In Conversation with: Andile Mpofu
My name is Andile Mpofu, tMiss Africa Washington State and Miss Zimbabwe USA 2016-2017. I am 24 year old Zimbabwean and the daughter of Nhlanhla and Thandekile Mpofu, sister to Bathule Mpofu. I am currently a business economics major at North Park University, Chicago. Other than being in pageants I also do humanitarian work in Zimbabwe. For example partnering with NGOs to help pay for tuition and all provide basic necessities for underprivileged children.
When was your first beauty pageant?
It was when I was eight, my mother being my first and best pageant coach. I remember my first competition being through Edgars, the clothing store. I did this for a little while when I was young, but with school coming into play I took a step back, to focus more on my schooling. In High School I also did pageantry, but never won one.
It could have been a reason to stop, but I did not. When I came to the US a friend of mine reached out during the Miss Zimbabwe USA contestants hunt. The first time I said no because I did not think I was going to win. I just thought it's competition and I'm just needed to be part of the competition, but I'm clearly going to lose just as I had lost all the other pageants in high school. So, the first year I did not compete but then the second year it became less of me being in my feelings about losing and more of who I wanted to be and wanted to do for others.
I have always wanted to be the reason why somebody makes it in life. Zimbabwe is a financially and economically challenged country where the average person is probably below the poverty line in other countries. Even the average income does not get you through in Zimbabwe let alone be able to send your kids to school, feed yourself, feed others, pay rent, etc. I know how it is not to have, so I want to give and be the reason why the other person celebrates. I looked at the big picture and thought how can I make this happen, that's when I got into pageantry. I wanted others to look at me and see where I have come from and believe in themselves that they too can do it. So, the journey began.
What/Who cant you live without?
I have definitely learnt that I cannot live without God. To me he is the beginning and the end and everything in between. Men and things come and go. but God will still remain until the end of times. He's there when I am lost in the dark closets and he is there when I'm shining upon the stage in public. So, it is only God that I clearly, cannot live without.
The most important lesson has life taught you
I would definitely say one of the greatest lessons that I have learned with growing up is no one will ever have your back the way you will have your back. Grow up be strong and courageous not only for those around you, but for yourself because no one will hold you down the way you will hold yourself down when you need to be held down. Above all give thanks!
How would your friends and family describe you?
Oh wow this is a multi answer question. I have heard all kinds of descriptions when it comes to me, but the one that I have heard the most is: Andile is a talkative, open minded and friendly person. I think that would also describe me as a support base, the kind of person that will get you through. The one who even when she is freaking out will never show you because you. I tend to think that people see me as a diva, (a good polite diva). I have also been told that I'm pretty sarcastic, I don't even mean to, but I guess it's just comes out.
What is your song at the moment?
One, only one! I cannot give only one I can give two, three, four, five, six maybe lol. I would definitely say when I'm going through hard times, Trust In You by Anthony Brown is my go to song. If I am on some let's get it down "turn down for who, for what" type of thing my default is going to be house music that moves me from the inside out.
When are you happiest?
I am happiest when I am with family. Two, when I am on stage competing. Three, when I am giving. Four, when I'm traveling.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Growing up I wanted to be a doctor. LOL I really did not want to be a doctor, I thought I could maybe be an air hostess just so I can get to travel a lot.
If you could give up anything for a year what would it be and why?
If I could give up one thing for you it would definitely be social media. I love social media don't get me wrong, but it really does stress me out, like a lot.
What is your guilty pleasure?
It definitely has to be Taro boba tea with tapioca balls. It is a Taiwanese tea-based drink invented in Taichung in the 1980s. Is the best thing I have ever had. I can drink it everyday anytime and never get tired of it.
What are your fondest memories of growing up in Zimbabwe?
For me it's the memories I created around my mom, dad and sister, now that we a separated by distance. I hold on to those memories and relive the moments. I have grown to be a grounded person with principles because of all those lessons I learned growing up in Zimbabwe.
What advice would you give to those who aspiring for what you have achieved in life so far?
Never look at where you are or where you've come from keep focused on the goal, look at where you're going don't look back and don't look sideways. There's never going to be the right time for you to get started, just get started today you might fall, but be quick to get up and keep moving for the journey is long. I come from humble beginnings but I'm not going to humble beginnings and that's what matters and that's what should matter to you too. Do not be discouraged by where you've been or how you started be encouraged by where you are going and how you're progressing.
How would you like to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as the life filled Andile. The one who dared to dream and lived a dream. The one who did not have much but, gave anyways, the one who did not have to, but did it for others anyways!