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Confident beauty queen

By | June 29th 2011

Natasha Metto, 21, talks to Joan Barsulai and Shirley Genga about her reign as Miss Kenya and her experience at the Miss World finals in China.

Tell us a little about your background…

I grew up in Eldoret and moved to Nairobi when I was eleven years. I attended Kangundo Junior Academy and later Hill School in Eldoret. I am the last born in my family.

You have lost so much weight since you won the Miss Kenya title; is it planned?

I had lost some weight prior to winning the title, but when I decided to model internationally, I knew I had to lose more weight. I have since been eating healthy foods and avoiding snacks, plus going to the gym for two hours daily.

How long have you been interested in modelling?

I have always dreamt of being a supermodel and in 2008, I auditioned for the Nokia Face of Africa challenge where I bumped into photographer George Simon. He saw great potential in me and asked how far I wanted to go in modelling. Thereafter, he gave me valuable suggestions such as cutting down my weight, which I took heed of. By the time the auditions for Miss Kenya 2010 finals were announced, I was adequately prepared.

Miss Kenya Natasha Metto

How was your experience at the Miss Kenya house?

After auditioning, I was called back as one of the 24 out of over 300 girls who auditioned. I was called on June 19 and asked to come the following day. The short notice did not amuse me and I almost considered not going, but that night my sister and my close friend convinced me to go, saying such a chance came once in a lifetime. So I went and for seven weeks, we stayed at West Pack in Karen. We were not allowed to make phone calls or have contact with the outside world. While at the house, we were trained on everything including etiquette and make-up. It was an intense competition and those who did not excel would be evicted every week. By the end of the seventh week, only 12 of us were remaining. When I was finally announced as the winner, I was shocked.

Why do you think you won?

One thing is for sure; I have plenty of confidence. I have always believed confidence can take you far and I believe that was one of my major weapons of success. I am a born again Christian and I pray a lot, therefore, I strongly believe God had a great hand in my success.

What preparation did you make before the Miss World finals in China?

I was crowned Miss Kenya in August and the Miss World competition was to take place in October, meaning I had a month to prepare. I had to ensure my wardrobe was in order, so I moved from one designer to the next for fittings. I also had to work on my talent, which was drumming, so I would go to African Heritage daily for training. Also, at the Miss World pageant, there are fast track events, which include Beauty With a Purpose, Beach Beauty, Miss Talent, Top Model and Miss Sports. Winning any of the five means an automatic pass to the semi finals. I concentrated on my project for Beauty With a Purpose, which was the anti- jiggers campaign. I also had to have a video footage of the charity project.

What are some of the challenges you faced before the Miss World competition?

Getting sponsors to support my bid to compete was tough. We had to literally go from office to office and thankfully I managed.

How was your experience in China?

I left for China on September 30 and returned on November 2. It was a wonderful experience, as it was my first trip abroad. I got to meet many different people. The participants from other countries were outgoing and unafraid to try new things. My work with the anti-jiggers campaign won the Beauty With a Purpose competition, so I was fast tracked to the semi-finals. This was a big achievement because Kenya had not made it to the semi finals since Yolanda Masinde in 2000. Apart from that, the project won $10,000.

Because Kenya won the Beauty With a Purpose title, Miss World Kenya 2010, who is based in the US, will be in Kenya on July 8 to participate in the campaign against jiggers.

How has your life changed since you won the Miss World Kenya title?

It has changed in more ways than I could ever have imagined. I won the ultimate prize, a car, to start with. I have met the mayor, the former president and several ministers. When I attended the promulgation of the new constitution, I also met many ambassadors. I got great exposure but and best of all is I get invited to wonderful events. I am so much busier now and as much as I am enjoying everything that has come with this newfound success, I barely get to meet my friends anymore.

What projects are you currently involved in?

I have partnered with Cecilia Mwangi and Ahadi Kenya in their campaign against jiggers in Gitundu and Gatanga. This has given me a chance to work with children who I happen to be passionate about. I also plan to start several other projects that will help children. I enjoyed my childhood and it pains me to see children suffering. I want to alleviate their suffering and make a difference.

Who inspires you to do what you do every day?

The people around me; they are positive and always encourage me. International models from Africa such as Ajuma Nasenyana and Alek Wek also inspire me.

What does it take to become Miss Kenya?

A lot of hard work, plenty of confidence and prayer. You have to instil firm discipline in yourself because it involves a lot of sacrifice and you basically have to get along with people.

What are your future plans?

I want to go back to school and study Human Resource Management at Moi University. I also want to pursue modelling at the international level and later open an international modelling and casting agency. This is because I went through a lot to get to where I am and I am aware of the hurdles many young girls with potential have to endure. Their talents tend to be overshadowed and mismanaged. I want to help them harness them. I’d also like to build a children’s home.

Are you dating?

If I say yes, everyone will bug me about who he is and if I say no, the guys will come flocking. So let’s just leave it at this: I am currently unavailable.

What final message do you have for young women like yourself?

Do not let anything stand in the way of your dream. I would not have got this great opportunity had I decided against going to the Miss Kenya house because of the short notice they gave me. Also, believe in yourself no matter what people say and take advantage of any small opportunities that come your way. Do not take prayer for granted; God will take you places you never imagined.

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