Twenty years old Abigail Jansen from Serowe has reflected on her journey that saw her being crowned Miss Tourism International Botswana at Oodi over weekend.
She accidentally participated in the pageant as a replacement for another model in the pageant disguised as a fashion show.
Jansen told Arts & Culture in an interview this week that she went to the pageant with the idea that she was attending a fashion show. She remembers how shocked she was to learn that she emerged as a winner and would now be heading to Malaysia on October 18, 2019 for Miss Tourism International.
Looking back, she said she grew up with a lot of interest in modelling. “After secondary school I decided to quit because I didn’t get any prize in the competitions that I took part in. I just realise now that I have been sitting on my talent. I should have kept trying,” she said.
Jansen said as a member of the ZCC, people think they don’t partake in pageants. But she encouraged other youth to stand for themselves. “This is part of my work, so in church they don’t
Jansen also revealed that she would be competing with 80 other women from across the world. “I will do my best to get into top 10,” she highlighted.
For her part , the pageantry founder Millicent Shunda said they did Miss Tourism pageant and the participants had no idea that a winner would be chosen to represent Botswana in Malaysia. “It was a surprise because everyone knew that they were there for a fashion show,” she said.
Shunda said it was a tough competition and the pageant was long overdue. “We could have long hosted it in 2017 but it was not to be because of lack of sponsors,” she said. She said she decided to do it this year with 15 participants from the initial plan of 35.
Shunda also said that the idea behind the pageant is to promote Botswana tourism and give exposure to youth who do not know anything about pageantry.