Full Woman

Phenomenal :Beauty queens who inspire

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Jacqueline Matovu. 

By Enock K.Kimbowa

Posted  Saturday, December 7   2013 at  02:00

In Summary

SHINING IN THE DIASPORA. Former beauty queen Jacqueline Matovu has set her sights on helping pageant contestants find their inner worth.


When Jacqueline Matovu got her double BEFFTA (British Entertainment Film, Fashion and Entertainment Awards) nomination for the 3rd year running for Best Beauty Pageant Director and Best Beauty Pageant for Miss Uganda UK early this year, one former Miss Uganda UK contestant described her as someone who instils culture and inner beauty, turning young girls into young ladies; “This is more than a woman. This is more than a manager. This is my Queen Mother. This woman is inspiration, a support system and guidance. Not just for me, but for many females.”

At just 30 years old, these are more than just compliments. It is testimony towards the work of someone who has changed the face of beauty pageantry from the stereo typical ensemble of crown-hungry bimbos to an event of transformed self-respecting young ladies, within the Ugandan community in UK where there was little regard for beauty queens due to the poor organisation of the event and running of the franchise.

The Miss Uganda UK pageant was revived after five years when Maria Namiiro was crowned Miss Uganda UK and, later, Miss Uganda. Until then, Jacqueline Matovu had been holding the crown between 2004 and 2009. Over the last three years, Matovu has managed to fill up Stratford Town Hall and York Hall in Bethnal Green for the grand finale of the pageant as 12 girls contested for the crown every year.

Her very own profile has also been catapulted in the process. Now, she admits, when she needs something, people do listen to her as a result of what she has managed to achieve. But what is it that has made the difference in a playing field where one would think the beauty of the girls is the only thing that matters?

“As an event organiser, having been a beauty queen myself, I put the girls first. The desire to change the girls’ lives is what drives me. When most of the girls register for the contest, they do not know how to carry themselves in public. They lack self-confidence. I then get them to focus on their personal lives away from boys and parties so that they can think about what they can do for themselves as individuals,” explains the mother of one.

The question then is how did she acquire the knowledge that she passes on to the young beautiful hopefuls?
“I share what I learnt over the years when I was in the same position as them (contestants). I also research a lot. I watch other events especially American pageants to learn what is expected of these girls.”

So while rehearsing for the event, Jacqueline takes the girls through personal development training during which they get to learn how to speak and present themselves in public, qualities that she believes, every girl should have. “Although one girl takes the crown, every contestant leaves with the same knowledge,” she adds.

A self-confessed tomboy herself during her university days, she is now the complete opposite having switched hooded jumpers and jogging bottoms for high heels and frocks. The change did not necessarily come with the crown, “it brought me a few opportunities, but the biggest change came long after”. This included a TV hosting opportunity for a game show that was shot from a studio in London and aired on WBS TV, which turned out to be the beginning of many opportunities in front of the camera.

She is now a co-host of Uganda Vision; a TV program that airs on BEN TV channel on Sky TV. She has also become a household name for event hosting within the Ugandan community in UK. ”I love the hosting, the camera, the stage. It is something I would love to do a lot more of.”

Despite being a graduate in Business and IT, it looks like Matovu’s calling is in a totally different direction. She started running Miss Afro-Caribbean Society from her undergraduate days at Southampton University, before taking over Miss Uganda.

She is now also the organiser of Miss Caribbean and Commonwealth in UK. So what is the driving force behind someone choosing to build a career in pageantry? “I guess I just love the glamour, the glitz, the stage, the lights, the rehearsals. Everything really about it. But best of all, I get to change these girls’ lives for the better.”

Fact file
Where she was born
In Kampala, and she lived in Namasuba
Schools she went to
Twin Age (nursery), Buganda Road Primary School and Stella Maris Nsuube Nkokonjeru
Titles she has won
Miss Uganda UK 2004, Miss Commonwealth Int. Africa 2004, Miss Makaika UK 2007.
Role model
Her dad, being a single parent to her and her brother since she was 3.
What she missed most about Uganda
What she loves most about UK
Open opportunities
Philosophy of life
Live life to the fullest as if each day is your last (stress free). Looking good everyday is my hobby and having a magnetic personality.