Uba has made history as the first black Miss Ireland winner; if you can believe it, that’s barely scratching the surface of her list of incredible achievements.
Pamela Uba has made history after being crowned the first black Miss Ireland, in a contest that has run annually since 1947.
Uba, 26, moved from South Africa with her family to Ireland at the age of seven. Since then, she has graduated with a master’s degree in clinical chemistry from Trinity College, Dublin.
Beauty and brains – she was a frontline worker during her time as Miss Galway
Uba found a talent in the pageant world and was thrust into starlight after being crowned Miss Galway in 2020. Three days after winning, however, Ireland went into lockdown.
The medical scientist spent her 18-month reign as a frontline worker at Galway University Hospital throughout the entire pandemic.
“I found myself running results to hospital wards when everything went down just to keep the service up and make sure patients got their results, so I think I did 35,000 steps in one day.” Uba said.
Overcoming it all – the harrowing realities of direct provision
The first black Miss Ireland winner did not have it easy following her move to Ireland, however, showing her strength, vigour, and determination to get to where she is today.
Pamela has spoken openly about her difficult time spent in direct provision. Reporting to the Irish Independent, Uba stated that, “It was ten years of my life, and it’s ten years that you’re left in a standstill, you don’t know if you’re ever going to get out of it or what life is going to be.
“At the time, the rules of going to college and working were that you couldn’t really do either so it’s very hard, especially on young girls.
“Because they finish secondary school and they look at themselves and think, what’s next?
The harsh Irish system – the reality for girls brought up in direct provision
As Pamela got older, she became determined to make something of herself.
Speaking of the fate of young girls who are brought up in the direct provision system, she stated that “[after they finish secondary school] there’s nothing really next for them then, so they have kids really young, and I knew that that’s not what I wanted.
“I wanted more for my life, so I really pushed to get there.”
She has criticised the treatment of people held in direct provision, stating that “it’s a system that either needs to be looked at to be done better or got rid of altogether because it’s people’s lives at the end of the day, and people can’t be treated like livestock.”
Family support system – Uba’s incredible determination to succeed
From the second year of Pamela’s residency, she was able to benefit from State grants. However, before that, she and her mother worked incredibly hard to allow her to flourish in university.
Speaking about her mother, Uba confided that, “Whatever she could do, she did for me to get there.”
How it all began – being mistaken for a beauty pageant contestant
Whilst working at a Miss Galway event in a bar in 2015, she was mistaken for a contestant. Since then, she has said that she had her heat set on applying for Miss Ireland.
Now, Uba has not only been crowned with the title of Miss Ireland, but has made history as the first black contestant to win the title of Miss Ireland.
“It means so much to me,” she said. “I am so grateful I can show girls that colour is not something that holds you back and it doesn’t matter where you come from, the world is your oyster.”