How Kenya’s Winfred Omwakwe became the first black woman to win Miss Earth crown

16 Apr 2020 | Angelique Reyes

Miss Earth 2002, the 2nd edition of Miss Earth pageant which was held at Folk Arts Theatre in Pasay, Philippines on 29th October 2002. In its second year, 53 delegates participated, exceeding the number of contestants in Miss International 2002, thereby becoming the world's third biggest international pageant in terms of number of contestants.

Džejla Glavovic of Bosnia and Herzegovina won the title of Miss Earth 2002 at the end of the event finale. She was also awarded Miss Talent award during the competition. However, on 28th May 2003, the Miss Earth Foundation officially dethroned Džejla Glavovic "due to her failure to comply with the stipulations in her contract.”


How Kenya’s Winfred Adah Omwakwe became the first black woman to win Miss Earth crown


Winfred Adah Omwakwe represented Kenya at Miss Earth 2002 and was adjudged as the first runner-up at the event finale. Winfred being the runner-up took over the duties and the crown of Miss Earth 2002 after Džejla Glavovic’s dethroning. The diva is the first black representative and first from the African region to hold the Miss Earth title. She is also the first woman from Kenya to hold a major international beauty pageant title.

Winfred hails from Nairobi and has graduated from the Institute of Health Care Management in Kenya, where she received a physiotherapy certificate. She was also a finalist in Miss Universe Kenya 2001, but was unable to capture the title. She later came in second in the Miss Tourism Kenya pageant and flew to Manila to represent her country at the Miss Earth 2002 pageant.


Winfred Adah Omwakwe Miss Earth 2002


After Winfred was appointed as the new Miss Earth 2002, she expressed, "I was stunned and couldn’t believe it. But then I saw the congratulatory messages in my e-mail and I received calls from all over. That’s when I was convinced it wasn’t a hoax.” After the Miss Earth pageant, Omwakwe went to Canada to take a vacation and to look for a school where she can take up a nursing course. In Kenya, she studied Physiotherapy, a six-month course which led to her interest in nursing. "There’s a shortage of nurses in my country," she disclosed.

Winfred was well-applauded for her charm, confidence, intelligence and good interview skills. With those traits, she showed great potential as Miss Earth 2002 and spokesperson for the environmental concerns and programs that the Miss Earth organization supports. She took over the duties of Miss Earth 2002 like a pro and became a role model for thousands of girls across the globe.