When she was just seven years old, Pamela Uba made her way from Johannesburg, South Africa to Ireland; an asylum seeker in search of a new life. Now, years later, the 26-year-old has been crowned Miss Ireland, making her the first Black woman in history to be awarded the title.

“It means so much to me. 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,” she gushed after winning.

Uba has come a long way from her early days in Ireland. The beauty queen told the Irish Times that she felt “strange” not being able to “hear gunshots” in her new home, and that when she finally received her Irish passport, she broke down and cried.

The South African born model, who also worked as a medical scientist during the pandemic, plans to use her new role to show the world just how diverse Ireland really is.

“I’ve experienced racism, and 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,” the 26-year-old said.

After her crowning earlier this week, Uba took to Instagram to share the good news. “It’s like a dream come true,” her celebratory post is captioned.

“I hope I can make you all proud as your Miss Ireland 2021, and I can’t wait to represent Ireland at the 70th @missworld in Puerto Rico this December.”

Check out Miss Ireland’s official crowning ceremony for yourself below.

[Via]