“There is nothing more saddening than seeing malnourished kids from East Africa”
US based Cameroonian beauty queen Ghyslaine Tchouaga is preparing to take part in the Miss Africa USA pageant.
The pageant will take place on Sunday, 13th November 2011 at the Hilton Hotel, 8727 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, Maryland.
Ghyslaine, who is commonly called Gigi, was born and raised in Yaoundé, Cameroon where she spent 17 years of her life.
“I have three sisters and a brother. I am very close to both my father and my mother. This summer, I became a proud aunty,” she says.
Ghyslaine is a humble, God fearing, gorgeous, intelligent, confident, tall and sometimes shy girl. “I don’t hold back and usually treat people exactly how I want to be treated,” she says.
Ghyslaine is in love with God. “The first love of my life is God,” she says. “I love different cuisines, exploring the world, giving back, modelling and learning about different cultures. I express myself through ceramic, singing when I am by myself, volunteering and writing.”
Here’s an exclusive interview she granted Africa News.
Ghyslaine, you aspire to become the next Miss Africa USA. Why would you like to win this prestigious title?
Beside from the fact that a Miss Cameroon has never won the Miss Africa USA crown, I aim this year to be Miss Africa USA not for the spotlight but to use the spotlight to both raise awareness and funds for my campaign Fight Against Hunger in the Horn of Africa.
I would also promote the Miss Africa USA at the same time. I believe that the future of the Miss Africa USA pageant relies extensively on the message the next queen will deliver to the general public. Furthermore, I will do all I can to preserve this pageant’s core objective that young African women can be and do whatever they want to make a positive difference.
Why did you choose to become a model?
Initially, I did not choose to model in fact. In 2009, a good friend of mine asked me to model for his party. It was a great experience and I made good friends. Since then, I have done photo shoots and runways.
For how long have you been modelling?
I have been modelling for two years now. My first show was during Christmas of 2009 when I modelled for Imara Couture by Nadia Atcha at the BCBG (Bon Chic Bon Genre) event.
How does it feel to be a model?
I feel in my zone whenever I model, especially when I do runways. The clothes, the makeup, the people you meet make the experience unforgettable.
We hardly see black models in major fashion shows, magazine covers and in advertisements in the UK. Is the situation any different in the US? Is yes, why do you think this happens?
I believe this situation is progressively changing in a good way. This year during New York Fashion Week, we had different black models such as Aminata Niara, Ataui Deng, Ajak Deng, Nyasha Matonhodze, and Joan Smalls modelling for major designers like Jason Wu and Diane von Furstenberg.
What’s your message to those who organise fashion events in the US but deny models of colour a chance of taking part?
Beauty comes in different shades. It is really ignorant to deny models a chance because of the colour of their skin.
Is there any particular thing you'd like to campaign for or against?
What I like about the Miss Africa USA pageant is that it gives young African women voices. My campaign for this year is based on Fighting against Hunger in East Africa. The reasons are because famine is an emergency. Whenever I visualize that 12 million people in East Africa are affected by the drought crisis and 3.7 million people suffer from famine in East Africa, I feel uncomfortable because I did not do anything special to be blessed with a meal every day. I go where the need is. It is true that I can help my country in so many ways but there is nothing more saddening than seeing malnourished kids from East Africa. To help me raise money for this campaign, anyone can donate to http://diy.rescue.org/misscameroon. The funds will go to the International Rescue Committee, a non-profit organization.
As a model, what do you consider to be your role in the society?
My role in society is to help and inspire others. I have done a lot from inspiration and help I have received.
What's the part of your body you like most?
I love my eyes. They have allowed me to see a lot.
What’s your favourite music, book and movie?
I love Soul music because of the lyrics. My favourite book is the Bible, and my favourite movie is the “Colour Purple”.
What’s your most memorable day?
My most memorable day was when I moved to the US. It was a bittersweet day. It was bitter because I left everyone and everything I had in Cameroon. It was sweet because I moved to the US, a country of opportunity.
What do you like most about yourself?
I have mastered the ability to forgive and forget. I think it makes you a bitter person when you are not able to forgive people.
What’s your favourite food?
My favourite food is a Cameroonian dish called Eru (vegetables) with Water Fufu (Thick paste of cassava powder).
What’s your special talent?
I found my special talent during last summer. I create fabulous ceramic pieces.
What are your career and personal ambitions?
I have a lot of career and personal ambitions but the main ones are: I want to be recognized as an activist and have my own non-profit organization. In addition, I want to be a Nurse Anaesthetist, a mother, a wife and a good role model for my surrounding.
What do you do to keep your figure in shape?
You are what you eat. I eat healthy and exercise at least four times a week, drink a lot of water and every three months I eliminate toxins by cleansing my whole body.
Do you have any fashion, beauty and style tips to share with our readers?
My tip will be: Be Yourself because everyone else is already taken.
What are the qualities of your ideal man?
My ideal man is someone who is God fearing, loves me just the way I am, confident, competent, romantic, faithful, with a great sense of humour, intelligent and financially responsible.
Any advice to those aspiring to become models?
Be confident and strong.
Ghyslaine needs your votes in order to win the Miss Africa USA crown. You can vote for her daily by logging on to http://missafricaunitedstates.com/profile.php?cont=87.
And if you are in the Maryland area on 13th November 2011, Ghyslaine is inviting you to come and support her at the Hilton Hotel, 8727 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, Maryland. The event will take place from 4pm to 10 pm.
You can support Ghyslaine’s Fight Against Hunger by donating to her campaign online at http://diy.rescue.org/misscameroon
Full Name: Ghyslaine Tchouaga
Date of birth: 31st January 1989
Place of birth: Yaoundé, Cameroon
Height: 5 feet and 11 inches or 1.80 meter
Waist: 26.5 inch
Hips: 37 inch
Dress Size: 2/4 US size
Shoe Size: 11 (US size)
Hair Colour: Black
Qualification: Nursing student
Country of parents’ origin: Cameroon
By Stephen Ogongo Ongong’a
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