After successful month-long nationwide auditions, the public has started to cast their votes on their favourite contestants competing for the Miss Rwanda 2020 crown, after they picked numbers which will identify them through the course of the competition.
A total of 54 contestants were selected to represent their respective provinces at the national level ahead of the beauty contest’s pre-selections slated for February 1, at PSF Expo Grounds, Gikondo.
They include six contestants selected from Western Province, six from Northern Province, seven from Southern Province, 15 from Eastern Province, and 20 from Kigali City, which has the highest representation in the ongoing beauty contest.
The voting exercise, which started on January 23, will see two contestants with the highest votes both in SMS and online—besides public impression, get an automatic ticket to the boot camp scheduled for February 9.
The public can now vote for their favourite contestants, via www.igihe.com, or through SMS by typing ‘Miss’, leave space—then the number of the contestant and send to 1525. Voting closes on February 1.
SMS voting will count 60 per cent of total votes, 20 per cent for online voting, while public impression during the pre-selection will contribute 20 per cent.
Results from the voting exercise will be announced after the pre-selection, which will see top 20 contestants go to the boot camp.
Dieudonne Kagame Ishimwe, the founder and Managing Director of Rwanda Inspiration Backup, the company that organises Miss Rwanda pageant, said that he was impressed by the contestants’ recent performance during the auditions, but encouraged them to do even better in the next rounds.
“This year’s contest produced ambitious candidates who pitched very exciting projects. The girls are confident and ready to present their projects to the judges and the public. We’re proud that the competition is growing and improving,” Ishimwe said, during a news conference in Kigali on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, one of the contestants, Naomie Nishimwe, a 19-year-old contestant representing Kigali City, has come at the centre of debate on social media, with many putting her among the favourites after she appeared in a recent ConnectRwanda promotional video advert—a campaign that was initiated by MTN Rwanda, one of the sponsors of the beauty contest.
Ishimwe, however, has refuted the allegations, claiming that all contestants stand equal chance to win the title, because Miss Rwanda contest is all about beauty, brains and culture, and not based on sentiments or favour. The pageant is also aimed at empowering Rwandan girls and giving them an equal platform to give back to society.
The top 20 contestants will head to the boot camp slated for February 9. Meghan Nimwiza will crown her successor at the glitzy grand finale slated for February 22.
The winner will walk away with a brand-new Suzuki Swift, courtesy of Rwanda Motors, a monthly salary of Rwf800,000 from Africa Improved Foods (AIF), and additional bonus and goodies from Miss Rwanda’s partners.
The sponsors will also support the crown winner in implementing her project throughout the period of one year.
Among the prizes, the first runner-up will walk away with Rwf1,200,000 to be given by Multi Design Group, which will also provide a free air ticket to Miss Rwanda to spend her post-contest vacation in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Miss Popularity will walk away with Rwf1,500,000, courtesy of MTN Rwanda. She will also become the telecom’s brand ambassador for year’s Yolo campaign.