Throughout the 13-week period of this beauty pageant, which was aired on GTV and TV Africa, Berla exuded confidence, charisma, charm and queenly qualities which appealed to me. Everything about her, especially her mannerism and gesticulation, was very refined. And this was as far back as “2010” when she was just an ‘ordinary’ undergraduate student of the University of Ghana – my alma mater (Wink! Wink!).
Each week, the delegates (as the Miss Malaika contestants are called) were assigned tasks to perform and afterwards one of them adjudged as the winner by the astute judges, namely Mary-Anne Sekyi and Mrs. Kay Bentsi-Enchill, with a guest judge chosen specially for each week’s task.
During the contest, Berla emerged winner in two of the tasks – “Miss Photogenic” and “Miss Catwalk”. For winning the “Miss Photogenic” task, her photograph was splashed across the front page of the Graphic Showbiz newspaper published on Thursday, September 23 of that same year (2010). Out of admiration for her, I decided to archive my personal copy of that “issue” of the Graphic Showbiz, which is still neatly tucked in my newspaper archives.
There were 16 ladies gunning for the coveted crown, car and all the goodies that came with the Miss Malaika prize, and Berla was the one I was rooting for. She was simply peerless among her peers. But alas, she placed “3rd” (2nd Runner-Up) in the finals, which was equally a great feat.
Unlike most of the 2010 Miss Malaika contestants, Berla didn’t fade into oblivion after the pageant. She boldly stepped into the slippery world of “Show Business” (ShowBiz), and since that time I have been religiously following every step of this stunningly beautiful Ghanaian damsel named Berlinda “Berla” Addardey (where from the “Mundi” at all? LOL.).
It is interesting to note that, the person who hosted the 2010 Miss Malaika competition was no other person but the ever smiley Naa Ashorkor Mensah-Doku, one of the two MCs Berla co-hosted this year’s Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) with. Following the departure of the long serving host Jessica Opare-Saforo (formerly of Citi FM/TV) in 2010, Naa Ashorkor was given the nod to step in Jessica’s ‘big’ shoes, making her the new host of the Miss Malaika. Small world, huh?
Over the years, Berla has grown to become a formidable media practitioner in the country, carving a special niche for herself. As a unique ‘fashionista’ (please don’t use “Slay Queen” for Berla! LOL.), she was constantly praised for her good fashion sense, which further endeared her to the masses.
For the average human being, nice clothes make them look good. But for Berla, she rather makes clothes look good. Owing to this, some of her social media followers sometimes take screenshots of her pictures, roving about town looking for similar ones to purchase. Unfortunately, the kind of stylish apparels “Teshie Beyoncé” (as she is affectionately called sometimes) wears, especially when she is on official duties, are as rare as “white tigers”.
At the just ended Ghana Music Awards (do I always have to add “Vodafone”? LOL.), Berla was one of the three MCs for the show. As usual, she looked absolutely resplendent in all the outfits she donned on the night.
But out of the three frocks that she wore, it was the first one that really captured my imagination. This floor-sweeping body-hugging hooded silver garment really accentuated Berla’s perfectly slender physique, and also “tastefully” revealed the hollow between her bosoms which made her looked quite alluring and gorgeous.
For me, this was her best look on the night, and even wished that she never took it off till the end of the event. I was therefore taken aback when I logged in to social media and saw scads of people expressing strong disapproval of this particular attire.
It is no denying the fact that Berla looked extremely “hot” in the silver gown, and could even make “Angel Gabriel” drool excessively like a newborn baby. But “fellow Ghanaians”, don’t we all ‘aspire’ to become the cynosure of all eyes? So what is all this fuss about?
If it was Beyoncé, Rihanna or any of those Hollywood glitterati who had worn this same low-cut dress, I am very sure some of these sanctimonious characters would have been all over social media gushing over their looks. In fact, the “two-faced” attitude of some folks in this country can be very annoying sometimes, and you just don’t know which of their “two faces” to slap (don’t take it literally).
In our part of the world, women are not required to cover up their body from “hair” to “toe”. Here (I mean the “Republic of Ghana”), such draconian and repressive law do not exist and so women turn up in all manner of fashionable clothes, et cetera et cetera.
It is very important for people to understand that, we humans dress according to the weather. If the weather is cold, people would wear dresses that cover every part of their body. However, the reverse is the case if it is warm. If you take socialite Efia Odo (who is well-known for putting on scanty clothing) to “Oymyakon” in Russia, which is the coldest permanently inhabited place on earth, she would always cover up like an Eskimo.
So you see, the way we dress has nothing to do with “morality” and/or “decency”. Those stuff are actually about our character and behaviour.
Berla should not allow anyone out there to moralise her. She should continue to be herself and wear whatever she feels comfortable in. After all, we are not squeaky clean. I hope that one day society realises how inappropriate it is to police and ‘subjugate’ women’s body. Hmmmm….!
No hard feelings, just exercising my right to freedom of speech.
Long live, Berla “Monday”! Oooppppsssss…. Berla “Mundi”!!
By: Eugene Selorm Owusu