It is often discussed that if you ask what a beauty queen actually does, the answer offers nothing more than a smile and a vague answer. I mean, beauty queens are beautiful. The events of Beauty pageants can have a crowd full of fans and family members and of course the biggest commentator who mostly judge of the most superficial things. Trust me, as I have been a beauty queen before, I know. Yet, I discovered a beauty queen who can give more than an answer to those questions. This beauty queen is Miss Ghana Universe 2004, Menaye Donkor Muntari and she manages to still be relevant and fashionably on point to this day. Mrs. Menaye is a model/actress, enterpeneur, wife of professional football player Sulley Muntari, philanthropist and fashionista. Mrs. Menaye visited London and she gave us some of her time to find out who this beauty behind the brand is.
Becoming a miss
Menaye Donkor was born in 1981 in Canada and was brought up by her parents in Accra, Ghana. She is the youngest of four brothers and two sisters. She went back to Toronto, Canada for 4 years to finish her studies in Marketing. After that she moved back to Ghana. On growing up she mentions to us that she kind of was a geek. “I wore my hair in ponytails and I wore sweatpants. I got a lot of: you should be a model”. Her sister prompted her to apply for Miss Ghana Universe, which she eventually did. The pageant led her to become the eventual winner and ultimately represent Ghana in Miss Universe in 2004.
Now 8 years later, Menaye Donkor is the founder of The Menaye Foundation, which is a combination of Menaye School of Hope and Menaye charity organization. The foundation provides education for children and various other causes. Next to her charity activities, Menaye is also a model, aspiring actress, the New Face of Printex and the ‘Development Queen’ (Nkosuohemaa in Ghanaian) of Agona Asafo.
“Ghana is home for me”
Having various activities, appearances and responsibilities in different countries, we firstly asked Menaye where she feels at home the most. “Ghana is home for me”, Menaye explains. Menaye is currently residing in Italy, because of her husband Sulley Muntari, who plays professionally for AC Milan. She often travels between home, London and Ghana. She travels to Ghana once every month.
“I always put in a 120% percent”
Among all the activities that Menaye does, she is also the business manager of her husband. We asked her how she combines all these jobs. She explains: “I am not constantly on call. I have got my own career. I oversee all of that. I give the eventual go ahead.”
As for the various works she does for her husband: “At first, I was doing it on my own. We were living together. I was always with him. Sometimes you mix business with pleasure. I have learned to separate the two. It was difficult at the beginning. That’s why I needed to step back. As a result: I am not always in his face.”
On her own brand
We asked Mrs. Menaye how she works on her own brand since she is the business manager of her husband. “I have a team of guys that I work with. They are supportive. They believe in the dream that I have. They need to see what you see.” Menaye explains.
Menaye & fashion
Besides Menaye’s beauty, her fashionable appearances can’t go unnoticed. We asked about her fashion and in which countries she loves fashion the most. She answers: “Italy. I love Italians. They have this African mentality. They’re very family oriented. And fashion wise, they love to look good, regardless of if it’s a woman or man. I consider taking care of yourself as important. London I like also. London has her own style. I love to shop in London too. “
“I don’t have a stylist”
I don’t have a stylist, unless I have a shoot.’ Menaye explains. “I do the styling myself. I just wear what works for me. I love simplicity. I look up to my mother in terms of fashion. When I was younger, I would always watch my mother dress up for church. I also love Charlize Theron. She is to the point and quite tall as I am.”
Menaye’s favorite fashion item
When asked what Menaye’s favorite fashion is, she gladly answers: “A handbag.”
On African fashion.
“It has come such a long way. Africa is a blessed continent. A lot of designers are tapping into African fashion for inspiration. Being African I am able to use the two. “
We asked Menaye on what she thinks what fashion faults Africans mostly do. She answers “Over accessorizing, when it’s not needed. The simple you look the better.”
Menaye and the future
Menaye is currently pursuing an acting career. “I have a few projects lined up. I was in NYC for 2 months and I did a few classes in NYC. I also followed classes in London for two weeks and it went very well.”
We and our curious selves asked Menaye if she has other origings than Ghanaian. She tells us that her mother is partially Irish.
“You have to be strong”
When asked what her motivation is, Menaye gives her last word of encouragement: “It all balls down to determination. You need to be determined regardless of what you want to be. Have a strong mind. You don’t get it overnight. A lot of people might think. She’s a beauty queen, but I also have to prove myself. It all stems from my family background. I have 4 older brothers and two sisters and I am a happy individual. That has given me a strong backbone.”
ABINA: Thank you very much, Mrs. Menaye
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