Pamela Uba made history by becoming the first Black Miss Ireland since the pageant began in 1947, the Irish Times reports.
Uba embraced her historic accomplishment and believes that her story can be inspirational for other Black girls.
“It means so much to me,” Uba said. “My mum, she was in absolute tears.”
“I am so grateful I can show girls that color is not something that holds you back and it doesn’t matter where you come from, the world is your oyster,” she continued.
In addition to being crowned Miss Ireland, the 26-year-old is the eldest of six siblings and a medical scientist at Galway University Hospital. She served as a frontline worker during the pandemic.
Uba came to Ireland from South Africa with her family when she was seven years old when they were seeking asylum. She remembers writing letters to politicians during her family’s asylum-seeking process.
“We are all human, and we all deserve the same love and respect,” she said.
Becoming a citizen of Ireland was a moment that Uba would never forget.
“I cried when I got my Irish passport,” she recalled.
Uba was named Miss Galway in March 2020 before the pandemic lockdown began and along with her victory, she became the target of racist trolls on social media.
“It’s horrible to hear people telling me to go back to my country when I’ve worked so hard to make Ireland my home,” she said.
According to the BBC, only 1.4 percent of Ireland’s population is Black.
The future is looking bright for Uba as she plans to complete a master’s degree in clinical chemistry from Trinity College Dublin and in December, she’s heading to Puerto Rico to represent Ireland at the 70th Miss World competition.
“I can’t even describe how excited I am to represent my country on such a huge platform,” she said. “I can’t wait.”