By Surihe Gaomas
Teased for her owl-shaped eyes when she was small, Marichen Luiperth loves her Damara delicacy of donkey meat and pap and masks her subtle shyness with a serious facial persona.
Well, believe or not, in a nutshell, this is how one would describe the recently crowned Miss Namibia 2007, Marichen Yolande Luiperth.
“Just call me Chen,” said the well-spoken 21-year-old giving a firm handshake and gently taking a seat in the New Era newsroom for an interview last week.
With an occasional smile, as she starts introducing herself, she gives off an aura of strong determination and friendliness.
“If you want to reach or accomplish something in life, let no-one or anything stand in your way. I will work hard and make Namibians proud,” said the young beauty clasping a bottle of water in her hands.
With this ambitious zeal Luiperth, who originates from Swakopmund, is eager to boldly pursue her first plans as Miss Namibia – that of addressing the plight of orphans and vulnerable children in the country.
“I am looking for a prompt and robust response from donors and the public in donating clothes and blankets for orphans during the winter period,” she said taking a sip of water.
Sitting upright with her legs crossed, Luiperth feels that there is still a dire need out there for orphans and vulnerable children, especially during the chilly winter nights, when not so many of them have the comfort of climbing into a warm bed.
“We are all not fortunate and there are still many children out there in the cold,” stressed Luiperth, raising her eyebrows and revealing her warm smile and lovely eyes.
That is not all she has up her sleeve to serve as a positive role model and ambassador of this country during her year-long reign.
“My long-term target would be to look into the growing challenge of unemployment. As a young public figure, whom many young people will look up to, I want to launch employment awareness campaigns by looking at the needs of school dropouts in finding ways to employ themselves,” said Luiperth.
After all the glitz and glamour of being crowned Miss Namibia 2007 about a week ago, many might be wondering about who in fact Marichen Yolande Luiperth is?
Well, Marichen, or “Chen” as she is nicknamed by those who know her, was born and raised in the dusty streets of Tamariskia, in Swakopmund. Born on December 17, 1985, she is the second child from a family of five siblings and matriculated at Namib High School in 2002.
“I had a very strict upbringing,” said the young woman reflecting back on her school days. “I was almost in trouble with my mother one day when she found a love letter in my room which a boy in my class wrote to me. Oh, my… I will never forget that day, because such things were not allowed when we were small. But when I look back at the situation now, I believe it was for my own good, to pursue my studies and to be responsible,” said Luiperth.
During her school years, she was teased for having big eyes like an owl. And yet it is a combination of her good looks including her lovely eyes, her intelligence and modelling experience that has taken her so far in life.
From the confident strides she makes on the catwalks it becomes obvious that modelling is second nature to Miss Namibia. She got involved in a number of fashion shows and beauty pageants when she was already 12 years old. Among them, Miss Barbie in 1997, Miss Valentine, Miss Malaika in 2004 and the Pan African-International Fashion Show and was crowned Miss Erongo, Miss Tamariskia and in 2005 Miss Unam.
Just recently, she was selected out of a bevy of nine other contestants at the glitzy Miss Namibia event on May 9. Luiperth gave her best performance, but it never crossed her mind that she would take the crown.
“It was so unexpected that I did not know whether to cry or smile. Till now I am still settling into the crown bestowed upon me,” she said raising her eyebrows and taking another sip of the bottled water.
“I feel that I am still floating, but in actual fact I am very honoured for being crowned Miss Namibia and hope to serve the title to the best of my ability during my reign,” said the shy-spoken woman.
Although she is naturally a very shy person and loves her privacy, getting involved in several beauty pageants has made her come out of her shell and taught her to take on life boldly. In fact, it was her mother Renathe Luiperth who encouraged her to enrol for Miss Namibia this year.
“My mother is my role model because she’s always been there for me and has made me who I am today,” she added affectionately.
Soon after completing her Diploma in Information Studies in May, Luiperth was job-hunting when suddenly the Miss Namibia Beauty Pageant competition came up. She grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
Her schedule has been tight. She moves from one interview to the next and her mobile constantly rings as friends and family members congratulate her.
“I have not settled down yet. People are calling me from all over and my friends in Swakop told me that they want to organise a big congratulations welcome when I come home,” she said with smile.
But before all that, Luiperth is getting ready for the challenges that lie ahead of her as Miss Namibia 2007.
When asked whether there’s someone special in her love life, her smooth face creased into a shy smile and she whispered: “It’s my secret!”
Facts about Miss Namibia 2007 Marichen Luiperth
– Favourite colour: Black
– Favourite food: Donkey Meat and Pap
– Favourite Drink: Pepsi
– Best Movie: Pearl Harbour