“Ms. Hussien was chosen out of several Ethiopian candidates,” Lady Kate Njeuma, CEO and Founder of Miss Africa USA, said. “She stood out because of her confidence level and her passion for humanitarian work.”
Lady Kate added that each contestant was required to present a social cause that she intends to focus on if selected as a winner.
“We were impressed by Ms. Hussien’s platform,” Lady Kate said. “She wants to use the stage to promote HIV/AIDS awareness.”
“I know people that are affected by HIV/AIDS.” Tsige Hussien told Tadias Magazine. “That’s why I have decided to make it my platform.” She added: “Based on my own experience, the problem with HIV/AIDS is lack of awareness on how to prevent it.”
Tsige said she has done volunteer work with the Mary Joy Foundation, an NGO based in Ethiopia that works in communities impacted by HIV/AIDS as well as to improve the health and living conditions of children and seniors. Last year she participated in a fashion show to help raise funds for the NGO. She said she learned about the Mary Joy Foundation through her work with Konjo Models.
“Tsige is one of our girls,” said Markos Huluka, Founder of Konjo Models & Fashion Group. ” We work with about 25 models and we service runway shows at various expos and events in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia areas.” Markos, who also goes by the name “Mark”, says he is Tsige’s agent. “She’s been working with us since we started a few years ago.”
At 29, Tsige is also one the of older participants in the upcoming pageant. “The requirements is that you have to be 18 to 30 years of age and unmarried, we have one 19 year-old, most are between 25 and 27, and we have two 29-year olds and Ms. Hussien is one of them,” says Lady Kate.
Tsige arrived in the United States from Ethiopia in 2002 after attending Bole High School in Addis Ababa, and graduated from a boarding school in West Virginia.
“When I was younger people used to tell me that I should be a model,” Tsige said. “I would reply ‘no’ I want to be a nurse. I am eager to show that beauty is more than a pretty face.”
“Yes, it’s true that we emphasize the essence of the women in this pageant,” Lady Kate admits. “But we still need a pretty face to represent Africa.”
Tsige was drawn to participate in Miss Africa USA pageant because “they focus on the woman as a whole and not only on physical appearance.”
As part of their pageant performance, the contestants must also present a musical celebration of their native country. “I am still searching for the right music,” Tsige said. “I have posted on Facebook asking people to helping me select the song.”“I would like the music to reflect the diversity of Ethiopia,” she said. “Because I have a little bit of everything: Oromo, Gurage, Wolo, Tigre.” She adds: “My childhood memories of Ethiopia include the feeling of love. We spent a lot of time outdoors playing eqaqa (house), sēnyo/maksenyo ( hopscotch), soccer. I want the song to reflect that too.”