A small-town girl from Matadi Shimei Bakala-di-Bunkete a Miss Congo/SA 2016 Contestant, is a final year Disability practitioner and currently taking up a bachelor’s degree in Occupational therapy in the faculty of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University Of Cape Town. Sit down with African Crest Radio to talk about her aspirations in life.
The Miss Congo-SA beauty pageant was initiated with the objective to showcase and celebrate true Congolese beauty, both inside and outside. Furthermore the event strives to bind and bond us Africans in a very unique way, depicting our culture and traditions to the world. The pageant is open to all Congolese, Brazzaville/ Democratic Republic of Congo, girls living in South Africa.
In 2012, the first edition of the Miss Congo-SA Beauty Pageant was launched and has since rapidly gained momentum, catching the interest of many big names in the entertainment industry and sponsors. This is the 5th edition of Miss Congo-SA and we are certain that the pageant will continue to fascinate and entertain our
Below is the Interview enjoy and support her.
Who is Shimei Bakala-di-Bunkete?
I am a small-town girl from Matadi, living and studying in Cape Town for over 12 years. Final year Disability practitioner and currently taking up a bachelor’s degree in Occupational therapy in the faculty of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University Of Cape Town. As a medical Student, I have trained to perform highly in different fields such as Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Pathology and Audiology.
My dedication is what sets me apart from anybody else. When human beings experience trauma or severe injuries, it is not common for their lives to unravel. My passion is bringing healing to people who have been through health issues. As a professional, I’d focus on helping my clients to find healthy perceptions of themselves and strengthen their relationships so they can know themselves as peaceful, complete, whole and safe.
I am also a member and the founder of the NPO ‘Rise4Congo’ which focuses on building and encouraging Congolese living in South Africa in terms of Education and employment.
I am passionate about singing. I participated in the school choir, made it to the School’s ‘Idols’ top 10 and I’m part of my church band.
I am a well-rounded individual who lives with passion, dedication, and grace. Serving my community is one of my top priority. I am an outgoing people person with the ability to positively affect people from all walks of life. Most importantly, I am a God-fearing young lady.
Being a medical Student, How do you balance modeling and Studying?
Doing the tasks I was given from the pageant is quite challenging, as i have extra tasks to complete. So I work according to my schedule and work till each one is completed.It’s really simple if I manage my time well; I always focus on one thing at a time. I have 24 hours in a day so I plan out pretty well. I do modeling on weekends as for now my studies are my number one priority. Although I’ve always been involved in performing, particularly dance and theater, so modeling was a natural fit for me, as long as I enjoy it, it doesn’t interfere with my studies. My parents understand my dreams, I am very fortunate to have such supportive parents who encourage me to follow my dreams, no matter how unrealistic.
How did you get discovered?
I was involved in many cultural activities, I had the bubbliest personality among my peers and so someone approached my parents and advised them to sign me up at a casting agency. I always used to see myself as the ‘odd’ one and never thought I’d do castings or even take part in a pageant as it was too public for me, it took a whole year of convincing, but I finally agreed to give it a try. I must say, I did not put time in it because of my studies.
Are there any models in the industry you look up to?
Tyra Banks, what inspires me the most is her hard work ethics and her high self-esteem. With those two principles, Tyra Banks became one of the most influential people.
If you were to change any part of your body, what would it be and why?
Healthier body, I don’t think there’s anything else more important than being and looking healthy as it helps prevent certain health conditions (I am willing to get fit)
What’s your beauty regimen like?
To be honest, I have none. I don’t have to use multiple products on my face as those causes pimples, a face wash (using a moisturizing cleanser) is just fine but optional.
Do you have any beauty secrets?
Sprinkle baking soda on a toothbrush and gently buff your lips to remove dry flaky skin. Go ahead and share it, you’re welcome. I drink a lot of water, you know a girl’s lips should never stay dry that’s a big No No.
What’s one item in your closet you would never throw away?
My jeans, never go out of fashion. I don’t throw away clothes anyway, I give them away to someone who’d love to wear them.
If you were to win Miss Congo SA, What will be the first thing you would do and why?
I would change the thoughts and sentiments of mankind. I believe everything starts with those two principles for actions to take place.
What Challenges do you face as a Congolese young woman in South Africa and how have you overcome them?
I had many challenges as a kid but I guess I have already adapted or solved them. Challenges such as loneliness, I was the only Congolese in the area I lived. Language barriers which affected my academics resulted in falling behind. Culture shock and food, I managed to solve these by socializing more with the other kids.
Today as a student, many opportunities are preferably given to South Africans which Is quite understandable. But it is frustrating to work hard for something only to find out you’re not qualified or whatever the case might be. I’ve overcome this challenge by understanding my situation in knowing that someday things will be alright. As a Woman, I’ve been harassed by men only because I was unable to respond to their proposal in a language I couldn’t understand. I have overcome this by being friendlier and making my voice heard in a language we could all understand. The language barrier is a huge challenge but I’ve tried my very best in adapting by learning.
What is fun and rewarding about modeling?
You get the opportunity to have the kind of confidence other girls might not have .It is a fun opportunity that allows one to see the world but spiritually and intellectually there is nothing rewarding about the profession at all. I prefer pageants that makes one grow, so I don’t see myself as a model but more like an ambassador.
What do you dislike about modeling?
You have to be a certain height and be a certain weight and the media makes one believe that you have to look like a model to be considered beautiful, this has made many young girls lose their self-esteem.
What is your favorite fashion store?
Legit and Yde
What are your plans this summer?
I am planning on doing something I haven’t done before, manage my NPO project and do lots of charity work. It’s all about giving.
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