‘Early pageantry groom­ing key’

Lesotho Times - - Weekender - Mo­halenyane Phakela

PAGEANT or­gan­iser and judge, Li­makatso Makutle, says lo­cal beauty queens can only be com­pet­i­tive in­ter­na­tion­ally if they are groomed at an early age.

Makutle also told the Week­ender most peo­ple cho­sen as judges at lo­cal pageants were ill-equipped for the task, to the detri­ment of the de­vel­op­ment of the sec­tor.

“As lo­cal pageant or­gan­is­ers, we can pro­mote our sec­tor by groom­ing beauty queens from as early an age as four years so they can grow up learn­ing the ropes of pageantry,” she said.

“My in­ten­tion is to sit down with var­i­ous na­tional or­gan­is­ers and map out a strat­egy to make this ap­proach a re­al­ity coun­try­wide.”

Makutle has been or­gan­is­ing pageants since 2008, with her fo­cus pri­mar­ily on young ladies be­tween the ages of 18 to 25. How­ever, she re­alised in 2010 they would be too old to fully mas­ter the craft.

“It was not easy to train as­pir­ing beauty queens in that age range be­cause they won’t have the poise of some­one who was groomed in pageantry,” Makutle said.

“As a re­sult, our con­tes­tants would end up look­ing clumsy at in­ter­na­tional pageants, while those from other coun­tries would be ooz­ing with con­fi­dence be­cause of their ex­pe­ri­ence.”

She added: “As the old Se­sotho say­ing aptly notes; Thupa e ot­lol­loa e sale metsi, (it is eas­ier to straighten a fresh stick than an old one), I de­cided to start or­gan­is­ing pageants for kinder­garten­ers in 2010 so we could be at par with our com­peti­tors at in­ter­na­tional pageants.

“It is eas­ier for kids to grasp what­ever they are taught. Even though they may ini­tially be shy to per­form in front of peo­ple, they are bet­ter able to gain con­fi­dence with time.”

Among the young beauty queens Makutle has men­tored and taken to in­ter­na­tional pageants is Retha­bile Thamae (16) who re­cently par­tic­i­pated in the Miss Teen In­ter­na­tional 2016 pageant in Thailand. Thamae made it to the pageant’s top six and was also awarded a Friend­ship award. Sandra Con­calves (13) won the Lit­tle Miss Eco World in Turkey last Oc­to­ber.

Makutle has also been a judge in three in­ter­na­tional pageants, with the most re­cent be­ing in Thailand this year as well as Turkey in 2015 and 2012. She said be­ing a pageantry judge was more than just judg­ing a con­tes­tant on their out­ward ap­pear­ance.

“Most of the peo­ple who are made judges don’t have any pageantry ex­pe­ri­ence. As a re­sult, they base their as­sess­ment merely on the ap­pear­ance of the con­tes­tants and the sup­port they would re­ceive from the au­di­ence. That is a wrong ap­proach, be­cause the win­ner will then not be se­lected on merit,” said Makutle.

“One way to re­solve this chal­lenge is for pageant di­rec­tors to play the role of judges re­gard­less of who has or­gan­ised the pageant. An­other op­tion would be to make use of peo­ple who have been beauty queens in the past, es­pe­cially those with in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence as they will know and eas­ily un­der­stand the re­quire­ments.”

Retha­bile thamae (16) made it to the top six and also won a Friend­ship award at the Miss teen in­ter­na­tional 2016 in thailand.

Pageant or­gan­iser and judge li­makatso Makutle.

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