Miss Ethiopia Zewdi Reda
I strongly believe in giving back to my community for the support they give me.
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First published: August 8, 2007
Hundreds of thousands of females compete in beauty contests around the world for cash, gifts, trophies and titles but one African queen has admitted to competing solely for the title of a humanitarian. Since being crowned Miss Ethiopia in 2001 and winning the Miss Ethiopia category at Miss Africa USA in 2007, the beautiful model and entrepreneur Zewdi Reda has used her fame and crown to benefit her people. She has benefited not only Ethiopians but all other Africans too. In the true spirit of a queen, Zewdi is helping fight against HIV/AIDS and poverty on the African continent.
In an interview with Zewdi Reda, the Ethiopian who is now based in California, USA, revealed to me what she believes are the true qualities of a queen. This is what she had to say:
Can you please tell me about yourself and your background?
I was born in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia but left Ethiopia at the age of five and lived in Sudan for six years. I then moved to the USA at the age of eleven. Right now, I reside in California. I hold a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication and speak five languages, which include Tigrinya, Amharic , Arabic, American Sign Language and of course English. Apart from being Miss Ethiopia, I recently represented Ethiopia at Miss Africa USA, held in Los Angeles.
When were you crowned Miss Ethiopia?
It was in 2001, the year of surprises and accomplishment for me.
Zewdi Reda is crowned Miss Ethiopia.
Why do you call it the year of surprises?
It was definitely not expected for me to win. During the entire competition, I admired all the other contestants on their beauty and confidence and I thought to myself that I could not stand a chance against them. Winning the title was not only prestigious, but a pleasant surprise too. To be picked from amongst several beautiful Ethiopian women to represent my motherland was at that point my biggest achievement and at the same time, it gave me a huge sense of responsibility. I now flew the Ethiopian flag not only in USA but also in the rest of the world.
What does it feel like to be an ambassador of Ethiopia?
I have had endless opportunities and being an Ethiopian ambassador means a lot to me in the sense that I get opportunities to do something positive with it. I love my country, Ethiopia. As a matter of fact, I love all of Africa. I get to make a difference in other people's lives and create awareness about the problems my country and the rest of Africa are facing. We all have to acknowledge that there are vulnerable people out there who need a helping hand especially in Africa. Some people also need a voice to speak out for them and this is where I feel I can best use my crown. I have friends from all over Africa; Kenya, Sudan, Uganda, Ghana just to name a few. Most of them share the same sentiments as I do.
What have you achieved since being crowned Miss Ethiopia?
Since I became Miss Ethiopia, I have earned my bachelor's degree in Mass Communication. In addition to that, I have become a young entrepreneur by running my own modelling agency called African Beauty. It's a modelling agency which represents people of colour and showcases their complete and utter beauty to the world. My goal is to recruit and give a chance to models of African descent in the industry. The agency also intends to work hand in hand with non-profit organizations that help children in Africa. I strongly believe in giving back to my community for the support they give me.
In your opinion, what are the qualities of a true beauty queen?
Beauty queens come in different shapes, forms and sizes but it is always the beauty within that counts. Therefore, a beauty queen must be ambitious, always striving to reach their goals, be caring, and be able to relate to people from different walks of life. She must be graceful, selfless and generous and above all hold strong family values too.
You are obviously a motivated young lady. Who inspires you, and in what way?
I have family in Ethiopia for whom I have plenty of love and respect. They inspire me to be strong and never give up on what I want to do in life. This may also sound like a cliché but of course, Oprah Winfrey inspires me the most. Whenever I see her open schools in Africa or help the sick in Ethiopia, I say to myself, "I know she is rich and she could do that since she has all the resources, but I know I can be just like her and not have to be rich to help my people! If you are humanitarian, you can always find ways of putting a smile on other people's faces without giving a penny or a dollar. I believe you only live once, so I want to live my life to the fullest but at the same time I want to share the love that I have within me with the poor children in Africa.
You are a very beautiful young woman, would you please mind sharing your beauty tips and regime with UGPulse readers?
Well, as a professional model, it is important to keep glowing, keep my skin looking flawless and my body fit and in shape. In order to maintain the above, I keep myself active as much as possible. I am always doing something. I do not diet. Instead, I eat everything in moderation. It really works. I also try to be happy at all times. Staying positive helps you stay young. So, stay active, eat healthy and stay positive.
What next for Zewdi?
Zewdi Reda is here to stay. I want people to know me as the humanitarian (I am not mother Theresa or Angelina Jolie. However, I am trying to emulate them) and that is why I will soon be travelling back to Ethiopia for the first time in 24 years so that I can carry out some charitable duties. It is my hope and dream to help bring an end to poverty.
I am also working on my 2008 calendar, which will be coming out this fall. My posters are currently on sale and for more information on where to buy a copy, please contact me at www.myspace.com/missethiopia.
Well we wish you the best.
Thank you Pauline, it's been a pleasure sharing my opinions with you and UGPulse readers.
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First published: August 8, 2007
Pauline Long, UGPulse Beauty Editor, is a Kenyan based in the UK. She is the founder and CEO of Miss East Africa UK and Pol Management (a celebrity and events management company). She is also the co-founder of Miss West Africa. Her beauty pageant Miss East Africa UK helps raise funds and create awareness for the plight of the underprivileged East African children. Pauline is also the co-founder of Big 5 charity: a charity for the African girl child.
Pauline was born into a family of fashion designers with her mum being the pioneer and her role model. She acquired the desire and eyes for style from her mother who has been in the industry for just over forty years. During her late teens whilst living in Kenya, she worked in her mother's hairdressing salon and boutique. However her writing skills started off as a hobby in 2002 when she took time off work to become a fulltime mother and look after her two children. She soon took up the challenge of writing scripts which she hopes one day may turn into blockbuster movies or television dramas.
Currently, Pauline writes for various publications including Europe's leading African newspaper -Africa News and The African Channel. She's also part of the team publishing the new Karama Umuntu magazine. As a researcher and presenter for 601TV, Pauline presented for 601tv at the Alternative London Fashion Week in March, Europe's largest bridal show in April and in the same month she had one to one interviews on behalf of 601tv with various Ugandan top musicians including Bobi Wine, Blue 3*, Chagga, Nubian, Iryn, Buchaman, comedian Amarula family. This was when they toured the UK to perform at the Fire in the city gig.
You can find out more about Pauline and her work at: