OPUWO - After several attempts to partake in the Miss Namibia beauty pageant, Stella Da Costa has finally made it to the semifinal in this year’s competition, thus being the first participant from Opuwo to achieve that feat, an achievement she said did not come on a silver plate.
Her love for modelling came from television where she would watch professional models and get inspired. But her career was birthed at the age of 13 where she took part in the school beauty pageant contest. Although her parents were against her decision, she was determined in taking part. Growing up in a household without electricity did not stop Da Costa (23) from pursuing her modelling career, noting that her road in modelling came wrapped with sandpaper, especially that she did not receive the support that she needed. At times her close companions would discourage her from trying, referring that modelling is not for the marginalized or people from a less privileged background.
“Apparently Miss Namibia is only for white people, or rich people or civilised people, I cannot do that, I was a little bit discouraged but a friend of mine referred me to the Miss Namibia advert last year. I had these thoughts that I am from a poor family, I am from Opuwo or a marginalized group, and they will not take me. But for a moment I looked myself in the mirror and told myself I can do this,” she explained.
Asked whether she received any form of mentorship or training, Da Costa stated that she was trained in runway modelling, but only stepped on stage during the Windhoek Fashion Week, although she applied to various modelling agencies, and got turned down.
Growing up in the Kunene region where it was seen as taboo for a young girl to be a beauty pageant queen, Da Costa has endured critics, shame and discouragement. But her grandmother whom she lives with is in full support of her career although she does not understand.
My grandmother would say “(Andaa otjo uninga, ye otjouhole veulikila), If that’s what you do, and that’s what you like then show them,” Da Costa imitates.
She highlighted that the reason she decided to take part in the competition is not to prove people wrong but, to empower and motivate others. She also believes that by so doing, she will be a role model for others in her shoes.
“I almost believed that just study, go back home, get married as they do in my region and have kids, that’s it. But a voice in me always came to remind me that, you are born for this.”
Da Costa mentioned that finances have been a challenge, however, she noted that Okaokoland Restaurant has come on board to financially assist her, she has also approached other local businesses for support.
Apart from her love for modelling, she also has a certificate in Business Administration and dabbles as a vlogger. She indicated that she hopes to highlight Miss Namibia behind the scenes in her vlog.