The Miss Africa USA Management team proudly presents the African Queen in America Miss Fatoumata (Fifi) Souma who will reign as Miss Africa USA 2010 – 2011. Miss Fifi was crowned at the beautiful Montgomery College Performing Arts Center in Silver Spring, Maryland, on Saturday July 24 2010.
Thank you Fifi for taking the time to respond to our interview questions.[PERSONAL]
AM: Please tell us about yourself
Fifi: My name is Fatoumata (Fifi) Soumah. I am a 22 year old student studying Communication Broadcasting at Montgomery College in Maryland. I am also a model and of course a Beauty Queen. I love writing and spending time with family and friends. Red is my favorite color, and I am well known by my smile :).
AM: How many brothers and sisters do you have?
Fifi: I am the youngest of 8 siblings, of which are 5 boys and 3 are girls.
AM: Where are you from originally?
Fifi: I am originally from the beautiful country of Guinea
AM: Who are your role models?
Fifi: My mother, Hawa Barry, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and all the strong hard working women.
AM: When you’re not working, what are your favorite things to do?
Fifi: Away from working I resort to writing ,movies, a walk at the park, and sometimes attend a party with my friends, but I spend most of my time with my family.
AM: Currently, where is home? Where are you located presently?
Fifi: Silver Spring, Maryland has been home for the past two years.
AM: Can you tell us something about you that people would never guess?
Fifi: Yes! The fact that I hate being the center of attention.
AM: Favorite sport/hobby? Why?
Fifi: I must have said this several time already [laughs], but I love writing. I believe that everything thing that gets our attending has to be written, and memories have to be remembered and passed along from generation to generation….especially the good ones. The bad memories however, should be used as a
learning experience throughout generations.[MISS AFRICA USA]
AM: How did you feel when they announced you as the 2010 Miss Africa USA Beauty Pageant winner?
Fifi: Right after my name was called, I felt like a champion. I was extremely happy to know that all my hard work had paid-off, and at the same time I felt humbled that amongst all the beautiful and talented ladies who made it to the finals, I was chosen to take this responsibility as an Ambassador of Africa.
AM: Was this what you dreamt for when growing up?
Fifi: Yes, I have always loved beauty pageants. I started competing in beauty pageants in elementary school. While in my home country Guinea, I won the title of Miss Boro Conakry and I was also a 1st runner up in the Miss Boro National Pageant. In 2009 I was crowned Miss Guinea USA. The title of Miss Africa USA 2010 was a dream that turned into reality and I remain thankful.
AM: Let’s just go through the whole event: tell us about the opening acts. How long did it take you girls to practice? How was the performance overall?
Fifi: The rehearsals were very intensive I must say. We only had two days to learn our dance and all stage routines. However, it was so much fun with all the girls and the Miss Africa USA Team. After the hard work, the show was perfect. Our opening number choreographed by Miss Jessica Emen (a talented choreographer based in Atlanta, GA) was a huge success and is still being talked about….This Time For Africa!!!
AM: How hard was it to prepare for this event? From entering the competition to actually winning it?
Fifi: I faced many trials and tough times in my journey to becoming Miss Africa USA 2010, ranging from picking out the right outfits for every segment, deciding what I wanted to do for my talent, being entertaining to the hundreds of people who came to see the show and at the same time following pageant protocol and judging criteria. Most importantly taking up a platform to synthesize people of female genital mutilation (FGM) practices and working towards ways of eradicating such practices, while at the same time developing measures of educating the female child in underserved regions of Africa and the US is a work in progress, one I am very passionate about, one that must be executed.
AM: What have you learned from this experience?
Fifi: I have learned that being optimistic, yet staying focus to your goals, will sure yield success.
AM: What’s next for Miss Africa USA 2010? What’s on your agenda?
Fifi: Wow…A lot I must say. I will be making trips to Africa to work on my projects and platform, and also as a Goodwill Ambassador. I am scheduled to attend many events in the US, and some in other countries. I will be hosting several events included but not limited to fundraisers, with the purposes of helping those who need the funds the most here in and America, and Mother Africa as a whole. While staying focus in school, I will also be actively serving in my community.
AM: In your opinion, what’s the number one issue to deal with in Africa? What’s your take (solution) on it?
Fifi: The fact that the younger generation are not given a voice to speak, most especially the females. I think it is time for Africans to invite the youths and women in decision making and legislations. While the general concept in Africa is that the woman is to take care of her husband, kids and the home, we will have an even better Africa if the woman’s managerial role is extended to other sectors out of the home. The youths on the other hand bring in a new and revised way of thinking and implementation.
AM: About Africa: what will you keep? What will you change?
Fifi: I will keep the aspect of nurturing and the naturalistic scope, be it from our food or just the environment. I will however, give more voice to the youths and women and stop some practices such as FGM which are detrimental to the female child.
AM: What’s the best food you crave for always when you visit Africa?
Fifi: “konkweh”. It is made out of smoked fish cooked with palm oil. Yummy!!!
AM: What do you see in the future for Africa?
Fifi: I see more women taking up leadership roles in Africa. I see more young people as law makers in various African countries and not the same older generation staying in political positions year-in year-out. I see a Mother Africa where her children care and are working to make a difference by being active members in their communities. I see more schools and factories opening up in African countries creating job opportunities for families to be able to put food on the table and partake in recreational activities. I see an Africa where a mother will not have to choose to either feed herself and let her baby starve or vice versa, but one where all will have plenty.
AM: What need to be done in the United States in order to strengthen the African community voice?
Fifi: We as Africans have to first come together as one and support one another in their various paths. There is an old saying that goes: ‘Together we stand, divided we fall’. There is soo much we can gain from fellow Africans, there is even more we can give to our fellow Africans, most importantly, there is more we can collectively share. I encourage all Africans in the United States, to belong to at least one African related organization…get involved.
AM: What other projects are you involved in at the present?
Fifi: I do a lot of volunteer work in my community. I work closely with “Help And Save Africa” which is a nonprofit organization helping kids go to school in Guinea. I also actively work with “There Is No Limit Foundation” whose goal is to empower Women. I also support the Project 2005 and I and also actively working with the African Women’s development foundation Inc, (AWDF-Inc USA) a non-profit organization based in Atlanta, GA. AWDF-Inc is a network of dynamic and selfless women in the United States, joining forces to help women and children in need. It is the official charity organization for the Miss Africa USA Pageant. Their key focus is to bring about sustainable development to underserved communities.
AM: What are your plans five years from now?
Fifi: Five years from now......Wow, so many goals!!! Well, one of my short term goal is to put in place my organization that will contribute to the development of education and the empowerment of women in Guinea and in all parts of Africa that I have access to. I also plan to work in Africa with different organizations and people from different backgrounds in promoting change and bringing positivity to the continent that we all so dearly love, (our mother land Africa).Receive my master’s degree in communication by then. Continue being a beauty queen and goodwill ambassador. I will keep learning and expanding my horizon while serving my community.
AM: What’s your favorite winter destination?
Fifi: Courchevel in France
AM: Will you consider acting in the future?
Fifi: Yes I do, and I am open to consider possible acting roles.
AM: Any words of wisdom for all our aspiring beauty pageant delegates out there?
Fifi: Start working early, at least one year before the day of your finals. Shop decently and uniquely, yet be cost saving. Chose a platform you are passionate about. Your journey to the crown will not be easy, so stay focused and determined. Be strategic and follow protocol. Work hard, have many laughs, make it a fun process.
Fifi: African Women Development Foundation Inc (AWDF-Inc USA), and other sponsors of the foundation and pageant projects.
Thank you Fifi for taking the time to chat with us. Congratulations on becoming the 2010 Miss Africa USA. We wish you plenty of success and wisdom in your career.
Fifi: Thank you for this opportunity.