Meet Our First Runner Up from Canada’s Miss Beauty of Africa 2016 Pageant! This elegant and intelligent young lady represented Ethiopia with so much grace and confidence at our Gala last year! We just had to sit for an interview with her so that everyone can get a chance to know more about her drive and ambition!
Read all about our 1st Runner up Beth Legese below! See you at our Second Annual Black Tie Beauty of Africa Gala 2017 in Calgary on June 10th!
Beth! Tells us a little bit about yourself. What are your goals and interests?
My name is Beth Legese, I am 20 years old and I am in the second year of my bachelor at the University
of Calgary. I am originally from Ethiopia, although I also grew up in Kenya, but I have been in Canada
for over 10 years now. My interests are strikingly broad, mostly because I often like things as they come
to me more than I actually seek for things to like. However, a consist interest of mine has always been
cultures, more specifically, East Asian cultures, which is reflected in one of my two majors of Law and
Chinese. My professional goal is to be a family lawyer, mostly working in advocacy for disadvantaged
members of society, such as senior citizens who are vulnerable to abuse but are often overlooked. I also
want to extend my work into parts of Africa where senior living accommodations are not even a
conversation. My personal goals include, helping my father expand his church and for me to get married
and have a large family, just to keep me busy and not self-indulgent.
2. What advice would you give to any African Girls who would like to participate in Canada’s Miss
Beauty of Africa but feel “not good enough”?
I feel very strongly about the notation of not being good enough, but I will try to be concise. Judging
from the uniquely diverse group of ladies in last year’s pageant, I can assure you that there is no set
preferences over who should be in the pageant. So how could you not be good enough for an expectation
that is not even there? But I also understand that the issue of confidence is much more complex than
that. I think scrutinizing ourselves and comparing, serves to a degree as motivation, so I am not
completely against that. However, just understand that the person you think you should be like, is also
still working on themselves. You don’t just arrive in a place where you are happy and accomplished, or
else everyone would be at this state. It is hard and it is something you work at consistently. I think self-
love is the ultimate way to reach confidence, and I don’t think putting yourself down is the way to reach
it, so give yourself credit for the big and little milestones! No one ever knows what they are doing until
they get experience in it, so fake it till you make it, girl!
3. What challenges have you come across in life (if any) and how have you overcome them?
I continue to face challenges every day because life is unforgiving, but ultimately I am grateful for them
because, these situations make you unbreakable. Some of the more outstanding challenges I have faced
were because I was an immigrant, who did not speak a word of English. When I started school, teachers
could not fathom what it meant not to understand a word of English. Although people say they don’t
speak English when they come to Canada, they know enough to get around. Because I was from the only
country in Africa that was never colonized, I truly did not speak English and this led me to being placed
in special needs classes for almost three years. This caused me depression and took a toll on my self-
esteem because I had left my country thinking I was smart and competent. This also affected my parents
outlook on our possible future and the hopes they had when they left their wonderful life in my home
country, to get us a better education here. But I worked tirelessly, reading novels every week and
memorizing dictionary, thesaurus and encyclopedias. By the 9 th grade, I had the highest English mark
and I was my class’s valedictorian. My mother’s tears were rewarding, but it was even more rewarding
because it showed me that I had every ounce of power to change my circumstances and it also taught me
to love the growing process. No one could understand that level of feeling hopeless, so I had to keep to
myself and that taught me to love my own company and establish my personality. So going forward, I
never lived for friends and my confidence was never wavered. Satisfied with my accomplishment of
being proficient in English, I also went on to study French, Japanese and now mandarin Chinese.
4. What are you passionate about and what can people do to help you?
I am passionate about helping people become their best selves. I find this more satisfying then giving to
charity or immediately solving issues, like what most people might find satisfying. Instead of giving to
charity for example, I prefer to help someone find a job and then help them move up in position at that
job. Instead of solving someone’s problem, I would rather help them analysis. I really look up to self-
made individuals because I think the satisfaction and growth can only be found in the process, not the
result. Life is inconsistent and whether that is bad or good, that is not up to me to decide, but instead just
accept. So I choose to enjoy the process despite what maybe the results. That being said, I want to
inspire and drive African youths to accomplish new measures of success. I want youth who work to
master multiple languages, youth so distinguished that companies bid for, youth who make their
ancestors proud and youth who know their worth enough to know they deserve better. People can help me by
being role models for the youth in their communities and offering their skills to mentor them. It is
a simple but crucial responsibility.
5. Are there any Africans in Canada you admire and why?
Not in the international sense, because unfortunately, aside from the entrainment industry, I don’t see
any prominent Africans in other fields in Canada. Jean Michelle, the former governor general, who was
from Haiti and not Africa, was the closest thing to a black women I admired. Not only in her personal
life of philanthropist work, but also in her political and professional accomplishments. Who would have
thought a black woman would rank higher than a white male prime minister, but that’s the type of
milestones I hope to reach. There are also many African women in my community who are moms,
lawyers, real estate agents and many undiscovered fields, and I admire them for the new paths they work
to pave so that it is easier for the next generation. Of course, Bongie, creator of the pageant, is a huge
inspiration, as far as creativity, having a vision and taking a chance. I admire her tenacity, her
consistency, work ethics and her respect for the process. I aspire to be such an independently driven
6. What’s next for you after winning last year’s pageant?
The pageant did things for me that I could not even fathom were a possible gain from it. It encouraged
me to explore my skills in public speaking and I was approached by many other pageants that I have put
aside for the time being. It gave me confidence to realize my worth and I quite my dead end job and
managed to get into a thriving professional field while going to school. Going forward, I hope to
continue to be more blunt with my dreams and fulfil my pageant campaign promises of delivering youth
who are high achieving. This title has already gained me recognition in my community and I want to use
that to bring attention to my NGO in Ethiopia, which is still in the works. I also hope to help grow this
pageant so that other girls get to feel how I felt on that stage the day I won.
Have a few Questions for Beth? Please comment below!