At 23, Finali Galaiya is the new Miss World Kenya. A former Miss India Kenya and KTN television presenter, the beauty who was discovered by Pulse Magazine in 2016, won the coveted crown on Saturday; she opens up in this exclusive, about her modelling career.
Pulse: You are quite the fashionista. Who designed your outfits on the day of the pageant?
Finali: Thank you. Let’s just say it was a family affair. My evening gown was designed by my uncle while my mother helped me pick out a dress to wear for the African wear category; one in which I wore a basket on my head to act as a cap (laughs).
We were looking for outfits that were authentic and creative to wear to the pageant.
P: The dance too. Was it a family affair as well?
F: (Giggles) No, that was actually thanks to my friends who helped me mix up songs together. They were also my choreographers and I am so thankful for all the effort they put in.
P: How well would you describe yourself?
F: As of six days ago, I am officially Kenya. I am no longer Finali, I now have a duty to represent my country at the Miss World finals and I hope to make them proud in every way possible.
Being Miss World Kenya comes with a crown whose weight reminds you of all the responsibilities ahead of you.
P: You were very confident during the pageant. Do you think that is one of the reasons why you won the most coveted title in beauty?
F: I have always been told by judges from previous competitions that I won thanks to the question-and-answer segment.
I haven’t had the chance to interact with the judges from this pageant but I do believe that there is a reason why they chose me and I respect that. Confidence was a must-have. When coming on stage, I put my best foot forward but I remember my legs would start shaking the minute I went backstage.
P: Judges from the previous competition?
F: Yes. In 2016, I won both the Miss Attitude East Africa and Miss India Kenya pageant. The Miss Attitude pageant is all about one’s confidence as well as whether one has the ability to make a difference in the community.
They all commended how well I handled the questions in the two pageants and emphasised that that was what contributed to my win.
P: So it is okay to say that 2016 was your year?
F: I can definitely say that. I however always say that my biggest break was in March 2016 when I first appeared as a cover girl for Pulse Magazine (this precise one). The wins in both beauty pageants came later.
In December of the same year, I interviewed for KTN where I got a job as a television presenter for Life & Style but left sometime last year to concentrate mostly on the pageant as well as school.
P: Still in school?
F: I am through with school. I was pursuing a degree in International Chattered Accounting. I only have one exam to go, which I have the pleasure to decide when I’ll actually do it.
P: Your ‘Beauty with a Purpose’ project is quite involving…
F: It sure is. Widow-cleansing is an emerging issue in our society today. I want to create lots and lots of awareness about it and hope that everyone who is reading this will spread the message to at least five more people.
It is basically all about creating awareness on the dangers involved in engaging in the practice, the key one being the spread of HIV and Aids.
P: Why this particular project?
F: It is not something new to me as I started working on it two years ago. I work with Sowo - Safeguard Orphans and Widows Organisation - which is patronised by Mama Sarah Obama.
Through this, I have been able to help at least a few people who have been affected by this and I also got a chance to meet former US president Barrack Obama earlier this year. My goal is to spread the message globally especially during the pageant in China.
P: Your two predecessors have been continental winners twice. Can we now start hoping for a Miss World title from you?
F: I do feel the pressure. What Evelyn Njambi (Miss World Africa (2016) and Magline Jeruto (Miss World Africa 2017) have done is commendable and I do applaud them for that. I would very much love to win the overall competition.
For that to actually happen, a lot of hard work has to be put in and I happen to be a strong believer in hard work. I will do my very best and everything else that is required for one to actually clinch that title.
I am as well excited to meet beauty queens from other countries as I am sure I will learn quite a lot from them.
P: You’re the first Kenyan of Asian descent to win the Miss World Kenya title, something that has people talking...
F: I am well aware of that. People should learn to at least think before they talk. None of the qualifications for the pageant read that you should be of a certain skin colour or race to actually win.
I am a Kenyan, born and raised. That should actually not be an issue as far as choosing the winners is concerned.
I do believe in the judges and I am happy that they chose me as a winner of a pageant that has been my lifelong dream.
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