Ireland’s Miss Universe: It’s about more than just outfits… the scariest part is being yourself

As she prepares to represent Ireland at Miss Universe, Kildare woman Aishah Akorede talks about being an “introverted extrovert”, how she juggles business and beauty pageants and how pageants need to support authentic modern women

The now 24-year-old Kildare beauty queen never planned to enter the pageant a second time – but she’s so glad she did.

“I didn’t start 2018 with the hope of winning. I joined in the hope of improving myself and understanding myself better, which I did,” she says Magazine+.

“It helped me find my purpose, it connected me with some of the greatest women I’m friends with to this day, and it taught me a lot about being a hard-working woman who loves life can influence a lot of people.” a lot of people, come to think of it.

“I didn’t expect to do it again, but over the years I kept watching the pageant and thinking, ‘I want to do that again.’ The biggest reservations I had were confidence and questioning whether I was worthy of representing Ireland, but I just decided to put my reservations aside and pursue my dreams.”

First launched in 1952, Miss Universe celebrates its 72nd competition this month. 90 women from around the world hope to succeed last year’s winner, American fashion designer R’Bonney Gabriel.

Miss Universe hopeful Aishah Akorede rocks her tiara

Far more than just a beauty pageant, the delegates are “forward-thinking and motivated” agents of change.

However, this principle is repeatedly violated and the organization has been frequently criticized over the years.

Miss Universe contestants are expected to dress in swimsuits for part of the event, and the pageant has been accused of maintaining unrealistic beauty standards by parading its army of slim, leggy girls (many of whom are models) to an international audience provides.

But Aishah, who has a master’s degree in international corporate governance, argues that the Miss Universe pageant is feminist at its core as contestants are also encouraged to show their passion for humanitarianism.

“The idea that pageantry does not sustain feminism and maintains unrealistic beauty standards is completely outdated.

“Miss Universe does so much to show that women are so much more than just a pretty face, how outer beauty is inner beauty made visible,” she says.

“I think pageantry these days shows the world that women aren’t just pretty to look at.

“There’s a lot more to us than just walking around in a pretty dress and getting our hair done. It’s more about what’s on the inside.”

It is worth noting that Miss Universe’s so-called “beauty standard” has evolved since the 1950s.

Nepal’s Jane Dipika Garrett has become the first plus-size woman to win her national beauty pageant and is heading to the final this year, while two transgender contestants are also vying for the title for the first time.

Aishah poses in our exclusive shoot. Photo: Wassim Nasr

“I think it is important to see what is changing now for the good of women and society.

“Let’s look at the changes that have taken place rather than condemning the beauty standard being enforced,” Aishah continues.

“Generations ago, as a black woman, I would not have been able to win Miss Universe, let alone represent Ireland. I wouldn’t have met the beauty standard back then, and that had to evolve so I could be in the world of beauty pageants.

“You do not have to meet any specific criteria to fulfill your duties as Miss Universe. I believe other beauty pageants should follow this example and I hope they do so that more women can achieve their dreams.”

Aishah is the perfect Miss Universe candidate on paper because she is a triple threat: beautiful, vivacious and smart.

The Leixlip lady is a graduate of Maynooth University and Queen’s University Belfast and works as a business consultant while modeling on the side.

She also leads the Reformed Ireland initiative, which promotes women’s empowerment and social justice. How does she do it all at once?

“It’s extremely difficult to juggle everything and it’s very overwhelming,” she admits. “You don’t really know what goes into preparing for an international competition. All people really see is you looking pretty on stage, with your hair and makeup in your beautiful dress or bikini.

“Nobody sees you preparing for the walk and making sure everything is in order, all the meticulous things that are required to make sure you are ready for the final.

“It’s difficult to plan everything around my work hours, but the cure for burnout is to take breaks where necessary, so I plan for that too.

“I actually wrote ’10 minutes of breathing deeply’ in my calendar every day, because how else would you ever be able to take a break with such a busy calendar?”

Aishah is taking part in the Miss Universe Ireland pageant

Luckily, Aishah’s family is there to hold her hand when she needs it. Her biggest cheerleaders are her mother and sister, who will be joining her in El Salvador this month. “I trust them to leave without a voice,” she jokes.

She is particularly grateful for her mother, whom she thanked in her Miss Universe Ireland victory speech for raising her and her siblings alone.

“I would say she is my biggest role model. Growing up, she showed me that women could do anything. She showed me that you can work and raise a family at the same time. She put four children through college on her own.

“You can’t tell me she’s not powerful! She is literally the essence of a woman – hardworking but the most caring person I have ever met. I strive to be like her every day.

“I am very close to my whole family: we are very family-oriented and get along very well. They play a big role in helping me juggle it all.”

As the Miss Universe finals approach, Aishah is determined to shine in her dress – even if her biggest fear is falling over in her high heels. She also suffers from social anxiety but tries not to let it get in her way.

“I would say I’m an introverted extrovert, but I don’t think that affects me on stage. When I’m on stage it’s like I’m making a performance. I was shaking the whole time backstage, but as soon as I get on stage it’s different. I can not explain.

“At Miss Universe you still have to be yourself on stage. The scariest part is the question and answer part because I still have to step back from the performance and anchor myself in the moment to answer every question that comes my way,” she explains.

“There might be a bit of a social anxiety aspect when answering questions, but at the same time I’m pretty talkative. That’s probably what saves me – I can answer any question because I love talking.”

Representing your nation on the Miss Universe stage is quite an exclusive experience, and the glory is not lost on Aishah.

“We all know that Ireland is a country of justice, a country of unity, hope and peace. Ireland is a people who care about standing up for what is right.

“For me to not only be a woman of color, but also to be a physical representation of inclusion… is an honor that I can’t even put into words.”

The 72nd Miss Universe pageant begins Saturday, November 18, in El Salvador



Nytimepost.com is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@nytimepost.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button