Wabaiya Kariuki will represent Kenya at the 67th edition of Miss Universe beauty contest which will be held at Impact, Muang Thong Thani in Bangkok, Thailand on December 17, 2018 where Miss South Africa, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters will crown her successor.
Wabaiya Kariuki’s journey into professional modelling world was not intentional. During her Bachelor of Science studies at Daystar University, the 22-year-old student was involved in musical drama performance as music director for a talent and theatre club at the university.
Her friends pursuing fashion design needed help with models and they asked her to showcase their outfits. “From there I started getting small paying jobs and would attend auditions and was eventually drawn into commercial modelling,” says Wabaiya who will be graduating this month.
As the 2018 Miss University Kenya, Wabaiya is a vocal advocate for mental health awareness among the youth.
“In 2017 we lost a friend to suicide without a clue of what he was going through. I researched and realised that mental health is an unaddressed issue in Kenya yet we have a huge youth population. I would like to create awareness about mental health, help end the stigma and encourage the youth to seek help if they are struggling with depression or other mental health aspects.
Her advice to upcoming models is: “If you have a dream and you set out to achieve, then go for it but be yourself and find your own unique style." Michelle Opiyo was the first runners up for the Kenya title, followed by Elsie Stephens.