The popular saying goes like “behind every successful man is a woman” but the script is the other way around for Menaye Donkor-Muntari whose husband, footballer, Sulley Muntari was the driving force behind her taking charge of the Miss Universe Ghana franchise.
Organisers of this year’s Miss Universe Ghana, MALZ Promotions, have been praised for the excellent event they put up, which was also pleasantly scandal free and most of the credit is going to Menaye, for taking up the challenge. Perhaps though, some of the credit should be reserved for Sulley.
She tells Graphic Showbiz, “Sulley was actually the one who pushed me to take up the franchise which had been dormant for about two to three years. He said, ‘Menaye, I don’t see anyone doing this other than you, so go for it,” she said.
With that vote of confidence, Menaye who is a former Miss Universe (2004), started the process to acquire it. Using the good relationship she had with the Miss Universe organisation as a buffer, she got in touch and after a meeting or two in New York, the franchise was hers.
That support from her husband is not one sided though as Menaye has also been supportive of Sulley throughout his career and many club changes. “We are there for each other. I go to most of his games and support other things he does and he also does same for me.”
After acquiring the rights, the next stage was how to conduct the pageant to ensure it was given the shine it needed. “My team and I had two months to plan everything. We had some options to consider; one was whether to handpick a queen and the other was to go through a process, like the whole nine yards and select the best candidate,” she said.
The investment into this second option was big but she is happy at how everything turned out. For a first timer, one would have expected a lot of challenges but it was done with a great deal of ease and as Miss Universe Ghana 2017, Ruth Quashie puts it, it was near perfect.
Menaye said the challenge was mainly with proving herself. “People were watching to see what the new directorship had to offer and I needed to prove it was not all talk,” she explained.
Taking up this new role means she will have to spend a lot of time shuttling between Ghana and her husband’s base in Italy but it’s nothing new as she has been making frequent trips to Ghana to get raw materials for her skin care line which she sells abroad. She has plans to launch an affordable luxury line in Ghana soon.
On whether this won’t be too much for her son, Jamal, Menaye says no. “He is used to travelling. I started travelling with him when he was four months old.”
She said laughingly, “he knows mommy needs to work. I think he understands because when I was pregnant with him, I was working and I used to talk to him about work. I think every pregnant woman needs to communicate with her unborn child, it really helps when they are born. Being a mother has brought my life full circle and I love that.”
Next year, the Miss Universe Ghana brand is hoping to go big. MALZ Promotions owned by Menaye hopes to work with a bigger budget and make tourism a key focus. They hope to partner with the Ministry of Tourism and other key stakeholders to market the country’s tourist sites.
“Many Ghanaians do not know their own country well. I mean foreigners seem to know the country better than we do. We will visit the regions and package the sights beautifully,” she stated.
They are currently working on grooming the new queen, Ruth Quashie for the global Miss Universe pageant slated for November.