But walking away with a newfound self-belief ” a prize that will remain with the Balga resident well after the glory of the pageant wears off ” felt even better.
‘I learnt so much during the contest; most of all I discovered how to be confident in myself,’ Ms Karanja said.
‘So many people might believe in you but if you don’t have that faith in yourself, you can never come out of your shell.
‘Miss Africa Perth is such a great event because it’s a platform for young Africans to discover who they are and how to be confident, as well as learn how to be the strong women they want to be despite circumstances they may be in.’
The 22-year-old came to Australia two years ago to study nursing, but quickly changed direction after discovering a passion for the environment, which she is studying at West Coast Institute in Joondalup.
Reflecting her enthusiasm for nature, she wore a green dress in the contest with Maasai jewellery signifying her homeland Kenya.
She recited a stirring poem called I am an African by Siyabonga Anxumalo and performed a Brazilian unity dance with the other competitors.
Ms Karanja’s responsibilities as Miss Africa Perth include being a youth ambassador for local young Africans.
‘I’m working on a project to sponsor a few young Africans living here, including a fundraiser to help some of those with the drive and discipline to achieve their goals,’ she said.