Miss East Africa France, taking pride in African Beauty !
UFFP was member of the jury and media partner of the last Miss East Africa France. We accepted without hesitations as we have been always supportiv of african women, and most of all in memory of our role model last Wangari Maathai. UFFP also visited KENYA and has a very special bonding with this country.
We had the opportunity to meet up with the east african Diaspora in the middle of a very festiv event and also the three founders of the event who are struggling to make this event grow stronger since 2010: Marie Agnes Erdocio, Jacinta Surcouf and Bauwa Alombo.
Three positive women in love in nativ land and wishing to show another image of East Africa
We were very to support the initiative.
photos TAO ZEMZEMI for UNITED FASHION FOR PEACE all rights reserved
Why Paris ?
Paris has a special place in people’s imaginations. One of the first global cities, its allure has attracted the world’s brightest for centuries, from émigrés and artists to writers and entrepreneurs. Fashion and gastronomy still make up its signature; Beauty pageants have a proud tradition in France as Paris is the Mecca of fashion, home of fashion shows and beauty pageants.
Paris is hugely diverse, a multicultural city, a genuinely global city, with hundreds of different nationalities. The opportunity for new ideas and connections, not just inside the city but beyond national borders, is massive. Its citizens of foreign ancestry can connect Paris to the world, but many of them are entrepreneurs too, ready to create social and economic value.
Culture is undoubtedly one of the city’s strengths. There have been policies to support the development of cultural and creative industries for a long time and public officials have been specifically charged with promoting culture at a national and local level for as long as anyone can remember.
Paris has been ruling the high seas of fashion for more than three centuries. For all those reasens, the founders who launched the beauty pageant thought it would be a good introduction to the East Africa countries to the world. Cosmetics and Fashion companies-(business/investment) would benefit a lot during the event, the tourism sector too.
Interview with UFFP:
Why Miss East Africa in France?
-Miss East Africa France came as an event to bring together the East African Diaspora together, to celebrate the East Africans in the Diaspora, its shared cultural values and cultural heritage with France and the world. Miss East Africa France is a non-profit association with driven initiative aimed at empowering mostly the East African woman in France.
When did you launch the event?
-The event was launched in 2010, with the support of the East African Embassies in France.
What are the criteria’s to participate?
-Firstly the candidates have to be from one of the East African countries, residing in France. Most importantly be over 18 years old.
Do you keep contact with past East African Misses?
-We now intend to have a structure whereby we will continue to be in contact with all the past Misses. We intend to support various Projects in East Africa starting from next year therefore involve the Misses according to their school schedules.
Tell us how they have evolved with their projects?
-The past Misses are all students in various institutions in Paris/France. The first Miss East Africa France in 2010, Miss Clémentine Buyoya from Burundi was a Medical Student. Miss East Africa France 2014 Miss June Anyango Odhiambo, had pursued a Masters Student in Economics and Management specializing in Entrepreneurship and is currently doing a higher diploma. We try as much to keep in touch to see how they have evolved with their personal projects such as education is really important to us as African women in today’s world.
For you what does African beauty mean?
-Taking pride in your own body is my true definition of African beauty, as Africans we all come in different shapes and sizes and we embrace them. But unfortunately, our society today forces us to be of a certain type, otherwise we are considered obese or not attractive if we don’t meet these criteria. You know there was a time when being thin was considered as being sick, or malnourished. Being a woman with curves from Africa was about being health and rich.
Role models like Iman and Liya Kebede prove to have revolutionnate western standards?
-These two women are the true definition of African role models. They both have revolutionized the way people see African Models. Let’s start with Iman, she’s THE pioneer!!She’s the Icon who is looked upon by many other African women pursuing to be models in the fashion world. The best part is that she hasn’t forgotten where she has come from, actually both of them. Iman was frustrated by the lack of products for black skin, therefore becoming the first black woman to create the first cosmetics and skincare collection designed for all women with skin of color. They have paved way to Black models like Naomi Campbell, Alek Wek, Ajuma Nasenyana ,Maliaka Firth and many others African Models. Iman and Liya both have had difficult backgrounds and have made it thus inspiring many African women.
Yes African models are not that many in Parisian catwalks?
-The Parisian catwalk is a rather difficult circle to get into. One has a lot to prove before being accepted. Indeed African Models aren’t many, that’s why nowadays we find African communities creating their own fashion events. Racism is still an issue, though not talked about so much, but it is still there.
Are you for natural beauty or nappy movement?
-Personally, the natural hair movement which encourages African women to keep their natural afro textured hair is most welcomed in my opinion. We have been for a long time trying to make our hair look like the way society dictates us. Our hair is tired now, it has to rest, so accepting to leave ones hair natural and nappy is good for our hair type health and it’s trending. American artist, Alicia Keys has started a trend of keeping her face make up free and its working, we see a lot of stars now embracing this natural way, natural beauty is good for us. My personal opinion is a face free of cosmetics is much healthier.
Real hair or not?
-For me, both are acceptable. But we all know that our hair gets very tired so therefore we leave it natural to get it back to being more healthy and manageable. Its also very expensive to have weaves and perms nowadays, keeping it natural is cheaper.
Whitening or not?
-My blood boils when I read articles about African women whitening their skin, because being white or light skinned is acceptable. I am so thankful for role models such Kenyan Lupita Nyong’o and Sudanese Alek Wek; they have been accepted in this tough showbiz world with their dark features. For a long time the African Woman has been judged by her skin color, she has tried all types of stuffs in this world to make her look as society wants. So here comes someone like Lupita Nyong’o, who has not done anything to lighten her skin and yet has appeared in all magazines in the fashion world and she’s now considered as a fashion icon.
What advice would you give to young girls entering beauty pageants?
-Be yourself. Be confident. Stand Tall. Don’t be afraid of diversity, create a trend, Slay them with your Africaness.