Elsa Iradukunda has been crowned Miss Rwanda 2017 amidst tight competition from 15 finalists, in a colorful event held at the Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village (former Camp Kigali).
Iradukunda, a senior-six graduate from King David High School, who represented the Northern Province in the preliminaries, emerged the topmost contender for the beauty pageant, beating Guelda Shimwa to the crown.
Guelda Shimwa emerged the first runner up, followed by Linda Umutoniwase, 20. Queen Kalimpinya, 18, emerged the third runner up, while Fanique Umuhoza Isimbi, 18, emerged the fourth runner up of the contest.
On the other hand, Nadia Umutesi became Miss Photogenic, Elsa Iradukunda became Miss Congeniality, Guelda Shimwa become Miss Heritage, and Honorine Hirwa Uwase became Miss Popularity.
The new beauty queen walked back home with a brand new Suzuki Swift worth Rwf15 million, courtesy of the main sponsor Cogebanque, a local bank.
Besides, Iradukunda will be getting a monthly salary of Rwf 800,000, according to the organisers, among other perks.
For the first time in the history of Miss Rwanda pageant, all the 15 finalists were given full scholarships to pursue undergraduate degrees at Mahatma Ghandhi University.
Others who didn’t make in the top five are Pamela Mutoni, Carine Mukabagabo, Belinda Umutoniwase, Aisha Umutesi, Tracy Ford Umutoni, Laurette Mukunde, Fiona Doreen Ashimwe, and Patience Iribagiza.
This year’s Miss Rwanda contest put much emphasis on cultural tourism and renowned traditional dance troupe Inganzo Ngari, among other local artistes, were the main performers.
This year’s contest also included a talent show besides the catwalk and question-and-answer sessions. The contestants showcased different “hidden treasures” through dancing, singing and comedy.
That said, the new beauty queen definitely face a big challenge of fitting in Jolly Mutesi’s shoes. Mutesi has set the bar a little higher after becoming the first Rwandan beauty queen to take part in Miss World where she was ranked among the top 24.