A Canada-based Zimbabwean student, Lisa Marovanidza has been named Miss July in the ongoing Face of Zimbabwe (FOZ) online beauty contest.
FOZ is an international online beauty pageant for Zimbabweans residing all over the world and the competition, which is experiencing a surge in popularity, is organised by a London-based firm, KMG Media that is run by Zimbabweans.
“The objectives of the pageant are to market the country abroad by choosing a face that represents the beauty of Zimbabwean ladies while using that platform to market our tourist destinations,” said FOZ administrator, Lazarus Nyekese.
After being shortlisted among three contestants to garner highest public votes, Marovanidza was unanimously selected by FOZ judges as winner for the month of July ahead of other hopefuls, Tiffany Chitemere based in South Africa and Dudu Phakathi, who is in Zimbabwe.
“The competition selects a winning contestant from a number of applicants every month until December when the overall winner will be chosen and one of the interesting features of the competition is that is it based on public voting,” he said.
Nyekese said the three contestants who would receive the highest public votes would become finalists after which a monthly winner would then be chosen by a panel of five judges.
He said at the end of the year, an ultimate winner from the 12 monthly finalists would be chosen through public votes and would be crowned Face of Zimbabwe 2012.
“The Miss July winner, who is studying at a Canadian university, posted a powerful video on YouTube where she explained that being the face of Zimbabwe meant a lot to her as it involved patriotism and the opportunity to represent the many faces of the country.”
One of the judges, US-based acoustic and Afro-jazz musician, Cee Jay Besa, said he had chosen Marovanidza because she had shown a lot of confidence and extreme passion for her country.
All the judges were also struck by some of her photos that were posted as one of the competition’s pre-requisites.
“I think if Zimbabwe and the women of Zimbabwe were to be advertised in a few words and by one face, Lisa would be that face,” said another judge, Primrose Mutsigiri, who is a former model and producer.
Nyekese said judging by the fierce campaigning by the monthly contestants on the group’s Facebook page, there was every indication that the Face of Zimbabwe competition would grow into a big and exciting contest.
He said pictures of the monthly winners would feature on a 2012 calendar that will be produced at the end of the year for distribution worldwide. Part of the proceeds from the sales of the calendar will go to charity.
So far the monthly winners are based in US, South Africa, China, UK and Canada indicating the international character of the competition.
“The participation of the public through online voting has meant that unlike other pageants, the current monthly winners are truly representative of what the Zimbabwean public judges as beautiful,” Nyekese said.
To enter the competition, prospective contestants residing in Zimbabwe and all over the world can register for free on Face of Zimbabwe Trust’s website or visit the pageant’s Facebook page.