College student crowned Face of Kenya USA
A 19 years freshman, Trina Wambui Njoroge of Bakersfield, California beat other ten contestants to win the inaugural Face of Kenya Pageant held at the Courtyard Marriot, Sherman Oaks in Los Angeles, California over the weekend.
Ms. Njoroge, an America born of Kenyan parents was crowned the title holder a few minutes after midnight following a hotly contested grueling three-hour competition involving red carpet cat-walking, personal presentation and speech articulation of issues.
Other contestants in the pageant were Jackline Wambui Kahugu 21, of Overland Park, Kansas, Kelly Wairimu Davis of Wichita, Kansas, Kabi Nyoike of Austin, Texas, of Bakersfield, California.
Also in contention were Sonnie Njau of Dallas, Texas, Njeri Maina, Collins Wewa of Los Angeles, California, Kevin Ndirangu of Northern California and Lilian Mbua of California.
The contest, the first of its kind to be held in the US surprised both friends and foe by attracting a big turn up of Kenyans living in Los Angeles.
An estimated 300 people showed up each paying $70 that covered entrance fee, a three-course dinner and entertainment.
Events of such kind with a price tag attached to them usually attract few Kenyans living abroad who prefer weddings, baby showers and funeral gatherings.
After being declared the winner, Ms Njoroge thanked her parents, friends and the organisers of the pageant whom she said were her inspiration.
“ I believe anything is possible if one sets their minds what they set out to achieve. For me, the sky has always been the limit,'” she said.
KEY TO SUCCESS
Trina Njoroge was born and raised in Bakersfield California. She is currently a freshman at Cypress College in Santa Ana pursuing a degree in Biology.
Ms Njoroge says her roots as a Kenyan American, and having studied in Kenya for one year at Mt. Kenya Academy helped shape her worldview and made her understand that confidence in her was key to success.
“The most important thing that my short period in Kenya did was to introduce me to the world of needy children especially those orphaned by HIV/Aids,” she added.
At the pageant, Ms Njoroge stood on the platform of fundraising and raising awareness about children orphaned by HIV/Aids. She supports a charity called Angeles Forgotten Center based in Elburgon, Nakuru County.
Ms Njoroge impressed judges Mohammed Jillo, Jean Bons and Grace Haukwa by her articulation of the blight of children left behind by the HIV/Aids scourge.
But at the end of it all, it was her skills and commitment in fundraising for this charity that won the hearts and minds of the judges when she announced that she had raised close to $8,000 through the Face of Kenya USA platform.
Started three years ago in London, UK, by Janet Wainaina, Face of Kenya is a charitable initiative that aims to promote cultural diplomacy, youth empowerment, community cohesion, charitable initiatives and progressive branding of Kenya abroad.
Wacu Ndirangu, the manager of Face of Kenya USA said considering that it was the first time they were hosting the event, the level of participation by both the contestants and spectators was very encouraging.
“If this is anything to go by, then next year’s event will be even big and better. I’m grateful to everybody who took it personally to make the event a success,” She said.