THE inaugural Miss Albino beauty pageant, which was postponed last year due to venue-related problems, was finally held at Club 1+1 on Friday last week. Sthembiso Mutukura clinched the crown after shrugging off stiff competition from 12 other contestants.
The pageant was aimed at re-affirming that people living with albinism were also beautiful, despite the challenges they faced in accessing other mainstream beauty contests. NewsDay Life & Style reporter Anesu Mushawatu (ND) spoke with Mutukura (SM) at length. Below are the excerpts of the interview.
ND: Who is Sthembiso Mutukura?
SM: Sthembiso Mutukura is a strong-willed, dedicated, result-oriented young lady, who is passionate about the rights of marginalised people, groups and communities.
ND: How did you feel when your name was announced as the inaugural Miss Albino pageant winner?
SM: I felt honoured and I was very excited, considering that we were the first group of models with albinism in the humble initiation.
ND: On winning, has it changed anything in your personal life?
SM: I try not to be influenced by getting the crown, because things like these do get into one’s head sometimes and so, no. My personal life has not changed in anyway.
ND: When did you start modelling and which other modelling titles have you won before or been part of?
SM: I started last year in October and this is my first title, although I have modelled at fashion/hair shows.
ND: Did you receive any professional training on modelling or it is just natural?
SM: Professional training.
ND: What are the challenges that you have faced so far because of albinism?
SM: Generally, people living with albinism in Zimbabwe face a magnitude of challenges, economic, social and health related. Perhaps the most important to note is that societal stigma and discrimination against people with this condition give rise to and sustains these economic, health and societal problems.
ND: Any future plans to better the lives of several others facing the same challenges now that you have the title?
SM: I intend to harness the spirit of togetherness through engaging the University of Zimbabwe community and the Marondera community where I come from, to hold albinism awareness campaigns and possibly radio and television talkshows on this subject.
ND: Who is your role model?
SM: My role model is my mother, Mrs Edith Mutukura.
ND: I understand you are doing social work, how do you balance modelling and school?
SM: It has not been easy, I must say because on both sides I have to show seriousness and focus, I had to maintain an equilibrium to portion adequate time for schoolwork and time for modelling.
ND:What is the most challenging part in modelling?
SM: The exercise routines (she giggles)
ND: What inspires you most?
SM: The gift of life is my everyday inspiration.
ND: How did you end up in this contest?
SM: I was advised to join the pageant by my first year communication skills lecturer, Dr Mutambwa, and was also invited by Monalisa Manyati (first princess).
ND: Your parting words?
SM: You need to set the bar higher in everything that you do in life and if you see it with your eyes you can surely hold it with your hands.