The 8th edition of the Miss Grand International came to an end as Ghanaian-American queen Abena Akuaba Appiah was crowned winner. The event took place on Saturday, March 27, 2021, in Show DC Hall in Bangkok, Thailand, making her the first African-American woman to win the prestigious crown.
Miss Grand International pageant is one of the top pageants in the world initiated from Thailand. Each year competing for the crown is 70 contestants from across the globe.
The pageant focuses on empowerment of women and protection of children, health, promotion of tourism and many other charitable causes. Miss Grand International, celebrates “beauty in cultural diversity, hence it offers a beauty of a woman with substance.
The 8th edition event drew Sixty three candidates from around the world to compete for the ultimate crown and Miss Abena who represented the USA put up her best perfor-mance that enabled her qualify to the final 10 stage. Her performance on the night was brilliant and without a doubt she was the most outstanding of the final 10 contestants.
Her beautiful talent performance, evening gown and articulate way of projecting her campaign against bullies was very spectacular on the night and that won the heart of the judges. Top 3 delegates tied in the final round of the competition, so the organizers decided to break it with another question.
Abena’s confidence and experience in competing internationally was clear. Part of her speech was in Thai, which likely gave her plus points with the local crowd. Her outstanding and in-depth response was overwhelming and at the end of the competition she was crowned the new queen by her predecessor Valentina Figuera Miss Grand International 2019.
Abena created history by winning the first Miss Grand International crown for the USA. She bested 63 other women for the title in the global pageant’s eighth edition. The Philippines’Samantha Bernardo was first runner up, while Ivana Batchelor from Guatemala and Aurra Kharishma from Indonesia were second and third runner ups respectively.
At the end of the coronation, this is what she had to say;
“As a queen my aim is to inspire and motivate young women to be the best versions of themselves and to encourage them to follow their dreams and passions. My ultimate goal is to create an organization that helps individuals feel confident after suffering severe bullying”.
Abena has represented Ghana on the international platforms including 2014 Miss Universe, 2015 Top Model of the World, 2016 Queen Beauty Universe, where she took home the crown and became the first Ghanaian to win an international pageant and 2019 Miss Earth pageant in the Philippines where she first grabbed everyone’s when a clip of her interview with ABS-CBN News sparked good laughs when a clip of her went viral. “Ang batang malakas kumain.. may lag may gana!” she said happily. Gana, which is pronounced like Ghana, in Filipino means energy.
She trended online as her brilliant performances won her 6 gold medals in the competition. She won the Best Resort Wear, Best Philippines Terno, Best Long Gown, Best Talent and placed in the top 16 in press presentation. She finished in the semifinals.
Aside from being a queen, Abena is a lady of many talents, she has the looks, the brains and talent. At the age of 9, Abena discovered her musical abilities – singing, songwriting, and playing instruments such as the guitar, recorder and clarinet.
Years later, Appiah joined X Factor and became a finalist but had to drop out of the competition because of a conflict with her exam schedule.
Currently, she has released five singles, three of which are available on Spotify and Apple Music.
Abena is a musical therapist who works with kids with special needs. She utilizes music as a form of therapy that guides them to learn life skills.
She works also as a case manager in a mediations and arbitrations firm in the USA.
She also runs a school that helps young women develop skills for the entertainment industry. She plans to open a chapter in the US soon.
Abena is a model and has participated in top fashion shows both locally and internationally. She has taken part in fashion shows with Contour Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week, Vlisco, Woodin, Da Viva and GTP.
She has also appeared in music videos such as Wake up in the Sky by Gucci Mane, Bruno Mars and Kodak Black and El Anillo by Jennifer Lopez.
Abena believes that everything is possible as long as you believe and are determined to achieve it, no one can stop you. Her philosophy has always been that you are destined to be.