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Kenyan beauty wins continental crown

 Kenyan model Fridah Kariuki. (Courtesy)

Kenyan model and environmental activist Fridah Kariuki has been crowned the new Miss Tourism Africa.

The beauty, a journalist and a former Kenya Methodist University student beat over 10 other models from across the continent to win the prestigious crown. The ceremony was held in Lagos, Nigeria, last weekend.

"I am so excited, and all I can say is thank you, Jesus. This is a big one for us. I never saw this coming. The pageant was competitive and I must congratulate all the other models representing different countries who came out and gave their best. I am happy and now ready for the task ahead," Fridah told The Standard.

Fridah is the immediate former Miss Earth Kenya. Miss Tourism Africa is a platform open to all black young women from African communities around the world, including France, Spain, Japan, China, Germany, the UK, Canada and US.

The winner, with her beauty, grace, dynamic personality and intelligence, distinctively sets herself as an ambassador, with tourism promotion being her fundamental core value.

"We came together and decided to do this special Miss Tourism Africa pageant as a way of promoting our continent's great heritage. This being the maiden event, we started with 15 countries and I am impressed that Kenya has taken it. Fridah is a graceful model who is passionate about environmental issues and matters to do with promoting the country. She deserves this one," said Alice Kamunge, who is also the founder and managing director of Vera Beauty and Fashion College.

 Fridah Kariuki crowned the new Miss Tourism Africa.

Ms Alice runs the Miss Earth and Miss Tourism Kenya beauty pageants and is also the President Miss Tourism East Africa.

"Beauty pageants are not so supported here in Kenya and probably that tells you where there was not so much hype around this one. I keep on telling girls to go out there and make a name for themselves and that is exactly what Fridah has done. The pageant is a revolving one and we might have the next one going to South Africa next year," said Alice.

During a previous interview with The Standard, Fridah, who is also a former Miss Tourism, Embu, crown holder, said having a crown gave her a platform to advocate for environmental issues.

 Fridah is also a former Miss Tourism, Embu.

"I now have a platform, nationally and internationally to create awareness and make a positive impact on environmental issues," said Fridah.

The big win comes barely a month after another Kenyan model scooped yet another continental crown.

Messry Lung'atso, 23, won the Beauty of Africa International pageant during a colourful ceremony held in Abuja, Nigeria, a competition that saw Ghana's Prisca Abah and Miss Nigeria, Okereke Juliana, take second and third places respectively.

The ceremony saw the top 12 contenders battle it out. "We had a dream, we believed and we hit the road running. God has been faithful," said Messry.

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