26-year-old medical scientist Pamela Uba has been crowned the winner of Miss Ireland 2021. Making her the first black woman to do so since the pageant began over 70 years ago.
Uba is a part-time model who has worked on the frontlines during the pandemic. She first came to Ireland as an asylum seeker fromJohannesburg, inSouth Africa, at the age of seven.
The historic ceremony took place on Sunday in Cavan. (Cavan is the county town of County Cavan in Ireland. The town lies in Ulster, near the border with County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland).
Uba said of the win “It means so much to me […]I am so grateful I can show girls that color is not something that holds you back and it doesn’t matter where you come from, the world is your oyster.” She also added that her mum “was in absolute tears” when the family learned that she had won.
The win is only the beginning.
This coming December Uba will jet off to Puerto Rico to represent Ireland at the 70th annualMiss Worldfestival. She stated that she“can’t even describe how excited I am to represent my country on such a huge platform. I can’t wait.”
Amongst the excitement, Uba also reflected on the fact that there is still more work to be done when it comes to diversity in Ireland. When she was crowned Miss Galway a few days before the first lockdown, in March 2020 many people online made it clear that they did not see her as Irish, but as an outsider. “I’ve experienced racism, and it’s horrible to hear people telling me to go back to my country when I’ve worked so hard to make Ireland my home,” she says. She hopes that the win and her visibility will help push acceptance of diversity in the country.