With time ticking away and the New Coronavirus not subsiding, organisers of the Miss Rwanda beauty pageant have announced major changes which will see the 2021 auditions done virtually, while the remaining phases of the competition will be held in a bubble due to the pandemic.
The organisers of the pageant, who in December 2020 revealed details of the 2021 edition, said the decision was made to ensure that hundreds of the girls who had already registered online are given an opportunity to participate in the pageant.
“Miss Rwanda is an annual pageant that many girls want to participate in. Over the years, the contest has become popular in and outside Rwanda while the opportunities it offers have also been increasing every year,”
“Having already announced Miss Rwanda 2021 and considering the fact that prospective contestants were already registered online, we thought it was important to find ways of conducting the pageant virtually and safely in a bubble, rather than postpone it,” said Meghan Nimwiza, the Head of Communications at Miss Rwanda.
According to an update issued by the organisers, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing restrictions, Miss Rwanda organisers came up with a concrete plan and a roadmap that will ensure that the 2021 edition of Miss Rwanda is held but in the safest of ways, for both the organisers and the contestants.
“Under the new arrangement, all the five phases of the pageant will be conducted safely, with auditions and other preliminary events held virtually while pre-selection, the bootcamp and finals will be conducted in a bubble system. The public will follow all the phases via the official broadcaster and Miss Rwanda platforms,” the statement says.
“Contestants will be required to submit their videos with specific requirements, which judges will review and then based on the theme of ‘beauty, brain and culture’, select contestants who meet the criteria,” it adds.
They add that the contestants who will make it through from the auditions and the entire organising team will be subjected to a PCR COVID-19 test and then put in a bubble where all the next phases will be held till the grand finale.
“This plan has been vetted and agreed upon by all parties and sponsors after lengthy consultations. All the phases will be communicated and the public will follow all the developments on Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA), the official media broadcaster and other media platforms,”
“Most activities across the world have had to adjust to the new normal of doing things in the wake of the pandemic and so has Miss Rwanda. All avenues have been explored to ensure that the 2021 edition is successfully held virtually and safely in a bubble, as most events worldwide,” Nimwiza added.
The organisers said online registration is currently ongoing and will close on February 8, 2021, adding that the decision to continue with the organisation was arrived upon after an assessment which was done, showed that Miss Rwanda can be organised virtually.
“The decision was mainly informed by the fact that many girls had already registered and expressed interest to participate and we could not deny them the opportunity. It is our hope that the pandemic will subside soon to allow a certain level of normalcy but even if it doesn’t, life must go on,” Nimwiza added.
Under the new changes, registration will close on February 8 while virtual audition events will commence from February 9 to February 18. From February 19, the organisers will start revealing provincial representatives who will have passed the auditions.
Online and SMS voting will kick off on February 22 to determine those who will go in the top 20. Contestants will enter a bubble on March 3 while the pre-selection exercise will take place on March 6.
The top 20, who will make it to the finals, will go into the bootcamp which will start on March 6 to March 20, when the grand finale will be held. The finale will take place at Kigali Arena and will be broadcast live on RBA.
In December, Miss Rwanda organisers announced major changes in Miss Rwanda 2021, which is dubbed ‘Miss Rwanda with Impact’, following reforms in the criteria, which opened the door for more girls while prizes were also revised.
The winner of the Miss Rwanda crown and winners of different titles will receive several prizes and benefits in a bid to ensure that the pageant empowers as many girls as possible.
Among the new changes, the eligibility age was increased from 18 to 24 to 18 to 28 years, while height and weight requirements were scrapped. Contestants must be in a healthy range of Body Mass Index (BMI).
Unlike previous editions, the Miss Rwanda 2021 winner, title winners and finalists who will make it to the bootcamp will be supported in different ways, including financing their projects and best talents for the whole year.