Meet Lilian Shihundu Opete crowned the Miss Kenya Deaf 2021
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am 22 years old, and currently a student at Shambere College, Kakamega, where I am pursuing a course in food and beverages.
I am a former student at St Angel Mumias Deaf Girls Secondary School where I sat my Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education in 2019, and St Matine Primary School Mumias where I did my final exams in 2014.
My hobbies include modelling, action drama and dancing. I live in Kakamega with my mum and brother; my father hasn’t been around.
How did you come to know about the Miss Kenya Deaf contest?
I have had a passion for modelling since I was young, but I professionally started on it last year.
I was the first-runner up in the first edition of Miss Deaf Kenya, but I did not give up and I decided to try again this year and I won.
I learnt about the contest when I saw the posters circulating on social media platforms.
How was the competition?
It wasn’t as hard as I had expected because I have been there before. Still, I gave it my best shot.
My mum has been my greatest supporter financially and morally. This has helped since I developed an interest in modelling. She encourages me a lot.
Which is the hardest part about being a hearing impaired model?
The hardest part is being despised by the ones with hearing ability, and inadequate finance, especially when you participate in contests, win and still get absolutely nothing in return.
It is not the same for other models. For instance, we get promised many benefits that would come with winning the title, but it’s usually a disappointment when you finally win.
The promises are never met. Am happy that Miss Kenya Deaf kept their promise on the reward.
We also expect a follow up and continued partnership after the contest. It is my hope that this will change though.
What do you love most about fashion?
The best thing about fashion is that it can be expressed in any way and with anyone, and not only by those who have studied fashion or are in the beauty pageantry. Fashion is such an open world.
Your plans going forward are?
My plans are to create a platform where other models with hearing impairment like me will have a say in the society.
I want to create the awareness among them that they are just like other people and that we also have a big role to play.
I also want to show the society just how capable we are to share in such spaces as the fashion industry.
What is your easiest fashion hack?
That has to be my class-wear because it doesn’t need much. And I am yet to come across a fashion item that I can never pull off, or that I actually don’t like. I have to just figure out how to wear it.
Who is your greatest inspiration in the Kenyan fashion scene?
I have to say Bruce Matheka. He is a top model and was also our trainer in Nairobi.