The search for a new Miss Rwanda who exemplifies brain, beauty, culture, and a potential to be a role model, contributing to the growth of Rwanda has come to an end. And Iradukunda Elsa is Miss Rwanda 2017
Iradukunda Elsa is from the Western Province in Rwanda and a graduate of King David High School who represented the Northern Province.
The pageant consisted of 15 other contestants whom Elsa beat to win the crown.
A total of 26 contestants from all provinces in Rwanda had to go through a screening process in order to determine the finalists.
The finalists proceeded to a boot camp where they undertook training and coaching in preparation for the event day. They were trained in certain skills such as public speaking, project design, general knowledge, modeling, among others.
After their stage presentations, the top 5 were revealed to be Umutoniwase Linda, Iradukunda Elsa, Shimwa Guelda, Kalimpinya Queen and Umuhoza Fanique.
The first runner-up was Shimwa Guelda, followed by Umutoniwase Linda, Kalimpinya Queen, and Isimbi Fanique as the second, third and fourth runners-up respectively.
They were judged based on expression, which accounted for 30 percent of the total marks, beauty 30 percent, and substance 40 percent.
As Miss Rwanda 2017, Iradukunda plans to play a part in improving Rwanda’s economy. The 19-year-old plans to do this by promoting Made-In-Rwanda products in order to cut down the eastern African country’s trade deficit.
“If we are able to wear International brands like D&G, why can’t they also rock our local made in Rwanda products, “ Iradukunda said during her presentation. She added that she was putting her hopes in the ministry, as well as Rwandan entrepreneurs to partner with her in making this vision come true.
Not only will Iradukunda embark on her journey to assist in reducing Rwanda’s trade deficit, but she has also won a new Suzuki Swift, thanks to sponsors Cogebanque and will get a monthly salary of Rwf800,000 (approximately $800).
Besides being Miss Rwanda 2017, Elsa was also given the Miss Congeniality title, as well as Most Likable. Uwase Hirwa Honorine won Miss Popularity and Nadia Umutesi won Miss Photogenic.
It was a great night for all contestants as they were all granted scholarships to attend the Mahatma Gandhi University. The outgoing Miss Rwanda, Jolly Mutesi was also made a brand ambassador of RwandAir.
Last year, Rwanda was represented at the Miss World beauty pageant for the first time by 19-year-old Jolly Mutesi from the southern Province. Mutesi’s agenda was promoting Rwanda through local tourism. She also sought to change the narrative plaguing Rwandans– the 1994 genocide.
Despite the war having ended years ago, many still seem to think Rwandans are still suffering as a result of the Genocide.
Although Miss Mutesi did not win the competition, a fellow African competitor, Kenya’s Evelyn Njambi was one of the top 5 finalists. Puerto Rico’s Stephanie Del Valle took home the award.