Former President J. J. Rawlings has presented a miniature Ghana Independence Arch to Miss Universe-Ghana 2018, Akpene Diata Hoggar, as a token of his appreciation of the efforts being made by the queen and the organising company, Malz Promotions, to promote Ghana and its tourism potential in the international arena.
The model arch, which has transparent pillars filled with pure gold pellets, was given to Miss Hoggar at a ceremony held at the former President’s residence at Ridge, Accra yesterday. It is to be, in turn, presented to the Miss Universe Organisation during this year’s Miss Universe international pageant in Bangkok Thailand, as a special gift from the people of Ghana.
The former Head of State said he chose the arch because it represented the totality of the unity and identity of the Ghanaian people, which he wanted Miss Universe-Ghana 2018 to portray to the organisers as well as the large number of people who would participate in the pageant.
He advised Miss Hoggar to, “Smile all the time and let the people of the world see your infectious smile and beautiful teeth, and also work hard to make Ghana proud in the competition”.
Miss Universe-Ghana ’18, who described former President Rawlings as her childhood idol, promised to give of her best in the pageant and also go all out to put Ghana on the international tourism map.
Mr Rawlings congratulated the National Director of Miss Universe-Ghana, Mrs Menaye Donkor Muntari, on taking up the challenge to help develop the talents of young Ghanaian women and also for promoting Ghana’s tourism. He called on corporate Ghana to support the Miss Universe Ghana brand and the organising company, Malz Promotions, “to take the pageant higher”.
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Mrs Muntari thanked the former President for his support, and pointed out that she and her team had set out to change the way Ghanaians perceived beauty pageants, especially as being just a platform for young women to flaunt their beauty for the pleasure of society.
“For us, beauty is not just ‘the physical’ that is why we look out for intelligent queens who can represent Ghana at the international level. Our queens are ambassadors who help promote Ghanaian tourism. We want to make a difference and share with the rest of the world, our beautiful culture. We ultimately want to win Miss Universe,” she stated.
Miss Hoggar will leave Accra today for the Miss Universe finals slated for Monday, December 17. She beat nine other beauties in a hotly contested event held in September at the Labadi Beach Hotel to win the crown and the sole ticket to the international event.
Former Defence Minister, Mr Benjamin Kunbour, who was part of Mr Rawlings’ entourage at the event, said it was regrettable that the concept of beauty had been reduced to physical attributes or vital statistics. “Beauty must be the totality of the person, internally and externally. Let’s value that,” he said.
Other personalities at the event were Mr William Asiedu, President of the Arts and Tourism Writers Association of Ghana (ATWAG), Mr Michael Sousoudis, an associate of ex-President Rawlings, and Ms Barbara Coleman, Research Officer, Office of the former President.
“I believe you can win the crown. I can see that you are being your natural self, which is very good,” Ms Coleman said to the queen.
In a related development, Akpene Diata Hoggar recently displayed her impeccable modelling skills on the runway at the Fashion for Peace show held in the French capital, Paris, drawing rave reviews from guests at the event and fans on social media.
She also donated food, clothes and other items to the Accra Psychiatrist Hospital and also led the finalists of this year’s Miss Universe Ghana pageant to hold a charity event, the Pink Car Wash, to raise funds for breast cancer survivors. An amount of GH¢ 5,000.00 raised from the programme was donated to the Peace and Love Hospital (Spintex Branch).
The event was organised by Malz Promotions in collaboration with Belaire, SHE-Y by Menaye, Print Field, Cahaya Lounge and Grill, Topp Core Security and Joy Prime.