THE WINNER of the 2021 Miss Ireland has been announced and for the first time in history has been awarded to a black woman.
Pamela Uba, who was crowed Miss Galway back in 2020, moved to Ireland from South Africa when she was just seven-years-old.
She lived in direct provisions for a decade before going on to graduate with a master’s degree from Trinity College in clinical chemistry.
The 26-year-old now works on the frontline in Galway University Hospital.
Speaking to the Irish Independent about her historic win, Pamela said: "It was a surreal experience and I’m so delighted. I couldn’t believe this actually happened.
"Even being Miss Galway for a year and a half, it was a long time coming, I thought the pageant would never happen.
"I am so happy and the outcome is amazing."
She explained what life was like in direct provision, and how she always strived to make something of herself when she had so little.
"It was 10 years of my life, and it’s 10 years that you’re left in a standstill, you don’t know if you’re ever going to get out of it or what life is going to be," she said.
"At the time, the rules of going to college and working were that you couldn’t really do either so it’s very hard, especially on young girls.
"Because they finish secondary school and they look at themselves and think what’s next?
"But there’s nothing really next for them then, so they have kids really young, and I knew that that’s not what I wanted – I wanted more for my life so I really pushed to get there."
Pamela has been working on the frontline throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, and even had to contend with the HSE cyber attack back in May.
"It was so tough, you’re dealing with the pandemic, your normal work and then dealing with a cyber attack," she explained.
"I found myself running results to hospital wards when everything went down just to keep the service up and make sure patients got their results, so I think I did 35,000 steps in one day."