While it is true that many strive to conform to the mass media’s standard of what is beautiful, there is in fact no ideal definition of physical beauty that is universally acceptable. For this reason, beauty pageants or competitions attempt to rank or judge contestants on a narrow set of attributes that often include physical features, personality, intellect, and natural talent.
In admiration of all things beautiful, we present the following rundown of five of Africa’s most successful beauty queens. All of them have excelled in at least one of the “Big Four” international beauty pageants.
Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Margaret Gardiner became the first African to win the Miss Universe title in a ceremony held in Acapulco, Mexico. In the 4th round, she came in the top position among five finalists and won the pageant after correctly answering the final question.
Gardiner is a published author of two books on health and beauty, and she also holds a degree in Psychology from the College of Charleston.
Mpule Kwelagobe was crowned Miss Universe in 1999 at a colorful ceremony in Trinidad and Tobago. With her win, she became the third African woman to win an international beauty pageant. Afterward, Kwelagobe enjoyed a successful career as model, promoting international brands such as Clairol.
In 2000, she was appointed as a UN Goodwill Ambassador with her newfound voice as an international celebrity. In her post, Kwelagobe called global attention to developmental problems in Africa, particularly those affecting women and children.
Despite her packed schedule, Kwelagobe found the time to earn a degree in International Political Economy from the Columbia University in New York, and today, she is married to Indian-American Abhijoy Gandhi and a Mother of one.