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SNAPPY 7: Eunice Onyango – Agencies must stop misusing models

Kenya’s Eunice Onyango, the second runners up of Miss International 2015, does not quite fit with the trappings of the title. The pageant is long associated with being not-so-keen-on-black-African-beauties.

But the 22 year-old model from Nairobi broke the rule books when she arrived in Tokyo, Japan, to participate in last year’s edition. She finished among the top three and walked away witha decent sum of money.

Miss Onyango took her time from her photo shoots and talked to Nairobi News about what Miss International is and what is next for her.

What does Miss International Pageant entail? –  Miss International is the fourth largest pageant in the World. Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss Earth then Miss International. It is a pageant whose winners become culture ambassadors with a mission to promote peace and mutual understanding in their respective countries and other participating countries.

 

After winning in your country, you are expected to go and also represent your country internationally against other queens.

Many African countries have called the Miss International pageant as racist and they shy away from participating in it.

How was your experience in Japan? – At first it was hectic because I got to Japan a few hours before the orientations started and when I walked in the hall everyone turned and looked at me in awe because I am dark, tall and bald.

What has changed in your life since you won the title? – A lot of doors have opened for me since I won the title. In Kenya, in order for you to get modeling jobs, you must have a name, so after I won I have been getting calls both local and international.

PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU
PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

Apart from modeling I have been able start my foundation called Atieno Onyango Foundation to inspire girls through what you have achieved and what you went through to achieve it.

Who is Eunice Onyango? – Professional model, philanthropist a student and an upcoming entrepreneur. I’m doing a Bachelor’s degree in Adult Education and Community development at the University of Nairobi, Kikuyu campus.

I grew up in a small village called Nyadhi in Siaya county. I grew up with both parents and six siblings and they spoilt me because I am the last born. I had to wait for two years to join campus because two of siblings were still in college and my parents couldn’t afford to pay for all three of us.

What is your style and who is your favorite Kenyan designer? – I like blocking colours and I know I’m a queen so I should be wearing fly dresses and all that, but that is not me.

You will find me in the streets wearing a crop top, skinny jeans and even mismatching earrings.

I like Wambui Makenyi, even if I have never worked for her, I have worn her designs.

What is your take on the modeling industry here in Kenya? – We are still very behind, and it starts with the agencies who do not seem to see eye to eye because they are always fighting with each other. Most of them do not want to work together.

Misuse of the models who are paid peanuts or nothing at all is a concern. Sometimes they are forced to wear really open clothes which models are no supposed to wear on the runway in Kenya for Sh5000.

Most the agencies should stop being selfish and they should work together with the models if the industry is to grow.

What is your advice to the young girls who look up to you? – It hasn’t been an easy journey to get to where I am now. For you to get to where you want to be it will need patience, determination and perseverance. They should also remember that not everyone will accept you in the modeling or media industry; all showbiz areas people have their differences.

Do not try to please everyone because what they say it doesn’t matter, what matters is you proving them wrong.