A lady of indomitable faith is the best way to describe Maria Wavinya, Miss World Kenya 2019.
She failed to clinch the Miss Nyandarua Tourism Contest, emerging number five. Undeterred, she moved on to contest for the Miss World Kenya title, and won.
The defeat in the Nyandarua contest has not been the only challenge in her life. The beauty queen lost her mother at the age of 12 and has had to work her way up to her present title.
Now more than ever, she is determined to bring the Miss World title and crown to Kenya come December 15, 2019.
Her resolve is evident in the inspiring speech she gave during farewell party organized in her honour at Lake Olbolosatt Resort Park in Nyandarua County.
"I believe as I go to London I have the support of every Kenyan. I believe I am going to take the Miss World crown. Who says it's impossible? Who says Miss Kenya will never take the Miss World Crown?" Ms Wavinya challenged during the dinner at Lake Olbolosatt Hotel.
In an exclusive interview with the Nation, the Media and Journalism student at Mt Kenya University said her primary mission in London during the contest will be to market her mother country Kenya, and her county Nyandarua.
"Every moment is a moment for me to learn. Each time I lost in the beauty contest I knew there was something new to learn," said Ms Wavinya.
The beauty queen went to Suswa Primary School in Kinangop Constituency before joining Manunga Secondary School in Kipipiri Constituency.
After her defeat in the Nyandarua contest, she applied for Miss World Kenya contest, joined the boot camp before the national contest.
Her lowest moment she says, is when she lost her mother at the age of 12 and had to relocate from her home in Mombasa to live with her family upcountry.
Since winning the crown, she has traversed the country, a journey from which she learnt of the sad realities of young girls forced to trade sex for sanitary towels.
"Girls are forced to stay away from school during their periods. I believe that no girl should ever have to be put in such a situation. The government should zero-rate sanitary towels to make them affordable by all," she said.
These revelations have inspired her to start her Heels for Pads initiative as her project for Miss World Kenya title.
BEAUTY WITH PURPOSE
She says would like to be remembered as the Miss World Kenya that brought a smile to many less fortunate families of Kenya and the world.
She is aware that the London competition will be very tough but confirms she is ready for the 139 countries that had entered by Wednesday November 13.
Besides her efforts, she is also counting on Kenyans to vote for her to give her an extra boost in her quest for the Miss World title.
She says her participation in the contest will grant her an opportunity to sell Kenya and Kirinyaga as the ultimate tourist destinations.
Her mentor and sponsor Ashleys Kenya Limited Chief Executive Officer Ms Terry Mungai, who is also Miss World Kenya director is optimistic Wavinya will bring the crown home after this year's 69th edition of Miss World pageant.
She says Kenya has the right girl for the job and appeals to Kenyans to support her through voting.
"Since Maria went to the boot camp, she stood out. She is a hardworking girl. She is very determined. Having known her more we now know where her determination comes from. This is a sign to every young person that it doesn't matter where you come from, it's how much you put in to change your destiny," said Ms Mungai.
She says her expectations, that of the organization and Kenyans is that Maria will do Kenya proud.
In honour of Ms Wavinya, Ashleys CEO said they will open a franchise in Nyandarua.