Irish beauty-pageant history was made at an outdoor ceremony in Cavan on Sunday night when Pamela Uba, a 26-year-old medical scientist, became the first black woman to be crowned Miss Ireland in a contest that has been running since 1947.

“It means so much to me,” a delighted Uba says. “I am so grateful I can show girls that colour is not something that holds you back and it doesn’t matter where you come from, the world is your oyster.”

Uba is a part-time model who worked on the frontline during the pandemic. She came to Ireland as an asylum seeker from Johannesburg, in South Africa, when she was seven. “I remember thinking it was strange that I couldn’t hear gunshot when I arrived,” she says. The eldest of six siblings, she grew up in the direct-provision system and is now a “very proud” Irish citizen. “I cried when I got my Irish passport.”


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