Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Kenyan Diaspora girl Natalie Wangui crowned Miss Ebony in the UK

Kenyan Diaspora girl Natalie Wangui crowned  Miss Ebony in the UK
Kenyan Diaspora girl Natalie Wangui crowned Miss Ebony in the UK. PHOTO/COURTESY

Exhilarated, Natalie Wangui Tanui, 18, walked onto the podium to be crowned the Miss Culture and Tourism Ebony Ambassador UK 2022 last month, a title she will hold for a year.

It was a culmination of a three-month hybrid (online and in-person) boot camp of coaching and mentorship.

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Natalie and her mum relocated to the United Kingdom (UK) three years ago and live in Derby where she schools.

But East or West, home is always where the heart is.

While at the camp, she mostly thought of the Kenyan girls who lack sanitary pads in the remotest parts of her country – especially in the arid areas and how they survive during menstruation.

It is here, at the crash boot camp, that she had a conviction that exceptional talent and the art industry make an equally fulfilling career.

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She realised that she was immensely gifted in knitting. But she also realised that she has a soft spot for the less privileged.

When she won the award, therefore, she vowed to touch the lives of the downtrodden.


“It is so disheartening that some of my peers back home can hardly afford sanitary pads,” she said. “I have chosen to dedicate this award to the less privileged girls in Kajiado.”

She has partnered with Fabbie Naisabah Lolosoli Initiative run by Fabbie, a 10-year-old girl, which supports over 2,000 girls.

The initiative runs a sanitary towels drive in Kajiado County.

Collectively, they support safe houses where girls are rescued from early marriages, FGM, domestic violence and rape.

“Each year she runs the drive twice on social media platforms and gets support from friends and families to buy the sanitary towels and create awareness,” Natalie said of Fabbie.

Together with Fabbie, she said, they aim to make a difference in keeping the girls in school by providing them with towels.

By being able to showcase her Kenyan roots, she beat several other contestants for the category – Miss Tourism and Culture.

Her consistency kept her grounded in the quest, while her copious desire to revolutionise the industry saw her cheat odds and achieve what is otherwise viewed as impossible for young people.

She learnt a lot, she said. She learnt how to sew, knit, bead, and bake.

Despite studying health and social care at Derby College, she has taken into modelling like a duck to water.

“I know if I continue to practice, modelling will take me far. I could earn a living from it,” she said. “It’s a skill that you can do every day. These are skills I perfected during the workshops. I could help by teaching other girls,” she explained.

For the grand event, she dressed in Maasai regalia. It is passion, she said, with which she spoke about her Kenyan roots that demystified just how deep she related to the culture.

“The attire and the jewellery that I was donning showed how passionate I was about culture,” she said.

Impact lives

But there’s more. Before the jury, she explained, contestants explained how they intended to use the skills learnt to impact lives.

“I explained to them what I learnt during the workshops and told them the importance of sewing, how it will help me in future, showcased it and beat all others.”

The contest which draws participants of ages 18 to 30 based in the United Kingdom particularly, is an annual pageantry contest.

A Miss EBONY represents Elegance, Bold, Originality, Noble, Youth ambassador contest, hence the acronym.

Founded and organised by Irene Eribo–Ani, the contest aims to empower the African youth living in the diaspora.

The programme is organised to provide a platform to crown a lady of African descent to be a youth representative of her own country and a role model.

The award, Natalie said: “Gives me an opportunity to help the less privileged and promote Kenyan culture here in the UK.”

The pageantry organises activities that bring communities together through art, culture and skills empowerment.

The beauty pageant lets girls showcase their skills and represent their native country’s culture.

This year’s contest attracted several contestants – two Kenyans,  including herself, a Sierra Leonean, a South African and four Nigerians.

But how is it being a teenager in the UK?

“It is an experience to discover new things; different cultures away from the normal Kenyan experiences. It is also an opportunity to talk about culture,” she said.


Kenyan Diaspora girl Natalie Wangui crowned Miss Ebony in the UK

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