A former mushroom and poultry farmer was last week crowned Miss Uganda following a major rebranding of the annual beauty pageant, now designed to promote agriculture in the east African nation.
Leah Kalanguka, 23, beat off 19 other finalists after a competition that saw the glamour of the catwalk ditched for an army-sponsored boot camp on a farm, where contestants had to milk cows and work with goats and sheep.
“The youth will love agriculture because it goes hand in hand with beauty. Right now, farming is mostly done by elderly women,” Kalanguka, wearing a gold dress, tiara and a sash, reportedly told journalists after the event.
After years of following the more traditional beauty pageant formula, organisers applied the theme of ‘promoting agriculture entrepreneurship among the youth’ to the event and partnered with the Ugandan army – which has major business interests in agriculture.
“It’s a great direction because the agriculture sector has great opportunity for jobs, so I’m simply grateful that it took that direction and I would really love to see it promoted in our country because it is the backbone,” Kalanguka commented.
Unfortunately, many people took to social media especially Facebook and threw all sorts of insults at the beauty queen, claiming she is ugly and not fitting for the crown.
“Miss Uganda World, is your theme Beauty with a purpose or Ugly with a purpose?” one asked on Facebook.
“United States is about to Invade Miss Uganda, she looks like Oil.
“Are we also planning to enter her into the Miss World Beauty pageant? Just asking! If so, dont get worried, we brace ourselves for a good position: number one from behind! ha ha ha”
However, there are some who came up in her defence…
“What is wrong with Ugandans? What is beauty? What is wrong with having a beauty queen who promotes Agribusiness and young entrepreneurship? All previous beauties have promoted scandal and irresponsibility! None of them ever got their vanish soiled in the gardens, sorting produce and packing foodstuffs for sale…
I will personally Support this girl if she means what she says!… I salute the judges for the wise decision!”
“Leah believed in herself and she went for it… she got it and now everyone is on her case calling her ugly. Okay if someone thought they are much better than Leah how come we didn’t have bright sharp contenders… ”
“I think it’s the make up that made her look like that. At the end of the day, she still came out the best. Her make up artist should go back for training… ”
In an interview with humanitarian website Humans Of Uganda, Leah was asked about her “biggest struggle at the moment.”
“Uhmmmmm, I can’t tell,” she replied.
“Suppose I insist?”
“Well! Probably the media but it’s not really a big issue for me, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and there will always be negative energy. At the end of the day it is how you deal with the negativity that matters. I have some how learnt how to handle it.”
Source : Rwanda Focus