IT was a historic feat for Zimbabwe’s showbiz industry last week as Mutare-born model, Blessing Mutamba, shrugged off stiff competition at Middleton Arena in Manchester, United Kingdom,to be crowned Miss Royal UK beauty pageant first runner-up.
The bubbly, beautiful and intelligent Mutamba traces her roots to Mutare’s Morningside suburb.
Mutamba was the only African in the pageant which saw more than 30 models from all over UK strutting their stuff on the ramp.
The prestigious pageant is the sole official entry into the Miss Royal International competition set for Orlando Florida, United States of America, in July 2022.
In an interview with The Weekender from her UK base early this week, Mutamba said the honour is the beginning of greater days to come.
“That was really a big achievement for me. I am now more confident in my abilities and I am ready to compete in future pageants. It is yet to sink in that I actually came second in this pageant. There were some models who competed in last year’s edition, they also had what it takes to land the coveted prize, but I sailed through.
“I am using this as a benchmark for my progress in this cut-throat industry. My advice to aspiring models is for them to believe in themselves. You just need to know what it is you want to achieve. I urge aspiring models to focus on what they are good at. Trying to be everything is a recipe for failure,” she said.
A statement on the Miss Royal UK website reads in part: “Miss Royal UK is not your typical pageant, we are a sisterhood! Our aim is to empower ladies while giving them the opportunity to grow and develop a positive self-image, improve confidence and gain life skills which will extend into their personal and professional lives.
“Through the promotion of good sportsmanship, we hope to be a guiding force in the development of strong women who realise the true beauty which lies within each of them. We do not score on physical beauty which is evidenced by our unique rounds!”
Mutamba acquired her primary education at Hillcrest Junior School before moving with her parents and settling in Wales.
She obtained her undergraduate degree in Creative Enterprise before proceeding to study for her Masters Degree in Business Entrepreneurship.
“I believe in dreaming beyond where I come from.
“I want to use this opportunity to encourage other Zimbabwean models across the world to breakdown our background barriers. For a long time I had the imposter syndrome. I felt a bit scared to diversify from pageantry centred around Zimbabwean or African culture and heritage as I felt like I wasn’t going to be good enough,” she said.
“However, this pageant and my success in it has proven that we are good enough,” said Mutamba.
Her dream is to compete on an international stage outside the UK.
When Mutamba last came to Zimbabwe in 2019, she toured Mutare, Harare and Victoria Falls in an expedition that was aimed at exploring opportunities to work with the youth and society at large.