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Malaika speaks on Miss World experience

SC: What is the feeling after becoming the second Zimbabwean model to make it into the top 10?
MM: Being in the top 10 was not an individual achievement. Joining the Miss World contest was to my nation’s interest as Miss Zimbabwe. When I was contesting I was never called by my name but by my country’s name. I am humbled with the support rendered to me during the contest. Not forgetting the encouraging coverage from the media in and outside the country.

SC: How was the atmosphere on the final day of the contest?
MM: I must say the atmosphere at the final was indeed tense as each and every contestant knew that it was the final day and were ready to take up the ramp for the title. As for me, having the knowledge that the contest was being broadcast in 150 countries with over 1 billion viewers live, I took it more as an opportunity to market the nation as a destination. It gave me confidence. But I had that usual feeling that every individual has when faced with a great challenge, like an examination.
SC: We celebrate coming close to the global crown but we have never made it into the top three. What do you think should be done?
MM: The media plays a pivotal role in developing and promoting the modelling industry, not only in Zimbabwe but worldwide. Our modelling industry is in fact hindered mostly by negative publicity. Most external and even internal stakeholders rely on the media for a better insight of issues and as they continuously read negative articles on the modelling industry in our country, they will not feel motivated to develop or even to be associated with them. Let’s work on it together to take it to the next level. 

SC: Do you think there could have been some political influence in the judging and outcome of the pageant?
MM: Honestly, this question is best known to the judges. Their decision is final. We should accept reality. As a nation we have to accept the various opportunities that the  Miss World pageant poses on us — not only is it a parade of beauty but also a platform for showcasing our potential as a country.

SC: Where does Africa stand in modelling considering that there have not been many winners from the continent for the past 60 years? 
MM: I believe the performance of modelling industries in any continent should not be judged on whether it brings the Miss World crown back home but by the representation and presence at platforms such as these. The fast-track events held before the final also showed the continent’s strength. In Miss Beauty with a Purpose, Ghana won while Zimbabwe came third and South Africa came fourth. Zimbabwe also came fourth on the Miss Top Model. Let us also not forget that, there were only 13 out of 52 African countries at Miss World. We are indeed competitive.

SC: What have you learnt from this experience? Has it added value to your modelling career?
MM: Pageants are just but one form of modelling. Modelling is a form of art and expression, just like a musician and actors express themselves. It empowers individuals to be innovative and creative in a way. This also exposes us to a platform where we can influence perceptions, position, promote and market our destination as a tourism destination. 

SC: How do you see the future of Zimbabwean modelling industry?
MM: The future of Zimbabwe modelling, like I said before, lies in the hands of the media. Let us write objectively and constructively. We also need support and confidence from key stakeholders and that way the world will recognise us.

SC: Now that the contest is over, what is next?
MM: My modelling career was not informed or influenced by the wish to contest in the Miss World finals only but on the conviction of contributing positively to the world I live in. I will continue with my modelling career and I hope to be a candle to those who are dreaming of getting into the same industry.

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