Beauty queen makes plea to govt

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. . . says support for pageantry sector will benefit tourism

Mohalenyane Phakela

REIGNING Face of Lesotho, Michelle Tau, says she hopes her success at the Face of Beauty International contest in New Delhi, India last week will inspire the government and other stakeholders to support the pageantry sector.

Tau, who was crowned second runner up in the global pageant, returned home on Monday and was welcomed at Moshoeshoe I International Airport by other beauty queens and family members.

Conspicuous by their absence at the airport were government officials, despite beauty pageants’ celebrated role in promoting tourism.

The 21-year-old beauty was in India from 14 to 23 September where she faced off with 40 other contestants from around the world.

Despite arriving a day late at the pageant, due to flight delays, Tau managed to hold her own and only came third behind the winner Tanisa Panyapo from Thailand and first runner up Iris Ojalammi from Finland.

The Ha Leqele-based stunner was welcomed home by Miss Africa Lesotho Mojabeng Senekal, Mpoi Mahao (Miss World Lesotho) and Tebello Maine (Miss Heritage Lesotho).

Senekal represented Lesotho at the Miss Africa Continent pageant in Johannesburg, South Africa last month where she was crowned Miss Personality while Mahao will next month compete for the Miss World title in China. For her part, Maine will be going to Cambodia in November for the Miss Heritage International pageant.

Tau’s mother, Thakane Tau, told the Weekender she had to foot all of her daughter’s bills for the pageant, even though she was representing the country in India.

“The list of requirements for Michelle’s participation was very long and everything was so expensive,” she said.

“Unfortunately, I had to cough out every cent, with the support of friends, to ensure that she had everything she needed.

“I am overjoyed by what my daughter has achieved and I don’t think she has made only me proud but the nation at large.

“I hope this will be a wakeup call for the government to realise that these girls are not doing it for themselves or their families but the nation. When they are at the international pageants, they are called by the names of their countries and not the names we gave them as parents. The least the government could have done was to come here today to congratulate her.”

Michelle echoed the sentiment, saying she hoped her achievement would inspire the government and other stakeholders to support the pageantry sector.

“My mom and some of her friends dug deep into their pockets to ensure I had everything I needed for the pageant. My sister sewed most of my dresses too,” she said.

“I would also like to thank Zeneth Horizon Insurance for covering my airfare, Maseru City Council for allowing me to use their hall for free during a fundraising pageant I held for the trip, as well as TGee Modelling Agency for a photoshoot.”

Michelle said she marketed Lesotho during the pageant.

“I believe I made so many people realise that there was a country called Lesotho and thus promoted my country’s tourism sector.

“I also believe we could perform much better at these international pageants if we were sponsored because instead of focusing on preparing for the pageants, a contestant will be stressed about whether she will be able to raise the money to cover her trip or not. I hope my title will inspire the government to invest in us, especially Mpoi and Tebello who are yet to represent the country.”

Turning to her experiences at the India pageant, Michelle said she expected to win talent or sports accolade since she is a taekwondo black belt holder.

“The announcement of winners started off with subsidiary titles such as talent, photogenic and charity among others. Failing to win either talent of sport made me lose hope that I would bring anything home. I was shocked when I was announced as the second runner up and I still cannot believe it still.”

By virtue of her accolade, she said, next year’s contestant from Lesotho will not have to pay a subscription fee.

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