On April 23, this year, a new Miss Universe Tanzania was crowned at the Mlimani City in Dar es Salaam. On that day, Arusha-born beauty Hellen Dausen became the fourth model to win the coveted title since its inception in the country three years ago. Here Staff Writer WILLIE CHIWANGO chronicles the pageant's life...
MISS Universe Tanzania is an annual beauty pageant that was first held in 2007. The winner represents Tanzania at the annual Miss Universe pageant.
The local pageant is run by Compass Communications of Dar es Salaam owned by Maria Sarungi Tsehai. The company also organises the Miss Earth and Miss International beauty contests.
Miss Universe Tanzania is not related to the annual Miss Tanzania pageant which is organised by Lino International Agency Limited.
Flaviana Matata won the first edition of the Miss Universe Tanzania pageant in 2007 and made history by becoming the first contestant from Tanzania to compete at Miss Universe pageants.
Competing with a shaved head at the Miss Universe 2007 held at the National Auditorium in Mexico City, Flaviana placed among the Top 15 semi-finalists and ended up in sixth place after the evening gown competition.
In June 2008, Flaviana, who was born in Shinyanga in 1987, left for Johannesburg, South Africa to begin her modelling work under a one year contract with one of the most reputable companies in South Africa -- Ice Model Agency.
She also modelled print advertisements for Sherri Hill and in February this year she achieved her lifelong ambition when she started her modelling life in America with New York-based American entrepreneur Russel Simmons.
Simmons, who is the co-founder of the pioneering hip-hop label Def Jam and creator of the clothing fashion lines Phat Farm and Baby Farm, secured a modelling contract for Flaviana after meeting her at the Hublot 2010 African Wildlife Foundation Charity dinner on February 3.
Flaviana was succeeded by Amanda Ole Sululu who was crowned Miss Universe Tanzania 2008.
Amanda is a Maasai girl who hails from Arusha. She, however, broke their conservative traditions and stood her ground against all odds and eventually won the right to represent her country at Miss Universe.
Holder of a certificate in Computer Engineering, Amanda was given the chance to compete in the Miss Universe Tanzania pageant as a replacement for a contestant who withdrew at the last minute.
Although she was 24 hours late, she remained calm and focused throughout the competition – the two characteristics that made her the darling of the crowd. At the finals and when the results were ready, the crowd chanted her name before it was officially announced.
Amanda was not only confident on stage but she also proved to be very articulate and provided a very original answer to the question: "Apart from fighting HIV/AIDS, helping orphans and promoting Tanzania, if you are chosen Miss Universe Tanzania, what would you contribute to the society?"
Amanda responded that she would work hard for women's rights.
As a Maasai girl who grew up in a family belonging to a very conservative family, Amanda had faced obstacles in doing what she wants, including disapproval and criticism from her Maasai clan for participating in beauty pageants and modelling.
She says her beauty secret is loving oneself and being happy with all that God has given and made for her. She aspires to become an actress and her hobbies include watching movies, listening to music and socializing.
After Amanda came Illuminata James Wize from Mwanza, who beat 19 other ladies to become Miss Universe Tanzania 2009.
The victory earned her a ticket to the Miss Universe 2009 pageant held in Nassau, Bahamas on August 23.
Then 23 years old, Illuminata was awarded a 3m/- cash prize, one-year French course at the Alliance Francaise, cosmetics worth 500,000/- and a Samsung Omnia cellphone.
Hidaya Maeda finished first runner-up and represented Tanzania at the Miss International 2009 pageant held in Japan and China.
The reigning Miss Universe Tanzania is Hellen Dausen, who was crowned on April 23, this year at Mlimani City.
Born on April 18, 1986 in Arusha, the beauty queen and radio advert model will represent Tanzania at the 59th Miss Universe pageant to be held at a venue and date to be revealed soon.
New York Film Academy has also offered her a scholarship to study in the United States.
The 23-year-old model accepted the crown from her predecessor Illuminata.
Immaculata Alphonce, Mwajuma Juma, Rose Shoya and Selina Kipeta were the other Top Five finalists.
Miss Universe is an annual international beauty contest run by the Miss Universe Organization. Along with its rival contests -- Miss World and Miss Earth -- this pageant is one of the most publicized beauty contests in the world.
The contest was founded in 1952 by California clothing company Pacific Mills. The pageant became part of Kayser-Roth and then Gulf and Western Industries, before being acquired by Donald Trump in 1996.
In 1998, Miss Universe changed its name from Miss Universe, Inc. to Miss Universe Organization and the headquarters was moved from Long Beach, Los Angeles to New York City.
Donald Trump brought in a new team of professionals to the contest headed by its new Chief Executive Officer, Molly Miles and president Maureen Reidy.
The new Miss Universe logo: “The Woman with the Stars” was born in 1998 and is still used today.
The current Miss Universe is Stefanía Fernández, from Venezuela. She won the title at the 58th pageant held at the Atlantis Paradise Island, in Nassau, Bahamas, on August 23, 2009.