Miss Grand England, Noky Simbani’s take on the Miss Grand International final in Vietnam!
Miss Grand England, Noky Simbani, travelled to Vietnam in October for the Miss Grand International final!
Noky had an incredible three weeks exploring Vietnam with her sister queens, taking part in lots of incredible activities, exciting photoshoots, and attending VIP parties!
Here’s what Noky had to say about the Miss Grand International final!
‘It has been exactly three weeks since I arrived back in England from the Miss Grand International 2017 finals in Vietnam and I am still struggling to put the experience into words.
I began competing in pageants at the age of 15 and after failing to win my dream teen national title, I had no idea where to begin with my journey as a ‘miss’. I entered into the UK Power Pageant at the age of 20 with a passion for the advocacies of the Miss Grand, Miss International and Miss Intercontinental organisations. I hoped to gain experience on how to become the best ambassador for my country, make new friends from across the UK and most importantly, have fun!
If you have seen videos or photographs of my crowning moment, you will believe me when I say that I was beyond surprised to realise that that my six months of hard work, appearances and preparation had been enough to win me the crown.
Waking up the morning after crowning, to find instant support from pageant fans across the world was overwhelming and the start of the adventure of a lifetime.
Over the next 4 months, my family and I lived and breathed pageantry. I gained so many skills during this time from designing, planning and styling, to modelling, filming and video editing. I was so lucky to have the Pageant Girl UK team there to support me throughout and answer every last silly question I had!
One of the best parts of becoming a grand queen was instantly gaining two sisters in Miss Grand Wales and Miss Grand Scotland. I met Nadia, Miss Grand Wales with far too much excitement for 5:30 am at Birmingham International Airport, where we had an amazing reception from the Qatar Airways team. We boarded a flight to meet our sister queen Amy in Qatar, where our trio was completed, ready to take on Vietnam.
Stepping off the plane to the 30°C heat of Ho Chi Minh City, we were met with a VIP reception from the airport staff, who swiftly whisked us off to meet the press teams waiting to capture our first moments in Vietnam.
Not a moment was wasted once we arrived, we were thrown into photoshoots and filming against the dynamic backdrop of Ho Chi Minh City. Our official welcome ceremony was held at the iconic Saigon Centre in front of crowds of fans and aired live on TV across Asia, the USA and on Facebook to the rest of the world. The experience of speaking and presenting myself to the world for the first time in the competition was absolutely terrifying but beyond incredible. It was at this moment that the magnitude of the competition and its importance to its fans and the people of Vietnam really began to sink in for me.
One of the stand out activities whilst in the city was a visit we took to the Vietnam War Remnants Museum. It was instantly thought provoking, moving and emotionally challenging to experience and served as a great reminder of the importance of the competition’s ‘Stop the War and Violence’ campaign.
Leaving Ho Chi Minh city, we were treated by Vietnam Airlines to the once in a lifetime experience of a charter flight for the MGI team to the second competition location, Quang Binh Province. This was my personal favourite location of the entire competition. It was traditional, beautiful, and filled with some of the kindest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
Whilst in Quang Binh, we were taken to visit a school for disabled children, in an area which had been devastated by a typhoon just weeks before our arrival. I was extremely humbled by the reception we received from the students and their parents. The joy they experienced from sharing their time with us made saying goodbye to them one of the hardest moments of the experience for me.
These memorable experiences were made all the more special by the amazing women I shared them with. International pageants are no easy feat and Miss Grand International was no exception. From the first day to the last were early mornings, late nights and days busier than any I have ever experienced in my life. I was fortunate enough to have my best friends beside me throughout, always finding something to laugh and smile at, even at the most difficult of times. Every morning I wake up to voice messages in all their amazing accents and can’t imagine a time before they were in my life, I miss them so much!
Hearing my country’s name read out as I walked the Miss Grand International stage for the final time was one of the proudest moments of my entire life. I knew that regardless of the result, I had made of the experience, exactly what I had hoped to and more. I was about to return to England as one of the happiest and most fortunate girls on the planet!
In 7 months time my sister queens and I will be crowning our successors. You could be one of them! You do not need to resemble us in appearance or nature, or even have experience in the pageant industry. Just have a passion for making an impact on your community, and one day the world. Realise what makes you special, embrace it, and use it to show the judges why you deserve to be a role model for women across your country and the world.
Take the first step in making your international pageant dreams a reality.
Get your entry in for the UK Power Pageant, now!’
We are so so proud of Noky and everything she has achieved! If you want to follow in Noky’s footsteps, you can enter the UK Power Pageant here! Don’t miss out on the experience of a lifetime!