Pregnant women enter Miss Universe Zim auditions

FROM LEFT: Tendai Hunda, Langa Sibanda and Hildah Mabo at the official announcement of the re-emergence of the Miss Universe Zimbabwe beauty pageant at Harare International Conference Centre

MISS Universe Zimbabwe director Tendai Hunda has announced the official dates for the international pageant’s auditions  which will for the first time welcome women under the age of 28 who are pregnant, married or have kids in all the country’s 10 provinces.

The announcement was made during the Miss Universe Zimbabwe Press conference held at the Harare International Conference Centre, where Hunda announced the re-emergence of the Miss Universe Zimbabwe beauty pageant after 21 years of being in the wilderness.

Hunda, who together with Hildah Mabo are the co-directors of the Miss Zimbabwe Queen Organisation, said they felt compelled to take on the challenge to have Zimbabwe reinstated to the Miss Universe competition.

They were officially granted a licence on April 4, 2023.

“As the Miss Zimbabwe Queen Organisation, we realised that Zimbabwe was not being given a fair chance to participate on the Miss Universe global platform which claims to be an inclusive stage for the modelling and beauty industry. Against this backdrop, we felt compelled to take on the challenge to have Zimbabwe reinstated to the Miss Universe competition,” Hunda said.

“I am absolutely elated that Zimbabwe is about to end its protracted absence and resume its participation in the coveted Miss Universe pageant. The main purpose of the Miss Universe Zimbabwe contest is to choose a Zimbabwean representative to appear on the Miss Universe stage this December 2023 in El Salvador, Central America (exact date to be advised).

“As you can imagine, holding the national competition to choose our delegate won’t be a simple task, thus we humbly ask for support from government, the corporate sector, media and every other sector key to make this endeavour a success.”

In an interview with NewsDay Life & Style, she said there would be auditions to ensure all the 10 provinces are represented in the Miss Universe Zimbabwe pageant, after which a boot camp will take place during the last two weeks of August as they prepare the models for the grand stage on September 9, 2023.

“The auditions for the Miss Universe Zimbabwe will begin on the first of July and we will be starting with Bulawayo together with Midlands province on July 1, 2023,” Hunda said.

“After that, we will be going to Chitungwiza on July 8 and while the auditions are happening in Chi-town, they will be concurrently running in Masvingo and Mutare then on July 15, 2023, we will have our last auditions here in Harare,”

Hunda said they have started the process of registering the competition as well as their organisation with the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe and they have also scheduled an introductory fundraising dinner for Saturday June 10, 2023 ahead of September 9, 2023 date earmarked for the Miss Universe Zimbabwe Pageant in Harare.

“We have engaged the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation and the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, key stakeholders in the successful hosting of this pageant as they are the custodians of our arts sector and youth empowerment,” she said.

“We also firmly believe the return of Miss Universe Zimbabwe is symbiotic and will provide a valuable lifeline to the country’s Arts sector while contributing towards youth empowerment as the country’s fashion designers, make-up artists and even musicians get an opportunity to showcase their work.”

Miss Universe pageant updated its rules and will begin welcoming wives and mothers to compete for the crown for the first time.

Miss Universe Zimbabwe auditions will be open to every woman below 28 years.

“Miss Universe has rebranded. Traditionally, if you had to walk on the Miss Universe stage, you had to have a particular height and weight. You were not allowed to have a child or to have been married, but with the recent developments, you are allowed to join Miss Universe no matter how short or tall you are,” she said.

Added Hunda: “You can be married or actually be pregnant, even have kids and still be allowed to participate in the pageant. What is being said is there are young women who might have made mistakes but are really passionate about the industry and now they are being given that opportunity to go and flourish on the Miss Universe stage.

“So for Zimbabwe, for the first time ever we are taking married women, women that have children and women who are actually pregnant  which has never happened before. We are not going to be particular about height or weight.

“Miss Universe is now a business that is driving a particular notion of women empowerment, so it now has to do more about what a person carries internally and what kind of message and impact is she going to take home as well as out to the world.”

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