Meet Enanga Ndolo, a 27-year-old pageant queen, coach, and national director from Buea, Cameroon. She is also the CEO of the Ndolo Beauty Empire cosmetics brand and a beauty, travel, and fashion content creator.
Her pageant career began in 2014 when she was named Miss Catholic University Buea. In 2016, with the support of her family and friends, Enanga began traveling to participate in pageants around the world.
“I wanted to represent Cameroon and make sure my country was on the map in the pageant world,” says Enanga, who went on to win numerous crowns and titles, including Miss Tourism Cameroon and Miss Supermodel Africa.
The beauty pageant industry has opened the door to many opportunities for Enanga, including her positions as a national pageant director and pageant coach.
Her career has taken her to countries like Malaysia, Taiwan, India, and the Philippines, to name a few, as well as her current home, Thailand, which she relocated to in 2018. Enanga admits that there are things about the country she is still getting used to.
“There were many cultural shocks,” she told Travel Noire. “Thai people take off their shoes when entering places, and they sit on the floor. I would say I have not fully adjusted to that yet.”
“Also, Thai is one of the most difficult languages I have come across. With time I’ve gotten better, but I’m definitely still learning. I can speak Thai with about forty percent fluency now.”
Aside from those things, however, Enanga says she is well acclimated to Thailand and enjoys living in such a safe and beautiful country.
“Thailand is known as the land of smiles, and it truly is. Thai people are very supportive, kind, and respectful, and love people of all skin tones.”
Still, there’s no place like home.
“In Thailand and many of the other countries I’ve visited, they have made me feel quite special with the kindness and respect they show. But the feeling I get when home in Africa, I don’t get anywhere else.”
“I miss it for sure. It’s so much easier to communicate. I miss my family and friends, and I miss the food from Cameroon. Eru, kwacoco, and mbanga soup–there are so many Cameroonian dishes I crave.”
Enanga hopes to visit home soon, but in the meantime she will continue to represent Cameroon and Africa worldwide, something she does with the utmost pride.
“As a Black pageant queen, it’s an honor to represent an image of Black beauty. A lot of people have never met or have little to no knowledge about Black people.”
“They may never have traveled or may live in a place where Black visitors are uncommon, for example, Taiwan, where children stared at me, or the Philippines, where they were incredibly racist towards me and my friends.”
“I understand that these people are unenlightened and shocked to see a sight they may have never seen before. I feel that it is my duty to educate them and also show them that people of all skin tones are kind and beautiful.”
Enanga says Black pageant contestants are extremely supportive of one another and form a special bond that goes beyond pageants.
“We become sisters. It’s all love right from the beginning and communication between us is so easy. After the pageants we all keep this bond strong by forming an empowering and uplifting community.”
Traveling and participating in pageants across the world has benefited Enanga in several ways.
“It has helped shaped my mindset. I’ve learned to appreciate and respect different cultures and have come across opportunities I otherwise wouldn’t have.”