17 June 2017

Zimbabwe: Meet New Miss Teen Zim

Photo: The Herald
Melisa Chimbodza

Last week Melisa Chimbodza was crowned Miss Teen Zimbabwe. She loved the experience before the pageant. She was surprised when she won. She is ready to represent the country at the international pageant.

Below, she shares her story:

My name is Melisa Chimbodza; I'm 19 years old and the third born in a family of five girls, soon to become a student of International Hotel and Tourism Management at International Management Institute in Switzerland. I'm going to take you through a journey of how I came to being crowned the prestigious title of Miss Teen Zimbabwe 2017.

I found out about the Miss Teen auditions through a flier that someone sent to me. I'm am not signed to any modelling agency. The audition day eventually came and of course I was very nervous as I stood in front of the three judges as if I was on IDOLS waiting to see if I got three yes's or not.

Some people would say that it was at that moment that I should have at least figured I had a good chance but truth be told the nerves where too fresh for such thoughts. The grooming classes eventually started being taken by the pageant director and I must say those came with not only painful feet by the end of the two-hour session but along with so much laughs and acted as a bonding time for all the girls, that was when the wonderful friendships became to develop.

Throughout the grooming lessons we were taught on how to do proper walks, have positive attitudes, deportment, presentation skills, personal branding along with business and finances management. Camp, wow that was an experience to remember, and if we thought that we knew each other before, camp certainly gave us a run for our money. We were host by Lelethu Guest House, and the venue itself was nothing short of amazing, I definitely would go back just for the fun of it.

Camp gave us an opportunity to discuss about the theme of the pageant "Together as girls fighting against child marriages". At some point it didn't feel like camp but more like a giant sleepover, just with 6am jogs and heels to 23:00. The day came when we went to go try on our evening dresses by Maison de Rouge and you could feel that this was honestly the moment everyone had been waiting for. As we stood side by side to wear our custom made dresses, the nerves were at about at 4 out if 10

The day of the pageant finally arrived and as I woke up I remember thinking of the days I used to say "the pageant is in a few weeks time" and now finally the time has arrived. Breakfast didn't even go well but the main concern was my unfinished speech .As we arrived at the venue (Royal Harare Golf Club) for pre-show show rehearsals, it honestly hadn't yet sunk in for me at this point so the nerves were about 6 out of 10. It was at rehearsals that we met the girls from Marlborough High School and we all instantly connected as if we were long time sisters.

Rehearsals were done and it was time to go back to Lelethu guest house to freshen up and get ready for the main event. I remember running around to help other girls with their make-up whilst my face still looked like I had just woken up. Of course we were all in a rush because everything was left for last minute. We had our last supper at Lelethu and off we went back to the venue.

The event started "Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the Miss Teen Zimbabwe pageant 2017" said the MC, OK now my nerves are at 8 out of 10. The time came for us to perform our opening dance number, the moment I stood out nerves shot up 20 out of 10.

I remember being told during rehearsals that the opening number was when the judges saw who their queen was; I'm still confused because I knew for a fact that I was probably like 2 counts behind in the choreography. After the opening number came time for speeches, oh great. I was nervous than ever, I remember accepting the mic from the MC and the rest about that speech is blur, the nerves went and the words just flowed, as soon as I said thank you after my speech, my heart began to beat again.

Now for my favourite part, evening wear, the time for me to show off my beautiful dress and take my utmost time on that runway, and of course with the crowd cheering me on, I had to do a fancy final twirl on the runway just to make sure they properly saw me lol.

"Now please don't be fooled because the amount of chaos that was happening backstage was as chaotic as it could get, jewelry, make-up, hair pins and sashes were flying everywhere. Question and answer time came and let me tell you now those smiles you see on stage hide the terrified souls, my question was "Who do I see as my role model and why" which honestly was a much better question compared to the practice ones I had in my mind.

"After my final walk I stood backstage thinking they was nothing more I could earthly do, I had done my part and now it was up to the judges. Crowning time now, I think my heart had already beaten so hard and fast during this pageant that it could beat no more, not to say I wasn't nervous because I sure as hell was.

"And your Miss Teen Zimbabwe 2017 is . . . Long Pause) . . . Contestant number 5" I almost forgot what number I was, then it clicked, that's me, my life had changed completely that moment. Lots of pictures, hugs and kisses, handshakes and a tear or two all I could think about was a good night's sleep, I was mentally and physically exhausted.

Well, in a few weeks I'm off to represent Zimbabwe at the Miss Teen Continents Pageants in Las Vegas, Nevada, America, and it's going to be such an amazing experience and I plan on doing my best to bring the crown home.


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