Annerie on Miss World, America and her charity work

14 January 2022 | People

After the postponement of the Miss World pageant that was scheduled to take place in Puerto Rico in December, Namibia’s contestant Annerie Mare opted to travel to the United States to wait for the event, now scheduled for 16 March 2022.
Annerie says the Miss World competition has changed her life. “The privilege of getting to know beautiful ambassadors from over 100 countries made me realize the honour I have to represent Namibia on a global platform and to be a goodwill ambassador for Namibia. This journey is so much bigger than myself – it is about the influence of my nation on the world.”
About the pageant being hosted in Puerto Rico, Annerie says that four years ago, the country was severely impacted by hurricane Maria, which brought about devastation and great loss for their economy and tourism. “Now, barley recovering, the Covid pandemic hit, adding more pressure to this little piece of tropical paradise.
“In a bid to help change the trajectory of this economic strain, former Miss World 2017, Stefany del Valle who is from Puerto Rico, secured the opportunity to host the Miss World pageant in her beloved country. The event would help boost the economy and tourism through the hundreds of guests that would visit this island. Additionally, part of the Miss World Pageant raises awareness and money for charity programmes through an auction of gifts that each Miss World contestant must present. I am very thankful that my national gift was auctioned off to the benefit of children in Puerto Rico, by the Miss World Beauty with a Purpose programme and the Integro Foundation,” Annerie says.

The journey so far
Annerie says that she arrived in Puerto Rico a month ahead the pageant final along with over 100 ladies from around the globe.
“The busyness of each day and night was constant: People and diplomats to meet, tours to experience this tropical beauty, and competitions in strength, agility, speaking and presentation were all part of narrowing down the field. We were all very busy and had a very compacted program.”
She says the organisers tested the participants and crew for Covid every second day, and that by the third week of the competition, positive results began surfacing amongst the ladies.
“Some had to be taken into isolation. I thank God that I never tested positive in this time. However, the rise in positive tests amongst contestants and staff led to the huge decision that had to be made. We heard the news the night before the final that the pageant committee had decided to reschedule the final.
“I gained much respect for the Miss World Organisation in respect of tough decisions they had to make for all of our safety,” Annerie says.
Following the decision, all the contestants were to return to their home countries and then head back to Puerto Rico three months later for the final show, now scheduled for 16 March.
“For me, financially and responsibly, a decision had to be made that would ultimately help the cause for which my ‘Beauty with Purpose Project’ was developed. This decision would benefit my nation and be cost effective as well. Since I have been in the USA, I have been privileged to have generated contacts and resources from the people of America. I now have opened doors to bring awareness to the challenges my country faces and that must be addressed in the 21st century.
“I am presently in West Virginia, hosted by Eagles’ Wings Educational Girls Home, a non-profit that I have visited during the past 8 years, working with young girls using horse therapy in the four-state area of West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.”

Grabbing opportunities
Annerie says that while she is in West Virginia, her schedule focuses on empowering young people by visiting different schools and speaking at universities specifically in the agricultural departments, to create awareness about the needs faced in Namibia. “I’m also connecting with larger international student organisations that do work in other countries as well as international internships with college students to possibly open doors to Namibian agricultural needs.”
She also plans to speak at and visit organisations that specialise in community gardening as another avenue to bring more positive information back to Namibia.
“I will also be visiting former Miss Namibia and Miss Universe 1995, Michelle McLean, in Miami for some coaching, take time to go to local homeless shelters, women’s shelter and children’s shelters to encourage and uplift their spirits, and volunteer at a local soup kitchen.”
In the meantime, Annerie thanks everyone for their support and contributions towards her endeavours. “Without the help of my American friends, this journey would have been forfeited due to financial constraints. As I represent my beautiful nation of Namibia, I will always be grateful for the help of such a giving nation and the lasting relationships I could build in the past couple of year.
“No matter the outcome of the final pageant, I will continue striving to make an impact wherever I travel, as I know how important each and every person is and how we can all make a difference!”

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