In an era where beauty pageants may be regarded by some as an exploitation of women's beauty, Pauline Long, a Kenyan living in the UK set out on a one woman's journey to establish Miss East Africa UK in 2006: a beauty pageant which sensitizes on issues affecting underprivileged children within Eastern Africa. When asked why she embarked on this journey, she answered, “In life you can have anything you want-if you want it badly enough. You can be anything you want to be, do anything you set out to accomplish if you hold to that desire with singleness of purpose. My desire at the time was to bring a heartfelt and worthwhile vision of working with children in poverty to reality.” The 30 year old mother of two has admitted although this is all for a good cause, there are obstacles to be overcome. In pursuing her dream of giving East African children a voice and a chance for a better future, she is certainly prepared for both obstacles and opportunities by remaining imaginatively flexible and optimistically open to fresh and unexpected ways of achieving the essence of her vision. Pauline believes, in almost every major challenge, the key to success lies in persistence. In the initial stages of setting up Miss East Africa UK, she shared her dreams with open-minded friends and loved ones who in return gave support and feedback. “When you share your vision with clarity and enthusiasm, people and events often will begin to organize around it,” she said. “Many of my friends are aware of how much HIV/AIDS has affected children's lives in Africa as a whole, let alone East Africa,” she added
Whereas we all find inspirations in different things, there's a well of inspiration deep inside Pauline and certainly what makes her light shine is putting a smile on a child's face.
While Pauline acknowledges a handout does not guarantee a route out of poverty, she urges East African leaders to prioritise the issue of child poverty and create a child benefit system. She also urges general well-wishers to do what they can to make life better for themselves and not forgetting the vulnerable. She explained, “Once in poverty, children often stay in poverty well into adult life. Therefore it becomes a vicious circle which I believe can be avoided if we all set a goal to end poverty.” Miss East Africa UK recently visited Nyumbani children's home and Rafiki children's home of Kenya in May. An experience which Pauline described as life changing for the current queen - Brenda Akot. “I am very proud of the charitable work Brenda has achieved this year, it is very important for the queen to have a good heart. She wanted to achieve this and explained that doing hands on charity work gave her more pleasure than appearing at launch parties as a VIP,” said Pauline. Brenda noted that there was genuine help needed by the orphans. Brenda will soon be travelling back to other parts of East Africa before she gives up the crown to the next queen at this year's event on 15th of September.
Pauline stressed that the pageant has done more than just raise money; it has helped many of the young East African women involved get a stepping stone into modelling or television work or given them increased confidence for their chosen profession. On the other hand organizing such a high profile event has opened a lot of doors and opportunities for Pauline. She has worked with a lot of people over the last year and is always getting approached with new projects and fresh new ideas through her event management and celebrity management company Pol Management. Among the things she was involved in are the inaugural Nigeria Next Top Model, presenting for .601TV at Alternative London Fashion Week, Fire in the City Music Extravaganza and many more.
In the beginning of the year, Pauline also teamed up with Zimbabwean Actress/TV Personality Makosi Musambasi to establish The Big 5 Africa: a charity which caters for the African girl child. Pauline adds that while some might crave and desire fame, glory and wealth her only desire is to help the poorest of the poor gain worldwide success and prominence.
Pauline is currently researching for .601TV, she also reports for various newspapers. Although Pauline hails from East Africa, in true African spirit of unity she's always ready to work on a good project regardless of its origin, it comes to no surprise that she has recently co-founded Miss West Africa with a young Ghanaian entrepreneur; Nana Tamakloe. However her biggest role at the moment is being part of the production team publishing the first ever African Magazine in Diaspora by Africans for Africans: Karama Umuntu Magazine. It is a collective effort by young Africans living in Diaspora who strive to portray African cultural heritage through hair, beauty and music. The magazine is set to hit the shops in July with 10% of the proceeds going to various African charities.
Pauline Long is always open for fresh ideas and new opportunities. If you would like to work with Pauline Long and the current queen Brenda Akot, Please visit the following websites: