Sponsorship and parents concerns and reluctance by models to parade in swimwear has resulted in organisers of the 2022 Miss Malawi beauty pageant scrapping the category.
The Miss Malawi pageant is set to make a comeback after a four-year absence and organisers Alpha Arts stunned followers of the pageant with an announcement that there will not be a swimwear category during this year’s event.
In an interview, one of the lead organisers Stella Gwaza said after the team sat down with prospective sponsors, a decision was arrived at to omit the category.
She said: “Before starting preparations for the Miss Malawi we did a research. We decided to give it a try and see if we can remove the bikini category and see if it can work.
“There were several reasons behind, one of them being the problems that we were having with the models and their parents as well. They did not feel comfortable parading in swimwear.”
Alpha Arts has also indicated that they intend to sponsor the winner to participate at the Miss World pageant where the bikini category is a must.
But the organisers say they will work on alternative ways to help the models build confidence to parade at such a platform.
Gwaza said: “We know that when they go out it is going to be there, but we just want to give it a try. When we pick the top 30, they will not just come and show up at the show. They will be drilled so that they are confident enough to parade in a bikini.”
She indicated that unlike long ago when the obsession was on very slim girls, things have changed now on the Miss Universe and Miss World platforms.
But Gwaza said that does not mean that we have curvy girls.
“In our selection we will make sure we adhere to the standards that Miss World is looking for,” she said.
Meanwhile, Alpha Arts has unveiled a partnership with private broadcaster Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS). Alpha Arts official Francis Kaphuka said their partnership is crucial as ZBS brings in a wealth of experience, having run the pageant before.
ZBS Miss Malawi liaison officer Ruth Kulaisi said as part of the arrangement, they are the official broadcaster of the pageant for 2022. She applauded the organisers for their efforts to bring back the pageant after a four-year absence.
She said: “We hope other partners will also come on board to benefit from the visibility that the platform offers.”