60TH INDEPENDENCE EDITION DELEGATES
Below are the finalists for this year' Miss Ghana USA Pageant- Year 2017: Showcasing the rich and authentic culture from the Motherland.
God is love. Therefore love. Without distinction, without calculation, without procrastination, love.~Henry Drummond
Meet Elsie Abena Okoh-Addo
Ms. Elsie Abena Okoh-Addo was born in Accra, Ghana on July 12th, 1994 to Mr. and Mrs. Seth
Nana Addo. Right from childhood, Elsie has always acted out in love and sincere compassion
for others. Elsie had the privilege of growing up in a supportive and loving household in
Odorkor, Accra and throughout her teenage years. She began her kindergarten education at Emily
Crèche, Asylumn Down, continued her primary education at Star Avenue school and then,
relocated to the United States at the age of 11. Elsie has always been a stellar student and
enjoys taking the initiative in motivating her fellow peers to doing the same. Coming from a
background such as hers, Elsie had to learn the importance of hard-work and diligence from an
early age. Elsie’s father migrated to the United States when she was only two years old, leaving
behind a wife and two young daughters at the time. Elsie watched her mother struggle from time
to time, while juggling the role of an entrepreneur and caring for two young children. It is
through her parents' diligence that she also learned to never give up.
Upon her migration to the United States in 2006, Elsie knew this was her opportunity to improve
upon herself and life for her family. She graduated with honors from her middle school and later
as valedictorian of her high school graduating class. Although flourishing in her academic work,
Elsie also faced many hurdles, one being bullying. Based on her dark complexion, lean body,
speech, "accent" and her inability to assimilate into the American culture, she was a prime target
for bullies and the least on the totem pole. Bullying affected Elsie’s self-confidence greatly
throughout middle school, which later followed into high school and eventually college. She
never quite felt good enough, beautiful enough or qualified enough, that was until her encounter
with Christ her third year in college. Ms. Addo gained a new self-worth through Christ and is
what continues to shape her outlook on life today. It was during this period that she learned to
remain hopeful and optimistic, especially in unpleasant times.
At the current age of 22, Elsie is a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at
Greensboro, where she acquired a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology. Elsie hopes to
further her education, with an ultimate goal of becoming an obstetrician gynecologist. During her
time at UNC Greensboro, Elsie served as President and Vice President of three on-campus
organizations. From Sigma Alpha Lambda to the African Student Union and a campus Christian
ministry, Yahweh’s Anointed Army. It is quite evident that Elsie believes in the attitude of
service and leadership. She has an undisputable passion for people and in spreading much
needed love as exemplified by Christ.
In summary, Elsie once thought as many African immigrants still do today; which is that in order
to create change back home, one has to have a certain level of wealth, status and success. Now
deemed false, Elsie has come to realize that it all begins with a mindset and an attitude for
change. Miss Ghana USA is an outstanding platform for likeminded young Ghanaian women
across the United States, who still believe in the nation of Ghana. Elsie believes in the purpose,
beauty and ability of all Ghanaians and seeks to encourage and equip those she mirrored in her
I genuinely find it difficult to talk about myself because I believe that I make up one piece of this giant puzzle we call the world. Even as I begin to think about myself, I have to think about my personal environment and its contribution to molding me into the young woman I am today. On the surface, I am a 20 year old college Junior at Seton Hall University on a full scholarship with a major in Psychology and a minor in Chemistry. But beyond this, I am story. From my name to my background and to my goals. I have formed a natural distinction within my early years of leadership, to my current years of transformation to my future of continued success. Miss Ghana USA is an opportunity to celebrate the unique perspective and inner beauty that comes from being a Ghanaian in America. There is something unique about the learning the world from two different views, and being able to thrive in it. I believe that Miss Ghana USA acknowledges her unique disposition in the world, and radiates her God-given gift wherever she goes and in everything that she does. At the end of the day, it will only matter how we contributed to the world, regardless of how small or big.
Gifty Ayew Asare; born in the Greater Accra Region, Ghana. I studied General Arts back in high school, while playing soccer before moving to An Academy in the Central Region of Ghana as an official footballer after high school in 2015. I became a full time footballer- playing professionally, since it was my career and talent. In 2014, I had a chance to join the Ghana national youth under 17, which is the Black Maidens of Ghana. It was a struggle as a come-up footballer and student; however, I didn’t let any of that bother me. I had the opportunity to play a tournament of which I was chosen and selected- in which I got the chance to receive a full scholarship to study nursing at Northern Oklahoma College in the United State as well as to play soccer for the school team. It felt like my dreams had come true; because that was what I was aiming for as a child, and to achieve my goals: both in soccer and school. I joined my school team and started the season with earning the player of the week in the first week, scoring 11 goals with 6 assist, and named best player-first ALL-REGION TEAM for region II league in the student NCAA.
I have won subsequent player award since being on the team and really cherish each moment. I'm currently aiming to become a registered nurse, and to practice my passion of assisting and aiding the needy. As a professional soccer player, I deem it necessary to diversify the world of pageantry with my abilities and capabilities; and with Miss Ghana USA as a potential given platform, I'm bound to convey that into reality.
A Canadian born, moved to Kentucky, USA at age 10; however, felt out of place while growing up in Kentucky due to lack of diversity and not many Ghanaians. I felt like I had no one to relate to and would be fearful of being made fun of for my dark skin. I believed they didn't know any better due to the media’s negative perception of Africa- which isn't so glamorous. Often at-times there were ignorant sayings about my continent- Africa; especially during times like black history month and one would hear a fellow countryman shunning his/her continent" Embarrassed and ashamed I would feel because there wasn’t anyone like me. I would go home and there would be a different language being spoken, different food being eaten, etc. Yet, when I got older I learned to appreciate my culture even more and began to be more comfortable about my heritage. Although, I frequently find defending myself towards other Ghanaians since I wasn't born there- " I don't look Ghanaian ", do you speak Twi” do you understand it, they would say. Till this day it happens; but I am much confident in saying that I am proud to be a Ghanaian and proud of where I come from. I want to be the voice of other Ghanaians who are in a similar situation during this pageant. I want to bridge the gap between American born Ghanaians and Ghanaians who are born in Ghana; because we all are Ghanaians; we must stick together and help each other. I pride myself in always keeping stuff factual, regardless of having flaws; and as honored as I am, to be a contestant in this year’s Miss Ghana USA Pageant. I plan on undertaking a great humanitarian cause. I am an alumnus from the University of Louisville with a BA in Communication; but I plan on attaining a Nursing degree soon; because I aspire to help and make people smile. As a Miss Ghana USA 2017 finalist, I want to use my platform to build summer camps / boys and girls clubs in Ghana. The reason being that, summer programs I did each summer all throughout my adolescent years made a huge impact in my life. I was able to visit many places I wouldn’t have thought of. It helped me prep for college and acquired several future skills from it. My goal is to create a program that highlights what each child wants to do when they get older or are interested in. Whether being artist, musician, scientists, etc; and have successful Ghanaians who are living in the states and overseas teach that program to those kids or serve as a guest speaker-in terms of mentoring. My motive is to let them understand that you don't have to live in the U.S. to be successful- that it starts from home and our children in Ghana. I believe that this program will create future jobs and expand the minds of these kids at an early age. In order to help Ghana grow and reach its full potential, it starts with the children at a young age. Our children are our future leaders.
She is a 24 year old pharmacy student raised in a God fearing African family tied home. She adopted the philosophy & quote; what a man can do a woman can do better" which fueled her to secure a job at CVS pharmacy as a pharmacy tech in high school; with the aim of acquiring knowledge for pharmacy school and the profession itself. Furthermore, Jennifer is deeply in tuned with her cultural heritage, art and lastly fashion. She was a Sunday school teacher at age 15; the youngest teacher at her church; a vlogger wit and maintains an active social media presence with the sole intent to use her life experiences in inspiring young girls to plan and pursue their goals. She is Jennifer Barimah.
Addo Janart Fareed is the name. My name is derived from the Arabian name Jannah Fidousphareed. Which means Unique flower form Heaven. I am 20 years of age, born and nurtured in Ghana. I hail from Enyia Denkyira in the Central Region and a proud descent of the Asona Clan, a warrior by birth. I am currently a student of Miami University, Oxford, OH majoring in International Relations and Affairs. I hope to become the First Female Un president and be a loving and renowned leader. My philosophy for life is that: the sky is never the limit, explore the horizons that lies beyond it. I believe in God and myself to be the very change I want to see in this world and the next. My long-term goal is to fight for female rights to education and support Kids with Autism. These are only achievable if I am voted and chosen as Miss Ghana USA 2017, hence, my reason for competing.
The gracious nation of Ghana was built upon gold and salt, which fueled much prosperity. Not only was the nation built upon material luxury, but also it was further built upon hope, promise, and strength. Natives of this nation are indeed people of favor, all possessing futures that shine as brightly as the gold that adorns the royal Asantehene of the land. Miss Ghana USA, too, is a person of much favor. As a native of the Ghanaian land, I indeed walk a life of favor. Originally born in Kumasi, Ghana, I was raised in the inner city of Newark, NJ, USA. My amazing parents had the difficult task of raising four beautiful daughters in a crime- and poverty-ridden city. However, this did not stop my reach for success. I am currently a scholarship- winning sophomore studying Public Policy, Law, and Human Rights at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. At only 20 years old, I have traveled through the United States, and abroad. I have won numerous leadership awards and excelled in academics throughout my educational career. I have landed highly competitive opportunities such as the ongoing opportunity to intern for Audible.com (an Amazon Company). Such successes are expected of an immigrant child whose parents have come to the great nation of the United States of America for nothing but excellence.
Recently, my successes have expanded into humanitarian efforts. In the summer of 2016, I landed the opportunity to volunteer for three weeks with Saha Global, a non-profit organization that implements sustainable methods of water purification and sources of solar energy to numerous villages in Tamale, Ghana. This organization simultaneously promotes the empowerment of African women, as women are chosen by their villages to run the water and solar businesses that have been implemented to increase suitable living for members of the village communities. Nelson Mandela once stated, “As long as poverty, injustice, and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.” Indeed, I could not rest once I returned to the United States. As I reflect on my experience in Tamale, I am absolutely convinced that I have the duty to spread awareness about the issues that continue to plague humanity, such as the issue of contaminated drinking water. I have considered it a personal responsibility to use my God-given gifts of public speaking and lucid writing to shed light on issues that negatively impact communities all over the world, particularly third world countries such as Ghana. Poverty, injustice, and inequality are all forms of suffering that not a single one of God’s creations deserves to endure. The members of the Tamale community I worked in all suffer, yet simply because of the inability to access a basic human right to clean water.
Many Ghanaians are still dying from being forced to drink water contaminated with cholera, E-coli, and fecal matter. Children are dying of diarrhea, parents are mourning their inability to harvest crops to feed their families, and the elderly are frequently hospitalized for intestinal illnesses, which further deplete families of the small income they earn from farming. Suffering extends across all of humanity, but it takes several different forms. As for myself, my suffering has been centered in the dynamic of my family. Growing up in a domestically violent home challenged me, as the oldest of four daughters. Hence, I believe I am a walking testimony to tenacity. My parents, who immigrated with one dream to provide a life of abundant happiness and financial opportunity for their precious daughters, were faced with great adversities. This could have been expected to destroy a vibrant dream. Yet, my family was and continues to be held together by God’s grace, which is evident by the miracles that have encouraged me, my sisters, and my parents to keep working towards the fulfilling life that we dream of. From the youngest born—Libby—having been born during the night of a major hurricane, to government and legal intervention, to emergency financial assistance, to health complications, to sudden deaths and many more, countless occurrences of gut-wrenching events have pushed me to cling to faith.
Of course the suffering I have endured do not compare to that of individuals living in Tamale. However, suffering in itself connects me to them, on a silver thread. I am able to recognize that although many Ghanaians suffer as consequence of colonial history, there is still opportunity for upward mobility and socio-economic growth. Hence, I aim to create a platform that promotes the awareness of the importance of consuming purified water and the dangers of contamination. One would believe such sanitation education is wide-spread in Ghana, but unfortunately more citizens need to be educated on how the quality of a person’s health and life-expectancy can vary based on something as simple as consuming clean water. In fact, according to Safe Water Network, more than 40 percent of Ghana’s 25 million population are denied access to purified water. This is indeed a troubling violation of a basic human right, as we know that water is what life depends and thrives on. As many in my country suffer, I too have suffered which connects the core of my being to theirs. I am moved to go beyond continuing sanitation education efforts. I further would like to promote the importance of self-advocacy. I aim to motivate Ghanaian citizens to voice their opinions on the many changes needed in the nation, including more access to clean water facilities. This can take form in monthly town hall meetings that do not include just the upper-elite, but rather include ordinary Ghanaians, many of whom are underrepresented in government. Fortunately, with the plans new President Nana Akufo-Addo has to prosper the nation, there is much hope that the voices of everyday citizens can bring more urgency to enacting economic, political, and social change in the great land of Ghana. Again, with one commonality of suffering connecting me to those struggling in Ghana, the other commonality of favor connects us even more. According to Psalm 5:12, so long as we live in righteousness, the Lord’s favor protects us like a shield through all our endeavors. I believe many Ghanaians are walking in righteousness yet many of those in positions of authority may not have the same focus, and this has led to the neglect of the common people and a widened gap between the poor and wealthy.
Fortunately, as many and I are clinging to faith, we will indeed reap triumph. I believe this because my story is one of suffering and triumph, and it is an ongoing cycle. Life is not just one uphill battle rather a series of battles and cycles of highs and lows—events of joy and sorrow. So long as we press forward with the good Lord our God, we will make the most out of the life we are living. Whether living in cities across America or villages across Ghana, there is a silver thread—or should I say silver lining—that runs through us all. This silver lining exists because we exist. The mere existence of our lives is God’s clearest sign that He is not finished using us to fulfill His purpose on this Earth. The true focus is to advocate for the equality, justice, and sustainable living for all people. This is the grand purpose, and fulfilling this can take several different forms, such as the forms in which I plan to advocate. Again, although my suffering is nothing equivalent to those in Tamale, suffering in itself unites humanity. If I can use my suffering to motivate myself to seek the prosperous life I am called to live, I know others can as well. Yet, sometimes one cannot find such motivation on his or her own. Sometimes one needs a push to take that leap of faith.
Miss Ghana USA is that push. I believe I am that push. I am that young woman who sacrifices and will continue to sacrifice my own comfort and convenience for the progression of other lives. I am that young woman who encourages you to keep pressing forward, to have hope in healing, and to search for a resolution to your suffering. That resolution will always be God Almighty, through every single season of suffering: “And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10. Keep pushing. I am right here with you. Miss Ghana USA is not simply a beauty queen. Her external beauty is a physical manifestation of God’s grace and goodness. Yet, the inward substance this woman holds is what places her in a position of true favor. She has experienced the depths and heights of life, all while holding onto her faith. She has recognized problems in her homeland and seeks to serve her country by wisely putting her great knowledge and resources to work. Miss Ghana USA is determined, driven, focused, and hopeful. All of these qualities shall guide her in fulfilling her purpose to further educate and serve the Ghanaian people. I believe I am called to fulfill this purpose.
2017 OFFICIAL PRODUCT SPONSORS
Nhyira is a native of Saltpond, Central Region, Ghana. A fashion designer. She studied Visual Arts in High School and went on to study Marketing in Central University College. She is a Professional Fashion Designer who specializes in Fashion Accessories (Necklaces and Bracelets) with numerous years Experience.
As a growing child she has always been Fascinated by Creativity. She's had experience with creating patterns for fabrics and tie and dye materials. After Graduating from University she proceeded to work at Enterprise Group Limited. She left Enterprise to start her own Fashion Design Company which is now known as Nhyira's Collections.
Nhyira Specializes in Beaded Necklaces and Fabric Necklaces. Her Unique Creativity has gained much attention from Necklace-Lovers in Ghana, other African countries, Europe and the U.S. Nhyira continues to build her client list and is poised to being a Reputable Fashion Company in the coming Years.
Facebook: Nhyira's Collections
Naa Lamley Kouture is a Ghanaian based fashion house with a potential to spread across the world.In four years the brands passion for fashion has gotten stronger making the label a fashion favorite.The brand is devoted to making distinctive garments; delivering on time is our hallmark and customer satisfaction is key.
We make tailor made garments taking into consideration the silhouette of our clients.We like to be versatile; therefore, we work with both African print and foreign fabrics: fusing the two to create a unique design.
Contact us on
The PINK Outlet is a mother and daughter teamed clothing line located in Maryland, USA- specializing in high-entailed embroidery and custom designs.
This is a highly classified brand, bridging the fashion scene with afro-infused and Western fabrics.
CONTACT VIA FACEBOOK The Pink Outlet OR EMAIL ME
Red Sau specializes in unique and high quality ankara/African print accessories including bow ties, clutch purses, earrings, and other African jewellery/jewelry. All their ankara/African products are hand-made with tonnes of motherland love. We pride ourselves in unique products of exceptional quality
About the owner, Tafadzwa Majaya: The CEO always had this thing about exploring things on his own which led to plenty of life lessons. Growing up, he had much to learn and still do; therefore, tried his hands on many things but failed at quite a number of those; yet never considered himself a failure... rather, a learner. He states that, "I get better and wiser as I go. The quest for more is part of why I started Red Sau when I moved to Canada. It has always been a calling, a fire burning inside me. I love fashion because it is the language of self-expression amidst a world of conformity. My art is something inspired by the continent of my birth: Africa. It lives in me, day in, day out. Red Sau is meant to inspire and bring out the confident individual, unapologetic about who they are."
Facebook- facebook.com/Red-Sau-905881836215794 Instagram- instagram.com/redsauhq Website- redsau.com Etsy- etsy.com/shop/redsau
Studio D’Maxsi by Afua Sam is a Washington, D.C. based Fashion Couture House, providing versatile, high fashion couture with the frequent use of bold colors, striking patterns, diverse shapes and a wide array of textures. Studio D'Maxsi's collections are universal and celebrate confident women.
Studio D’Maxsi is a renowned design brand with reckon to heighten the world of Fashion globally.