Barely a month after 20 year old, Ethiopian born Beza Mickan-White won the Miss Africa South Australia 2013 beauty contest, SALT Magazine caught up with her at her favourite coffee shop for a chat about the pageant and her life in general.
“The fact that I participated in the contest was exciting enough”, Beza said, “ I gained many friendships, and self-confidence, but of course by winning I also have the Tanya Powell modelling course to look forward to, and the chance to learn more about myself as well.”
We asked her if she always dressed up to look her beautiful best, “Definitely not” she responded, “I’m not too fussed about make-up and so on, I think a natural look is true beauty and is also better for your skin. As for dressing up, I absolutely love wearing basketball shoes – and boys’ clothes as well – and I work at Footlocker where I’m surrounded by basketball shoes.”
Our chat moved on to her background, as we knew she was adopted into an Australian family as a 4 year old child in Ethiopia.
“Meeting my adoptive parents was the most memorable and an exciting moment in my life,” she said, “They are beautiful people, who have adopted twice, and have taught me many life skills and values that I try to put in to practice”
In her Australian family, Beza has 6 siblings, and although some of the older children have now left home, when they all get together “……it’s not a quiet affair” she said with a smile, “Birthdays and Christmas, its all screaming kids everywhere”.
However, because of her experience as an adopted child brought into the western world, Beza said she would like to help similar adopted children to better connect with their community and culture and to have a greater understanding of their situation. In fact she sees the need for a ‘transition’ program to mentor adopted children as they grow.
“I’ve seen it happen to myself and my brother, and with other friends. We don’t have anyone that relates to us, or that we can relate to. Over the years I’ve tried to connect with my roots through African friends at school, and by attending community events”.
“It’s my personal identity crisis you know. It’s not racism or rejection. I was born an Ethiopian but I was brought up as an Australian. My roots are Ethiopian but I’ve lived here all my life; I look Ethiopian but I can’t speak the language. So I feel there’s a distance between me and Australians and me and Ethiopians”.
SALT Magazine hopes Beza will one day realise her dream to help other adopted children through the confusion of finding their identity, but in the meantime we wish her every success with her modelling course and career. We think Footlocker could possibly have a vacancy for a basketball shoe salesperson very soon!