By Sylvester Munanjala in Lusaka, Zambia.
Conquering her fear of heights, flying and speaking in public are the three weaknesses teenage Zambian model Natasha Mapulanga 17, says she must beat to stand any chance of winning the Miss Freedom of the World beauty pageant scheduled for Prizren, Kosovo from 15-31 August 2014. She will have to fly to the destination in a plane at altitudes of up to 35.000 feet above sea level and needs to speak during the selection process that is just three months away now.
She revealed her game plan to conquer her three fears to Iroko Magazine during an interview in the capital Lusaka last week; “I joined a fitness program to keep shape, I’m working on my public speaking skills, I’m always up and about keeping my brain active, and I’m also trying to get my clothing for the competition ready.” She said
Mapulanga however has to beat 31 other contestants from countries like India, Venezuela, Mexico, Sweden, USA, Finland, etc if she wants to win the coveted trophy and that is a very tall order. The Miss Freedom of the World pageant is now in its fourth edition and getting more popular with each passing year.
Miss Mapulanga says she is proud to represent Zambia and will be up to the task;
“I am very happy with myself, it’s always been my dream to represent my country at international levels of modelling.” She said. “I’m very confident and will make the judges see how badly I want to win this”.
To qualify to represent Zambia, Mapulanga beat 14 other contestants to win the title of Miss Freedom-Zambia on March 21 2014, an event which was attended by South African top model Neetasha Singh who was also one of the judges.
The eventual winner in Kosovo will succeed the reigning queen, Semina Obradovic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
However, Miss Mapulanga is still struggling for part funding to pay for the trip and is appealing for well meaning companies and organizations to help her put the face of Zambia on the world map.
Companies could help with cash and material donations which she needs to also donate to less privileged youngsters across Zambia.
Mapulanga who describes herself as “beautiful and brainy” is an ambitious and determined model, singer and actress. She has a single on the market titled ‘Thankful’. She stared in a short movie directed by Richard M’simuko in 2013 and acts alongside some renowned Zambian actors including Maclean Njobvu and Bwanga Zulu in a local TV series .
She started modelling when she was 11 and won her first title “Miss Personality” at the Miss Zipas beauty pageant in 2008. She was also voted Miss Zipas 2010, and was the first runner up at Miss Teen Zambia in 2013.
Stella Sikana 18, an actress and singer of kwaito group Ma’Africa, is confident Mapulanga has what it takes to win the Kosovo beauty pageant.
“Of course she’ll be crowned as queen, I’ve believed in her from the beginning!” Sikana said. “She’s confident, determined and always gives 100 percent at pageants; I feel no one else is better suited to represent our country.”
Not everyone believes Mapulanga might emerge victorious in Kosovo. Abbie Chama 23, said Miss Mapulanga has a slim chance of being crowned queen because shw will be competing against rivals who are well groomed and schooled to win pageants and also have the necessary support base in their country which Mapulanga does not have.
Chanda Mulenga 19, also believes Mapulanga has a lot of work to do to even be among the first give winners in Kosovo.
Miss Mapulanga said her parents are her source of courage. “My mom is my role model. Just like any mother wants the best out of her child, she always coaches me even though she’s not even a model herself.” She said smiling
An unsigned model, Miss Mapulanga will travel to Kosovo accompanied by Miss Freedom-Zambia National Director, Alice Musukwa, who is also the current holder of the Miss Universe-Zambia title. The trip will be sponsored by Zambia telecommunications company Zamtel.