Hawa Kamara adorns the universe with her delectable beauty

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Hawa Kamara has become an inspiration for many girls in Sierra Leone, Africa and the diaspora. The meteoric rise of the delectable and charismatic beauty queen, at the Miss Universe 2016 beauty pageant, gave prominence to Sierra Leone, by winning a spot in the competition in over 60 years. Hawa let the world see her country’s beauty through her style, eloquence and point of view. She gave Sierra Leoneans a reason to be proud and smile again, after the deadly Ebola virus attack.

Hawa’s stunning performance was documented widely on social media, garnering heaps of praise and followers. With her recent rise to the world stage including being spotlighted on CNN, the world couldn’t help but notice this bold fierce and driven woman.

Hawa Kamara wearing Illuminessence Chic Designs- Photo Credit: UzoDesmond Photography

“If I am to come back as me, with all I have learned and experienced, I wouldn’t want to change a thing, because every success, constraint or failure that I have gone through has made me stronger, wiser and more determined to face the world and own it my way”

Hawa Kamara recently indulged Illuminessence in a delightful conversation about her experience and future plans, wearing custom Illuminessence Chic Designs from the Rhophy’s Couture collection. She spoke candidly, telling it like it is and we just couldn’t get enough of her pleasant and charming demeanor.

Hawa Kamara wearing Illuminessence Chic Designs- Photo Credit: Hawa Kamara/ UzoDesmond Photography

Who is Hawa Kamara?

I am a model. A lady perceived as simple and a proud Sierra Leonean.

What is your most memorable moment of the Miss Universe pageant?

My most memorable moment was when we fed thousands of people. Our task as pageants were to package the food and distribute it to less privileged children. It reminded me of my country and the many children who have little or nothing to eat. I am always playing that memory in my mind. It was surreal and very important to me and to think I was a part of it was very fulfilling. Second to that great feeling was me gracing the Miss Universe pageant stage for the very first time. An ordinary, strong and determined woman from Sierra Leone who would not have thought, I would have that opportunity so soon, but I did and the whole world was watching me do it. It was an awesome feeling, especially when I walked the stage and introduced myself and the country I was representing. I still have goose bumps anytime I remember it.

Hawa Kamara covered in the Sierra Leone Flag- Photo Credit: Hawa Kamara/ UzoDesmond Photography

What excites you more about being a Sierra Leonean?

The religious tolerance that we practice as a nation. In my few travel experience, I have not seen different religions co-habit as much we do in Sierra Leone. So that gladdens my heart about my motherland, to see how we relate and co-exist beyond our different religious beliefs. Plus, our natural resources, for example our beaches are exceptionally breathtaking. Believe me when I say after one visit to Sierra Leone and exploring our country, if you are a lover of nature, your whole mind, body and soul will be inclined to make more visits.

As an Ambassador for Sierra Leone, where are the exciting places for tourists to visit?

Our beaches (Lumley beach, Number 2 Rriver, John O’bey, Tokeh Resort, Lakka beach etc). Nothing beats that. Next is our historical sites like Bunce Island and the museum so you can know more about the country you visiting. Also, worth visiting are the Charlotte Water falls and the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary. We sure do have more exciting places but those are my top most.

What are the things you can’t go without?

The woman in me can’t go without a pen (laughs)…I know that sounds weird for my generation but ironically it is the truth. I can’t go without my smile as well.

“Before you know me the first thing one notices is my smile, I am never without it”

Hawa Kamara wearing Illuminessence Chic Designs- Photo Credit: UzoDesmond Photography

As a woman who is excelling in her dreams, what is your advice to a woman wanting to do the same?

Be yourself. Stay focused and me being a Christian, I would add by saying put God at the centre of everything you do. Never lose sight of the price. The grind is for the win, so keep at it and believe in yourself, because no one can do that better than yourself.

What are your future plans?

My driving force is business, charities and movies. I would imagine myself as a superhero. However, being that I am a very private person, I hardly talk in depth about my future plans especially when I am still working it. I love to talk about the finished product and at that point, I can explain how or what I went through to achieve it. But on a side flip, I am planning on starting personal businesses such as a salon and a boutique to name a few. Also I have a foundation I set up years back, and I am working on revamping it and doing some restructuring, because before now, it was purely for girls, but now I want to cater for both sexes, as I do think it is a more holistic approach when both sexes are cared for, nurtured and mentored.

Illuminessence was honoured to spotlight Hawa Kamara on the cover of the January 2018 edition. You can view on Issuu. Hawa embodies grace, poise, humility and ambition that is undeniably inspiring.

Keep illuminating, Hawa!

Grace Kargobai is the Founder of Illuminating Ladies, a global network of Illuminessence ambassadors, facilitated on WhatsApp. She is a graduate of Njala University with a major in Environmental Management and Quality Control. Her hobbies are writing, talking, singing and dancing.

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