For the first time in 74 years, Pamela Uba, a 26-year-old part-time model, and medical scientist has been crowned Miss Ireland. She broke through a 74-year barrier by becoming the first Black woman to be crowned as the distinction since the event was established in 1947.
Uba, who also worked as a frontline worker at the University Hospital of Galway, shared her thoughts via her Instagram page, rocking a lab coat and her new emerald green bedazzled crown on Friday, Sept. 10.
On Monday, Sept. 13, Uba shared her Miss Ireland 2021 sash on Instagram, writing, “It’s like a dream come true. Words can’t even begin to describe how I’m feeling right now, or have been feeling for the past week leading up to the final.”
“It has been such a privilege to get to know, stand beside, and go through this unique journey with so many extraordinary young women in the competition,” her caption continued.
Three past winners, Lauren McDonagh, Aoife O’Sullivan, and Rebecca Maguire, crowned Uba, and according to the press release, the new Miss Ireland will represent her country at the 70th Miss World pageant in Puerto Rico in December.
“She won the most number of Miss Ireland challenges coming first in the debating challenge as well as the sports challenge,” Brendan Marc Scully, Director of Miss Ireland, said. “She was also outstanding in the talent challenge, and the charity challenge.”
This hasn’t stopped negative comments from entering into her DMs, as Uba has been subjected to racist retorts and notes following her win.
“You would get a lot of bullying online, racism online, and I’ve experienced it quite a lot, especially since becoming Miss Galway and then becoming Miss Ireland,” she told Sky News last Thursday. “There is a minority there that feel the need to put out negativity.”
“All I can say is that hurt people are the ones hurting people, and you shouldn’t let them break into your bubble and break you down,” she added.
Uba, originally from South Africa, moved to Ireland with her family when she was 8 years old. At the time, they were seeking asylum from their home city of Johannesburg.
“It means so much to me,” she told the Irish Times, “I am so grateful I can show girls that color is not something that holds you back and it doesn’t matter where you come from, the world is your oyster.”
While an Irish citizen, Uba holds nothing back when talking about the immigration process that it took for her family to resettle in Ireland.
“I was in it for 10 years, not knowing what was happening or when my life could start,” she told the Irish Times about the issue with direct provision, a system for those in need of international protection. “People need to be able to live their lives. I hope Ireland continues to help people, but the direct provision system needs to be rethought and possibly removed.”