The Jambanjelly village girl who wanted to be Miss AfriCanada: An interview with Fatou Jammeh

Written by Alieu Khan

Fatou

Fatou Jammeh is a young Gambian woman living in Canada. She represented The Gambia at the Miss AfriCanada Beauty Pageant held on the 9th August, 2014 at the City Play House Theatre in Toronto, Canada.

Read below our interview with Fatou Jammeh:

What’s On-Gambia: Tell us about your background and family.

Fatou: I was born in Jambanjelly. Gambian native and Canadian raised.

When did you move to Canada?

When I was seven.

How is like living in a Canada as a young black woman?

 Living in Canada as a young black woman is wonderful; I've been exposed to many things and provided with many opportunities that have enriched my life which in turn have provided me with the right skills to give back to my community.

Fatou

Are you well connected to the Gambian community in Canada?

I would say that I am very connected; we are a very small community so everyone knows each other.

What do you mean by ‘very connected’?

Connected in terms of my involvement and highly engaged in most community activities.

You took part in this year's Miss AfriCanada, why?

I took part in this year’s Miss AfriCanada to gain a new experience and take on new challenges, which I did. The journey was an amazing learning experience. I was able to build new networks not only to promote me in the pageant, but to also promote my platform of changing social attitudes on female sexuality in our community.

How did you hear about the beauty pageant?

I was actually hand-picked by the coordinator at my high school reunion.

Was your family okay with your participation?

Yes my family was very supportive of my participation and they were all present at the pageant.

Fatou

Entering into beauty pageants is something many Gambians girls are afraid of doing. How did you balance wanting to be a winner, yet still maintaining your morals?

The good thing about Miss AfriCanada is that it celebrates intellect rather than beauty, so you’re forced to use your intelligence to promote and compete in the pageant. As a result my morals didn’t have to be compromise.

What was your position in the pageant?

I ended up being first runner up, and with the other Queens we are starting an all-African female empowerment group ("Queens R us") here in Canada and hopefully branch it out to the motherland within the next year. It is soon to be launched.

Tell us about your university education.

Currently in my fourth year as an International Studies major at York University in Toronto, Canada.

Are you single?

Yes I am single.

Why?

I cannot answer this question at this moment.

What's your favorite Gambian meal?

My favorite Gambian meal, oh gosh I cannot choose, I love them all! I die forbenachin, indulge in ebbeh and adore nani burri.

Do you cook regularly?

Yes I cook regularly

What are your hobbies?

I love to eat!  Discovering new foods and restauranting should be my full-time job.

How many countries have you visited?

I have visited seven countries and five of which have been within the last year.

Would you mind to share your skincare routine, what products do you use?

Very simple! I typically wash my face every morning and night with St.Ives facial scrub

Define black beauty?

I don't have one particular definition of black beauty, but I would say it's our diversity, uniqueness, history and confidence. Knowing that we all have different stories and backgrounds that make us beautiful!