Wabaiya Kariuki, Kenya’s representative at the 2018 Miss Universe pageant, walked the runway in an outfit inspired by the Samburu ‘all-female’ village of Umoja Uaso during the national costume show at the global pageant.
The close to two hour parade of the 94 Miss Universe contestants from across the world saw Ms. Kariuki wear a long flowing black dress draped with colorful beads running down her torso and across her upper arms.
Miss Universe Kenya was also wearing a bearded crown that saw yellow bangs of beads fall across the right side of her face.
As Ms. Kariuki walked down the runway, the Miss Universe National Costume Show presenters introduced her national costume as inspired by the Umoja Uaso village in Samburu County.
“Umoja village was formed in 1990 as an all-female matriach village which is a sanctuary for homeless survivors of violence against women, and young girls running from forced marriages,” the presenters announced.
According to a Wikipedia page of the Samburu village, Umoja Uaso which is located around 380 km away from Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi, was formed by a Samburu woman Rebecca Lolosoli as a response to a culture of unequal and undignified woman insubordination in the area.
The “village without men” became a haven for homeless women running away from violence and forced marriages. It specialises in creating traditional crafts and jewellery which are then sold to tourists, most of whom visit the Samburu National Reserve.
“Miss Kenya’s costume today is a combination of different Umoja techniques that symbolise strength, togetherness and resilence as a unit of UMOJA (unity in swahili),” a post on the Miss Universe Kenya Facebook page said.
Ms. Kariuki, who has been in Thailand since November 29, is now on the final stretch of the global pageant that will see the Miss Universe crowned on December 17.
Kenya’s representative along with 93 other contestants has been engaged in touring Bangkok as well as taking part in filming, rehearsals and attending gala nights all as part of the preparations to compete for the Miss Universe crown.
The national costume show of the Miss Universe pageant was held in Bangkok at the on December 10th at Nongnooch Pattaya International Convention Exhibition (NICE).
The Miss Universe pageant will be held on December 17 at 3:00am Kenyan time, in a show that will be hosted by Steve Harvey and that will see the 2017 winner Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters from South Africa crown her successor.