TWENTY-THREE-year-old Andile Nobuhle Mpofu was recently crowned Miss Zimbabwe-US at a pageant held in California.
BY Nicola Gibson
She shrugged off the challenge of 10 other contestants to live her childhood dream. Carol Munyenyiwa from Arizona was the first princess while the second princess was Alexandria Ashton from California.
Mpofu, who is studying Business-Economics at Green Rivers College in Auburn, Seattle said modelling had been part of her life from a tender age.
“Having modelling at heart, I grew up watching beauty pageants and I would tell myself that one day I would take part and live my dream,” she told The Standard Style from her base in the US.
“The journey to the pageant was fun and challenging. My uncle and aunt hosted a rehearsal dinner were I modelled in my outfits and tried to answer questions that we expected would be asked. This helped me gain confidence and polished my catwalk.”
Mpofu was born in Zimbabwe in a family of two sisters and grew up in Mazowe before her family moved to Harare when she was 18. The beauty queen went to Amandas Junior in Concession for her primary education before she enrolled at Harare High School for secondary education.
She said her love for the ramp started when she was five years old.
“When I was five years old, my mother introduced me to modelling. I entered a beauty pageant organised by Egdars in Bindura,” Mpofu said. “My mother was my greatest inspiration and she taught me a lot on modelling.”
Mpofu said education did not stop her from achieving her dream of being a model. Rather, it was a stepping stone towards her goal. Despite the fact that her mother is not with her in the US, she was glad that her aunt was filling in her mother’s shoes.
“I have a family that is very supportive of my dreams here,” she said. “The Miss Zimbabwe-US management team has amazing people who are quick to jump to the rescue whenever help is needed and they made the process easier.”
Mpofu does not only have the charisma, but the skill set to lead and empower others. She is a strong confident woman who is not afraid of challenges.
“To the other girls and women out there who want to pursue modelling as a career, all I want to say is ‘girl you are gorgeous, it does not matter who you are and where you are from,’” she said.
“As women, we need to redefine beauty all over again. Beauty glows from inside-out ladies, it has nothing to do with the brand of make-up, neither the type of weave you have on nor the brand of clothes you are wearing. I stayed within my budget and did not go overboard with my expenses.
“I kept my hair short and nappy because that is the true me shining from deep within. So if you are a young girl who wants to get into beauty pageant, do it and go by your rules.
Redefine beauty and educate yourself, be beautiful and intelligent! Gone are the days when we used to let society make rules for us or tell us what beauty is.”
Miss Zimbabwe-US stands out as a prime example of what a Zimbabwean girl living in the US can achieve. Now in its 16th year, the pageant is Zimbabwe’s recognised and most accomplished pageant competition for Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora.