Former beauty queen Alicia Aylies who is among the namers of the gorillas during this year's Kwita Izina ceremony, has highlighted the significance of the event and her personal connection to the cause. In an exclusive interview with The New Times, Aylies, Miss France 2017, shared her thoughts on the importance of conservation and the role of beauty queens in promoting and uplifting initiatives like wildlife conservation on a global scale. She shared that conservation is a cause close to her heart due to her origins in French Guiana. Similar to Rwanda, her homeland is blessed with abundant fauna and diverse wildlife, making conservation a sensitive and critical issue for her and the people of French Guiana. Conservation is very important for me because I come from French Guiana. It's like Rwanda because we have a lot of animals and fauna, so conservation is something sensitive for us and for me, she explained. Adding, People like me, who have a big following on social media, have to share positive messages on topics that matter, such as our forests, fauna, and conservation in general. Because this is our world, and we have to take care of it. ALSO READ: Ineza: Youngest namer at Kwita Izina With her influential position as Miss France 2017, Aylies further acknowledged the role and responsibility that beauty queens and influencers hold in promoting initiatives like wildlife conservation. She emphasised that individuals in the public eye, like herself, who have the potential to reach a large number of followers through social media platforms should effectively utilise them to share awareness about the importance of preserving wildlife and natural heritage. Aylies also expressed her excitement about taking part in Umuganda – a community-based initiative in Rwanda – and interacting directly with locals. She explained that it aligns with her commitment to raising awareness at a grassroots level, encouraging others to take an active role in protecting our wildlife and heritage. When asked about the message she hopes to convey through her participation in Kwita Izina, Aylies emphasised the need for sensitising individuals and nations to prioritise the preservation of their wildlife and natural resources. She sees her presence at the event as an opportunity to inspire positive change in people's attitudes towards wildlife conservation, and to encourage them to embrace their role as stewards of the environment. ALSO READ: Queen Kalimpinya to name baby gorilla at ‘Kwita Izina’ ceremony It's an honour to be part of Kwita Izina, but also it's an occasion to discover and explore Rwanda. My presence here should, more than anything else, sensitise and convince other people and other countries to take care of their wildlife and their heritage, she said. Aylies firmly believes that events like Kwita Izina can indeed influence positive change in people's attitudes towards wildlife preservation. She underlined the power of showcasing the successful outcomes of conservation efforts and named the gorillas as living testimony to the ability to protect and coexist with the natural world. Sharing a personal perspective, the former beauty queen spoke of her encounters with wildlife that have fueled her interest in conservation. Growing up surrounded by the natural wonders of French Guiana, she learned from a young age the importance of coexisting with and protecting wildlife. ALSO READ: Kwita Izina: 23 baby gorillas to be named on Sept. 1 When asked about her future involvement in initiatives beyond Kwita Izina, she went on to express her commitment to continuing her engagement in conservation, taking advantage of her influential figure as Miss France 2017 and beyond. Miss French Guiana, reigned for one year as Miss France 2017, giving her region its first-ever Miss France title.