimbabwe national pageant meant to find a successor to reigning national queen Annie-Grace Mutambu is supposed to run under the theme “Celebrating the Life of our Icon, Kiki Divaris” in honour of the late founder and patron of the beauty competition who died late last year. Daily News