Beauty pageants has been of benefit to quite a number of people despite the backlash that it has suffered in recent times.

Miss Jennifer Amankwa , the winner of Miss Personality at Miss Ghana UK 2011 , speaks fondly of the opportunities availed to her because of her participation in a beauty pageant.

“Yes I believe it did. One of the reasons I did Miss Ghana was to connect more with the community. To find out what was happening. Through Miss Ghana, I was exposed to many events… and subsequently discovered what was going on. I even found out about places I could learn to develop my Twi language speaking skills.

Jen 4

Miss Ghana also gave me the opportunity to showcase my talent. My poem focused on being from 2 places, Ghana and the UK. I enjoyed writing and reciting it. From that I continued to write poems, stories etc. It helped me rediscover my love for writing.

I also got involved with Akwaaba Magazine writing information pieces and conducting interviews. Last week I interviewed Ghana’s very own Sarkodie which was cool!”

And the competition isn’t just about looking beautiful as portrayed by lots of people,” For me it was both a challenging and enjoyable experience.

A lot of work was involved and it was not as easy as people think. I was really taken out of my comfort zone and had to interact with many different kind of people. There were three sections (traditional (including the speech), swimwear, that was daunting! and lastly talent. Each of these sections required dedication and hard work. In the talent section I wrote and recited a poem to which another contestant danced ballet to.

It was very unique. I learnt a lot, from speech delivery, to posture, acting and even some traditional dances of Ghana. The night itself was a lot of fun and I even won Miss Personality!”

Jennifer is currently a Human Resources professional and pursuing her interests in the creative and performing arts and African literature alongside her work.

She is the brain behind the blog, #whiskmebacktothemotherland “One day I was contemplating all the things I miss about being in the motherland. The abundance of sun, the friendlier people, being outdoors, being able to wear my hair in braids one week and have it in cornrows the following week (without having to explain how that’s possible). Whenever I spoke to my friend about these things we would use the hashtag #whiskmeback. For example “It’s snowing and I’m cold” #whiskmeback “Someone at work asked me if I can sleep on a pillow with my hair in braids” #whiskmeback.

Jen 3

I had to write about it. I wanted the blog to focus on my feelings and my experiences. It was cathartic.”

On her blog, she writes on events, life experiences, opinion pieces, reviews books and also writes stories for children.

Storytelling, Jennifer, believes is a great way of spreading knowledge. She shares her perspective on Ghanaian literature herself being an author, “We have a lot of very talented writers! Ama Ata Aidoo is an inspiration to me. I recently read Changes and was sucked in throughout the novel!

During my early twenties I read a lot of Lesley Lokko’s books, bitter Chocolate being one of my favorites.

Akosua Busia’s The Seasons of Beento Blackbird is also a book I enjoyed reading. I’m proud of the more contemporary writers such as Nii Ayikwei Parkes and Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond.

Jen 1

Dorothy Koomson is a very popular author here in the UK. I do think we need more writers to come out of Ghana. I listen to a show on Citi FM every Sunday called The writers’ Project Ghana. It’s an hour long programme that showcases authors mostly from Ghana. I enjoy it a lot and it shows a lot of hope for the future of Ghanaian writers.”

She also writes for Akwaaba Magazine, sharing with her readers the great stories behind Ghanaian brands and also covering events for the publication.

Jennifer has a degree in English and a Masters in Human Resources Management.

By Gameli Hamelo/

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