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November 9, 2007

Beauty and Her Purpose: Miss Ghana

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After weeks of daily calls from the judge, some research on the competition, and an inner feminist debate, Lamisi finally gave in and auditioned for Miss Ghana. She never thought she could be in a beauty pageant, but she decided, “I could either keep getting calls or just try it out.”

When the competition began 50 years ago in 1957, the Miss Ghana pageant honored young women of grace, beauty, and talent. The winner received a cash prize, car, clothing, and a chance to compete in the Miss World pageant. In the last decade the pageant has placed more emphasis on the social work campaigns, or platforms, the contestants choose. During Miss Ghana’s yearlong reign, she must devote herself to her chosen campaign. When contestants compete in the Miss World pageant, they are judged on an international level.

Last year, Miss Ghana auditions were held on Good Friday at the Labadi Beach Hotel, so she arrived in a traditional dress that many women wear to church. “I wasn’t even wearing any makeup,” she said. To her surprise all of the other girls dressed in modern fashions influenced by Europe and America. “I almost walked out as soon as I got there,” said Lamisi. Everyone was in miniskirts, belly-baring tops, or blouses that showed off cleavage. But they were all questioned about their attire. “If she wore a miniskirt, they asked if she thought she had nice legs,” said Lamisi. When the judges asked Lamisi why she was dressed in traditional attire, she replied, “I thought Miss Ghana should represent her country.” And soon enough, she did. Lamisi Mbillah was crowned Miss Ghana 2006. Editor of the arts and entertainment newspaper Graphic Showbiz and veteran director of the Miss Ghana pageant, Mr. Nanabanyin Dadson recalled Lamisi’s achievements as Miss Ghana: “Last year’s Miss Ghana won a special award at Miss World. She won "Beauty with a Purpose." During her year of reign, she educated people about a disease called guinea worm.”

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