The 63rd annual Miss Universe pageant will be front and center of the world stage on January 25, 2015 at the U.S. Century Bank Arena, Florida International University in Miami, Florida, USA. Nearly ninety contestants from all over the world will compete for the coveted crown, and Africa is certainly not left out of the picture. Ten contestants (to date!) from the continent will be in attendance; from Angola to South Africa, these leading African ladies are as multi-talented as they are intelligent and gorgeous. Get to know them!
Miss Universe Angola — Zuleica Wilson
Twenty-one year old Zuleica is currently a business and management student at The Lusiada University, a Portuguese private university with satellite campuses in the cities of Luanda, Benguela, and Cabinda in Angola. Fluent in both English and Portuguese, she is a self-described communicator who enjoys talking and making her friends laugh. Her professional ambitions span beyond the competition – she hopes to become a successful business woman in marketing, as well as a TV host. She also has hopes for her country “Angola is a rich and beautiful country and it is continuing to develop with many tourism attractions. With the Seven Natural Wonders of Angola, I hope that more people will know about Angola’s natural beauty, attract tourists and help stimulate our economy”.
Miss Universe Egypt — Lara Debbane
Lara is a twenty year old Mass Communications student at Notre Dame University in Lebanon, but has been an artistic performer most of her life, having taken part in many activities including the musical play The Sound Of Music as well as national Opera ballet performances. A goal of hers is to become an international movie director, while taking part in philanthropic endeavors that would benefit women and youth empowerment worldwide. For her country Egypt, she hopes tourists would see its magical traditions, people’s friendliness and great hospitality “Egypt is a land of legends and mystery, each time you visit, you will discover something new to experience”.
Miss Universe Ethiopia — Hiwot Mamo
Born and raised in Addis Ababa, twenty-four year old Himot is a very accomplished young woman. She graduated high school first in her class from her department and graduated with top honors from the Addis Ababa University School of Commerce. After graduating from university, Hiwot started working on her own fashion line and has won several prizes over the years for her work as a model, designer and a pageant girl. She speaks of her country with great pride, highlighting a few facts unknown to many “Ethiopia has its own calendar with thirteen months, its own alphabet and numerals. Ethiopia is the birth place of coffee. Ethiopia is one of the only two African countries that has never been colonized”.
Miss Universe Gabon – Maggaly Nguema
Born in Gabon’s capital city of Libreville, Maggaly is currently a student at the National Institute of Science and Management, and enjoys spending time with her family, her friends and people she loves. She discovered her passion for singing as a teenager when she joined the choir at her local church. When asked what the best thing is about being born in Gabon, she highlights the peace that the country continues to thrive in “Being from this great country, the best gift it offers daily to all Gabonese is the peace, peace because we have never known war so far and I hope that we will never know that”.
Miss Universe Ghana – Abena Appiah
Twenty-two year old Abena is a self-described entertainer who loves to entertain, and has been doing so since she was three years old. She is currently a student at the Radford University in Ghana where she studies fashion. She spent her primary and part of high school years in the United States before she moved back to Ghana. Not only is Abena a model, she is also a singer with five singles under her belt, and one set to be released in 2015. She drops a little nugget about Ghana “One interesting fact about Ghana that many people aren’t aware of is that the war against British Colonialism was led by a woman named Yaa Asantewaa, Queen of Ejisu from 1900 to 1901”. Now that’s Bawse.
Miss Universe Kenya – Gaylyne Ayugi
Twenty year old journalism major, Gaylyne Ayugi was born and raised in Nairobi. A dancer at heart, she joined the dance group, Platinum, which later on went to become the winner in the 2009 Nairobi street competition. She sees her role in the fashion industry as a catalyst to the successful launch of Kenya’s fashion to the global scene. About her home country Kenya, she says “Besides the wildlife and great hotels, Kenya has a budding technology industry that will soon take the world by storm”.
Miss Universe Nigeria – Queen Celestine
Repping Naija is twenty-two year old Queen Celestine, a recent graduate of Madonna University, where she received a degree in Mass Communications. With a personality that is full of life, Queen had this to say about her country “Nigeria has over five hundred indigenous languages and Nigerians are fun-loving people. Our music is what brings us together and we always find a way to overcome difficult circumstances”.
Miss Universe South Africa – Ziphozakhe Zokufa
Twenty-two year old Ziphozakhe Zokufa from Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape is no stranger to the limelight. The former professional singer is currently a student at The South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance (AFDA), where she studies television production. She credits much of her success to her family; her parents, who are her role models have always encouraged her and her siblings to pursue education. Zokufa hopes to give back by focusing on the youth of South Africa. “I love grabbing opportunities that come my way and the ability to inspire the youth of South Africa and the country as a whole has always been something I have strived for. The Miss South Africa brand would therefore be the perfect platform to be an agent for change”.
Miss Universe Tanzania – Carolyne Bernard
Born in Dar Es Salaam, the twenty year old beauty is a student at the Tanzania Institute of Accountancy, where she is expected to receive an accounting degree. The youngest of three siblings loves to smile and has an incredible appreciation for the country of her birth “My country is very hospitable. Even if people are poor, they will welcome you in their homes and give you the best food available, nicest bed in the house and entertain you”.
Image: Miss Universe/Missosology