For some women, their beauty slaps you on the face while for others, it takes a little bit of introspection for you to appreciate. Linda Gautama is one whose beauty is both extrinsic and intrinsic.
She’s a young Kenyan student in the United States who is flourishing while still flying our flag high. She auditioned for the Miss African-American beauty pageant back in 2017 and guess what, she was the 1st Runner’s Up. It then gets better because apart from that, she also got the title of ‘People’s Princess’.
We had a chat with the Kenyan princess to talk about the pageantry, her work and what she does to take her mind off things. Don’t worry about January blues Spreadzone Millennials, she’s got you sorted.
Where are you studying and which course are you pursuing?
I’m currently an undergraduate student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and I am currently pursuing an International Economics degree. While at UNLV I was also president of the African Student Association organization on campus, where I was to showcase African culture and traditions through events, such as the Africa Unleashed Fashion Show. I also started a new event on the campus called “ASA Week”.
Was this your first time taking part in a pageant and what motivated you to do it?
Yes, this most definitely was my first time taking part in a pageant. A friend of mine contacted me about it, saying that they need help during auditions and if I am interested I can audition as well. I was initially only going to help out with auditions, but something told me that I should just audition and see what happens. The platform aspect of it is what really motivated me, creating that would beneficial to others in my home country.
You were representing Kenya, basically the whole country, how was that like for you?
It still hasn’t settled in that I represented a whole country. Kenya has many different tribes with their own customs and traditions. It was a challenge for me trying to represent a country of such diversity; trying not overrepresent on a side and underrepresent the other. At the end, I was able to make it work!
What was the most exciting thing about the pageant to you?
Starting a campaign that I am passionate about! That’s the main reason I went through with the pageant in the first place. I’ve always wanted to help the underprivileged in Kenya and be some type of advocate for young girls/children.
You have also partnered with the African Girl Foundation, tell us more about that:
My platform is “Advocating a young Kenyan girl’s education by providing them with sanitary napkins.” I knew I wanted to partner with a charity in Kenya with a common vision. I did my research and found African Girl Foundation; I told them who I am and what I am doing. Together with the founder Rajeev Sharma, we came up with our goal of providing 400 girls in Nakuru with sanitary kits for a whole year. I am now their ambassador and with the help of my family, friends, and the community we raised enough money to provide 200 girls with sanitary kits.
You came 1st Runner’s Up and was voted People’s Princess. What do you plan on doing with the title?
Whatever the outcome of the pageant was going to be I said I would continue to advocate for young girls and being more involved in my community. During the pageant I volunteered as a coach for a mentoring program for elementary/middle school girl called, Girls on the Run and I am planning on making it continuous. I’ll also be continuing with my sanitary kit campaign and raising awareness about it through my social media.
What do you do to unwind after a long day?
Sleep and listen to music. Taking a nap is the best way for me to reenergize myself; I actually, can nap anywhere too. Listening to Swahili music, (my current favourite artist being Otile Brown), is a way for to escape, focus, and relax.
Who or what gives you inspiration every time things get tough?
The people around me and God. I have such amazing friends and family. Having people around me that believe in my vision and my potential is the best encourager to keep pushing forward. I look inward for inspiration as well. My mantra is “Disappointments are God’s way of saying I’ve got something better” this quote and having faith in God keeps me going.
What is your ultimate goal in life?
To reach my full potential and fulfil God’s purpose for me; all while just enjoying life!