Ever since Araba Martha Vroom (1967), Akuba Cudjoe (1999), Lamisi Mbillah (2006), Irene and Akosua Boatemaa Dwomo (2007) reached the semi-final stages of the Miss World and Miss Universe pageants respectively, no Ghanaian contestant has ever made it beyond these stages. A negligible feat, nonetheless worthy of mentioning was when Ms. Angela Asare was voted Miss Congeniality at the 2006 Miss Universe pageant. Other than that, no Ghanaian representative has had any substantial success at these international pageants.
For years, there have been clouds of doubt surrounding the Miss Ghana/Miss Ghana Universe pageant. The credibility of the organizers has been called into question on several occasions. Back in 1999, some contestants had to be physically restrained from storming on stage when Mariam Bugri was crowned Miss Ghana. In an ensuing press conference, the contestants disclosed some shocking information regarding the preferential treatment Ms. Bugri was given by organizers prior to the event. As a matter of fact, some (contestants) were so bold to insinuate that there may have been an affair between Ms. Bugri and two of the pageant’s judges. There are enough evidence to suggest that the initial stages of selection is usually tainted, hence, the frequent crowning of less qualified candidates.
Rolling back the tapes and reevaluating the previous performances Ghana’s representative shows most contestants lacked adequate preparation. There are several examples. For instance, a contestant Maame Ewurefua Hawkson piled on the pounds after being crowned Miss Ghana in 2000. She showed up at the event a shadow of her former self. Two years earlier, during the 1998 Miss Universe pageant, Ghana’s Representative Ms. Francisca Bafour-Awuah tripped and fell on stage during her custom presentation.
The contestants’ wardrobe choices are another key factor. Akuba Cudjoe would have gone further in the competition had she been more selective with her evening gown. In previous Miss Universe pageants, there was an introduction (customs) and then swimsuit segment. This was immediately followed by the announcement of the top ten contestants proceeded by the evening gown segment. It was beyond shocking when she came on stage during the evening wear segment in a sequenced granny evening gown accessorized with an out of place organza shawl.
Jennifer Victoria Koranteng, Ghana’s representative at the 2009 Miss Universe from afar seems to have the whole package. However, upon a closer inspection she lacked some basic poise that could propel her further in the competition. Her run way walk during the eveningwear segment can best be described as a work in progress. Not only was she flapping her arms wildly like a bird, her decision to hold her gown throughout her walk thereby highlighting its tackiness in the process was her own undoing. Her choice of an evening gown was nothing short of a cross-between-tie-n-die-batakari-and-a-tent.
Lack of adequate funding is another factor. The poor quality coupled with complete lack of organization of these pageants (Ghana) is a telltale sign. Additionally, there has been dispute in the past over winners’ package, as there were several instances in the past in which organizers failed to handout price packages in a timely fashion.
To leave an imprint on these international pageants, it is vital that Ghanaian representatives are not only eloquent in their expression, but also poised and more refined. Ghanaian pageant organizers should groom these contestants such that they can effectively compete with the rest, and not just thrust them forward on this international platform with very limited preparation.
By: Cassie Johnson (Editor In Chief, Ghanacelebrities.com)