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Opinions of Thursday, 17 July 2014

Columnist: Nana Yaa

Untold Stories Behind Miss Ghana USA: (Part 2)

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Over the last few years the country Ghana has been engorged with mass amounts of corruption and deception. Resultantly, Ghanaians both home and abroad have strived to make a difference wherever they find themselves by shedding positive lightonto the country in hopes of overcoming the diminishing effects of corruption. One of these many attempts to enlighten Ghana, is the annual Miss Ghana USA pageant...or so they say.

The pageant allegedly empowers young women of the Diaspora to make a difference at home by pursuing humanitarian endeavors. Advertised to be a scholarly and altruistic pageant, young women are undoubtedly drawn to not only the glitz and glamour of this pageant, but the promises the pageant claims; These promises, in regards to the pageant’s mission of hoping to be recognized as a “world class organization”, include respect, fairness, and professionalism by the organizers of the pageant. Such values are held by every legitimate world class organization, including The Miss Universe Pageant, The Miss World Pageant, The Miss America Pageant, and even The Miss Ghana Pageant itself. However, not the Miss Ghana USA pageant. A series of unprofessional, unfair, and unjust scenarios that occur every single year of the pageant attest to the fact that the Miss Ghana USA Pageant is by no means, a legitimate pageant that should be taken as seriously as “world class organizations” such as the formerly stated pageants are taken.

GhanaNewsMedia interviewed several contestants and affiliates who unveiled the truth behind The Miss Ghana USAPageant. The account of one of the 2012 participants, Nadia, is as follows:

How did you hear about the pageant?

I first heard about it through Facebook. I saw a video of the first year’s winner. I thought her dance was amazing and I loved her style. I became interested when I saw that one of the prizes was a trip to Ghana to bring awareness to our platform.

How did you feel while participating?

At first I was excited. The initial steps seemed simple. You apply and pay an application fee. Your profile is reviewed and you are contacted and from there receive more information everything sounded great!

…Until I actually participated in it. My overall feeling while participating in the pageant was frustration. I was frustrated and dismayed because the rules changed so many times, and everything that they said was pretty much contradictory and unclear. For this reason, I tended to ask a lot of questions to clarify many things, for example, how my application fee was being used, where my money was going, and what the prizes were. Certain questions such as these were not welcomed. It was VERY disorganized and disappointing; given all of the efforts I made and overall expenses.

For example, my application fee of $300 was allegedly used to compensate for accommodation and pageant week. To think that this alleged “accommodation” would be something worthwhile and worth my money, I entered the place in high hopes… only to find an old college dorm room with basically no significant furniture but a mattress to sleep on. I couldn’t believe it; it all felt like a sick joke. Was this what I paid for? There were no pillows, no bed sheets…completely nothing. Since they did not provide us with any food, we pretty much had to buy food from outside everyday of this so called pageant week with our own money; the $300 did not cover any food or transportation to and from their pageant week activities…yes, we had to find our own way of getting to these mandatory pageant week activities from the poorcollege dorm rooms…what if something happened to one of us? What if one of us got attacked in this unfamiliar city by roaming the streets on our own? ... I’ll leave that for you to decide.

Would you recommend other women to do this pageant? Why or why not?

I would not recommend this pageant. However, it is up to the girls who are interested to decide for themselves. I know that they advertise it to make it seem all glamorous and legitimate, but from what happened, that was not the case. I will however say this. Before you do a pageant, you should always do your research on the pageant; know where your money is going, and how it's being used. Ask all the questions you need to. Make sure there is a guarantee of equal and fair treatment. Make sure the prizes being advertised are actually being rewarded. If, and only if, after doing all of this you are really convinced that you have a fair chance at pursuing the title…then by all means do so.

Mrs. Nadia

Interview by : Paa Swanzy-Essuman

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