Elsa Iradukunda was crowned the new queen for the Miss Rwanda beauty pageant on Saturday, beginning her one-year reign as the East African nation’s beauty and style ambassador.
Nineteen-year-old Iradukunda was crowned Miss Rwanda 2017 in a colorful ceremony that took place at the Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village, reports the New Times of Rwanda.
Iradukunda, a senior-six graduate from King David High School, representing the northern province, beat 15 other girls to win the crown. Iradukunda weighs 50kg (100lbs) and stands tall at 1.76m (5’7″ inches).
The Miss Rwanda 2017 beauty pageant tested contestants for beauty, poise, intellect, natural talent, and general knowledge. According to the judges, expression accounted for 30 percent of the total marks, beauty 30 percent, and substance 40 percent.
At the ceremony, all 15 contestants, dressed by Sonia Mugabo, a local designer, participated in the catwalk session, a question and answer segment, and showcased their various talents in dancing and singing. The ceremony also featured a variety of musical and comedic performances from local entertainers.
Answering questions about the programs and initiatives she hopes to execute during her reign, Iradukunda says she plans to use the recognition and platform she will enjoy as a beauty queen to stimulate local manufacturing by promoting made-in-Rwanda products, “If we are able to wear International brands like D&G, why can’t they also rock our local made in Rwanda products,” she said.
Iradunkunda must have impressed the panel of judges as well as her fellow contestants as she was not only crowned queen, but she also won one of the smaller prizes of Miss Congeniality or most likable.
With her win, Iradunkunda will now replace Jolly Mutesi, the outgoing Miss Rwanda 2016 who made history last December when she became the first Miss Rwanda to represent the country at the Miss World pageant, even placing among the top 24 contestants.
As part of her win, Iradukunda returned home with a brand-new car, a Suzuki Swift worth Rwf15 million, courtesy of the main sponsors, and she will also be entitled to a monthly salary of Rwf 800,000.
In a bid to promote educational achievement, all of the 15 finalists, including the newly crowned beauty queen, were given full scholarships to pursue undergraduate degrees at Mahatma Ghandhi University.