She is always in the media, so cameras don’t intimidate her, neither does all the media attention she gets. She has been called beautiful and sexy, time and again, yet this woman doesn’t seem to think she is all that. Meet Angela Newman Kavulu or Crystal Newman as many know her. I learn that Crystal is her radio name and that she prefers to describe herself as attractive, confident and strong rather than sound vain calling herself beautiful.
I am peppering her with questions about herself, about her recent unveiling as Mrs Uganda 2011, the flurry of media attention and her future as the second Ugandan woman to vie for the Mrs World title. Crystal was the strongest contender out of a umber of married women who responded to Halima Namakula’s call for participation on Facebook.
“The two weeks since I was contacted have been a whirlwind, running up and down to get the unveiling event organised and to make sure everything is in order,” she says. By everything, she means the travel arrangements, taking time off work, and making sure her two children and husband are okay before she leaves for the 10day pageant on December 5th in Florida USA.
“My husband is very supportive,” she says as if she knew that was coming. I was just preparing to ask how Mr Kavulu is coping with her new beauty queen title and all the attention that comes with it. “He has began teasing me about it and my elder daughter is very excited. I explained it to her and now she thinks I am the coolest mom in the world.” she says. I wonder if her husband knows there is a swimsuit category in the Mrs. World contest and she laughs. He does, she says but since the pageant allows the women to tie a sarong around their waists and hips, he is not too worried. “This contest is for married women and makes sure it accords them all the respect and dignity they deserve,” she says. Before the unveiling only a handful of close friends and family knew, now everyone including in-laws and acquaintances know.
It’s just lucky that anyone close to her is used to her being in the media all the time and thus the attention of her new title doesn’t bother them. Few people had heard of Mrs World, the married women’s answer to the several ‘miss’ pageants world over, before Halima Namakula Kiwanuka represented Uganda in 2009.Crystal Newman had to go through their website and find out exactly what the pageant was about and then have long talks with Namakula before agreeing to anything. “It was all very new to me having never been in a pageant at all not to mention such a huge one. But once I got to know what Mrs World really was, I seized it as once in a lifetime opportunity.”
And indeed that’s how she sees her crowning, as an opportunity only a lucky few can dream of and a platform to inspire change. This is my way of sending a message to married women in the country that marriage does not mean the end of their feminity or the loss of beauty and appeal.” She says.
Looking at her photo on the Mrs World website, I am blown away by how glamorous she looks. Flawless complexion, a sultry pose and voluptuous curves scream classic beauty. But she is not banking on looks alone. “I plan to be myself, do my best to represent my country and most of all bring confidence to the pageant,” she says. Namakula, now the director of Mrs World Uganda, calls her an extremely intelligent woman exemplary mother and wife. “There really couldn’t be a better candidate to represent Uganda,” she says
Crystal says she is not dieting or working out any more than usual. “If anything, I have fallen out of my routine the past few days because of all the hulla balloo.I love my curves and any work out I do is to stay healthy and toned,” she says. She also intimates that she hasn’t gotten around to doing any beauty treatments yet, except for a manicure and a pedicure. “I will do a facial and maybe a scrub when all things cool off a little bit,” she says.
Is she scared of the huge catwalk stage or the competition? I want to know. “Not really”, Newman says she is very comfortable on stage thanks to all those years dancing and singing in school and her experience with emceeing. “For a minute though, I was apprehensive watching videos of past pageants. The catwalk seemed to go on and on and I wondered what I was getting myself into. But I got over it!” she says. The competition doesn’t faze her because she believes in doing her best and letting her personality shine through. “I am focusing on it being a great opportunity for now,” she adds. But what she is really looking forward to is seeing Ugandan women embrace Mrs Uganda and build it to a huge pageant.
MRS WORLD PAGEANT
The Mrs. World pageant is one of the few beauty pageant that does not conform to the 36 24 36 size specifications.Infact the contest has no real size weight or height specifications and accommodates women of all ages even up to the late forties. The official website invites everyone from young mothers to grandmothers to participate. According to Halima Namakula Kiwanuka, who represented Uganda in 2009, it is more about confidence and presentation that being a perfect size.
Started in 1985, the contest is a platform for married women from all over the world to showcase their beauty and talent and has not had an African or black winner. Halima Namakula says the contest does not discriminate against race and attributes the lack of African winners to the few African participants.
This will be Uganda’s second time to participate, as the contest skipped 2010. Angela Newman Kavulu, who will represent Uganda, was chosen through a low key selection process but according to the organisers, plans are underway to make subsequent years bigger and better.