It was yet another record audition as the City of Kigali on Saturday registered the highest number of representatives in Miss Rwanda 2020 auditions concluded last weekend at Hiltop Hotel.
The record also means the City of Kigali claims the highest number of representatives since Rwanda Inspiration Backup took over the beauty competition in 2014.
A total of 134 girls registered for the beauty contest auditions. However, 45 contestants showed up for screening and 31 qualified to face to compete after fulfilling height and weight requirements.
The auditions, which kicked off at around 3pm, saw contestants face a panel of judges made up by Miss Rwanda 2016 Jolly Mutesi, media personality Evelyne Umurerwa and Jean Pierre Higiro, a medical doctor, serving as a general practitioner at Nyamata Hospital.
Higiro has a long history in beauty pageants, having organised Miss Campus at former National University of Rwanda back in 2005. He was the pioneering organiser of beauty pageants in the country after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
On the panel, he replaced Mike Karangwa who was part of the jury through the previous four auditions, who reportedly wasn’t feeling well.
The tightly contested Q&A session saw a record 20 contestants get PASS to go through to the next rounds of the beauty contest.
They include Ella Deneave Utamuriza, Blandine Murerwa, Benitha Marebe, Chanice Mutegwantebe, Rose Mary Umulisa, Nadege Rurangirwa Kamikazi, Alliance Irasubiza, Evelyne Gaju, Divine Ishimwe, Josephine Mpinga, Prime Rose Tuza.
Others were Maureen Teta, Denyse Mutesi, Naomie Nishimwe, Meryse Ishimwe, Gaudence Ingabire, Celia Kamikazi, Marlene Uwimpaye, Brune Rutaremara Kirezi and Ange Aline Umumararungu.
Umumararungu is a senior six graduate in construction. She is a waitress at a restaurant in Kigali.
However, she told The New Times that working in a restaurant does not make her nervous to participate in a beauty contest of Miss Rwanda’s calibre as long as she has got whatever it takes to fight for the crown.
She said, “I love my job and I respect it and competing for Miss Rwanda won’t mean that I will immediately leave it because I am proud of it. I will keep doing it and continue to serve clients at our restaurant unless the competition makes me too busy to continue my job,” said Umumararungu whose project seeks to encourage Rwandans to embrace cashless economy.
Perhaps worth mentioning is the entry of Nishimwe, who has made a name as one of the four girls who do music videos on Instagram, singing and dancing to popular songs and they tend to go viral. Her participation has triggered a social media storm with many putting her among the favourites.
The national auditions sees a total of 54 contestants selected from across the country and qualified for the pre-selections slated for February 1 at PSF Expo Ground, Gikondo.
The top 20 contestants will head to the boot camp slated for February 9. Out of the 20, 10 will proceed to participate in the grand finale slated for February 22.
The winner will walk away with a brand-new Suzuki Swift, courtesy of Rwanda Motor, a monthly salary of Rwf800, 000 from Africa Improved Food (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.
Notably, sponsors showed commitment to recognise the first and second runners-up of Miss Rwanda as well the Miss Popularity.
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 next year’s Yolo campaign.
Ange Aline Umumararungu.
Brune Kirezi Rutaremara.
Nadine Kamikazi Rurangirwa.
Miss Rwanda 2016 Jolly Mutesi was among the judges at the Kigali auditions. / Courtesy
A contestant performs a Rwandan traditional dance. / Courtesy
Ange Umumararungu receives a YES from judges. / Courtesy
Judges Jean-Pierre Higiro and Evelyn Umurerwa. / Courtesy
The contestants say goodbyes to each other. / CourtesyFollow https://twitter.com/@Eddie_250