Reigning Miss Uganda and Miss World Africa Quinn Abenakyo, other former beauty queens have castigated tabloids and social media users for working to pull them down.
Speaking at the launch of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)’s Live Your Dream campaign on Friday, Ms Abenakyo, Ms Leah Kagasa and Ms Phiona Bizzu, said they often feel sad when they see Ugandans tainting their reputation.
The trio said they sometimes choose to go silent in order to avoid being cast in demeaning debates by tabloids, bloggers and other social media movers who filter any statement to fit their desires.
“I have chosen to keep quiet on some things because the moment you respond, the negative debate continues. People will say things about you and you wonder where they get them and what they benefit from them,” Ms Abenakyo said.
Ms Abenakyo has recently been criticized on social media for ‘graduating at Makerere University’s 69th graduation ceremony’ held two months ago yet her name had not appeared in the graduation book. Some reports indicate she had some missed or retaken papers, which she had not sat for.
Ms Kagasa whom Ms Abenakyo replaced last year said she never had any scandals during her two years’ reign as beauty queen but she was surprised when tabloids and online platforms reported that she was living a miserable life.
“I only said that being a Miss Uganda, you need to appear differently at all events and this comes with expenses. You all know once you come in the limelight your life must change. However, some tabloids indicated I was too broke. I just kept quiet to let the storm go,” Ms Kagasa said.
Ms Bizzu said her beauty crown was badly received by the public with many taking to social media questioning whether she truly deserved to represent Uganda as a beauty queen. “I will not forget how negative the public went about my victory as Miss Uganda. Several people took to social media to question how I had won the contests. It was hurting. It was painful,” Ms Bizzu said.
Ms Abenakyo, Ms Kagasa and Ms Bizzu were responding to questions from dozens of teenagers from different universities who attended the launch of the campaign intended to inspire young people to live their dreams.
UNFPA in partnership with Miss Uganda Foundation and Reach A Hand Uganda (RAHU) will traverse different parts of the country encouraging students to stay focused in order to achieve their dreams.
Ms Abenakyo narrated how her mother had advised her to go for modeling rather than beauty competitions since just like many other thought beauty contests are for slim ladies, Ms Kagasa said she dreamt of being a beauty queen at age of five while Ms Bizzu said she was inspired into beauty contests by a hard life that she found in slums.