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Going back to her roots

BRAINS AND BEAUTY: Miss Ghana UK Mildred Edoukou says she’s keen to connect with her heritage

THIS year, the Miss Ghana UK beauty pageant will be celebrating its 20th anniversary. The current queen Mildred Akuba Mamikyi Afoh Edoukou is not yet 20, but she says her life has dramatically changed since she won the crown last year.

After becoming Miss Ghana UK, it didn’t take the London-born beauty long to realise that although she represented Ghana, she did not have a strong link to her heritage.

“I was born and raised in London, so I was a distant from my culture, in terms of not being able to speak the language and not knowing the rules and regulations back home in Ghana,” explained the 19-year-old.

“Over the last year, I have been really passionate about trying to learn the language, so I can speak it when I go to Ghana.”

Charity work is often a required part of any beauty queen’s role, but Edoukou has made it her personal mission to re-educate young British Ghanaians and teach them about their culture and history.

“I am launching an initiative aimed at reconnecting British Ghanaian young people with their heritage; the ones who were born here, cannot speak a Ghanaian language and know nothing about the country or the culture back home in Ghana.

“I want to pass on the knowledge because when our parents are gone, there will be no one else to teach the younger generation but us.”

Still studying for her BA in Interior Architecture at Bedfordshire University, Edoukou admits that her focus remains on her education and not the glamorous world of beauty pageants.

“Miss Ghana UK 2011 was my first pageant. I haven’t done any others since, and I’m not sure I will do more after university. For now, it’s about concentrating on my studies.”

But for the aspiring beauty queen hopefuls, Edoukou did offer a variety of tips on how to walk away with the crown and the coveted title of Miss Ghana UK.
“Be genuine because everyone can see who is genuine and who’s not. It’s about elegance, intelligence and being humble, so when you are thinking of taking part in a pageant, go into it with your head screwed on.

“I would recommend it for someone who is willing to learn and grow. You must be able to take criticism. Don’t get offended if someone tells you that you don’t know how to walk properly. Be open minded.”

Miss Ghana UK was held at the Troxy, 490 Commercial Road, London E1 on September 22. For more information visit www.themissghanauk.com

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