Grace Msalame is an experienced journalist who has worked for various media stations and established herself as a force to reckon with. She is also one of the curviest women that Kenya has ever produced.
This week, the Ugandan tourism ministry had a foot in mouth moment when the minister said the country’s voluptuous women should be classified as a tourist attraction. The statement came a day after the explosive curvy vs slim chics challenge that trended on Twitter on Wednesday.
Ugandan Tourism minister Godfrey Kiwanda said the country was blessed with well-endowed women who should be used to promote its tourism.
As if the statement was not bad enough, the ministry organised a Miss Curvy Uganda contest and whose photo was used in the marketing material calling for voluptuous girls to register? You guessed it – Grace Msalame.
Grace was not amused by the ‘theft’ of her photo and moreover, what she described as the objectification of women’s bodies.
Grace, who is a mother of two, released a statement on her Twitter account saying she was unaware of any Miss Curvy campaign. She wrote:
I take great exception to the fact that my image and likeness are being used to propagate, disseminate and encourage the objectification of women’s bodies. I do not endorse or agree with such a message.
The statement also read:
Miss Curvy Uganda’s deliberate and calculated use of my image and likeliness to promote and encourage violation of women’s bodies has defamed my character and reputation, damaged a brand I have worked for many years to establish, and subjected me to unwarranted and undeserved cyber bullying.
There have been rumours circulating online that she had sued seeking Sh1 billion in damages from the ministry. Contacted for comment, Grace said she was appalled by the “mischaracterisation” of what she wanted from the ministry. She explained:
What I did is that I released a statement dissociating myself and my brand from that process. Secondly, my lawyer sent them a letter telling them to dissociate my brand from whatever their agenda is.
She also clarified on the issue of demanding money from the Ugandan Tourist Board, saying:
I am not demanding any money. I don’t want anyone’s money. I want to be dissociated and an apology.
On whether she was flattered that the Ugandans had chosen, possibly unknowingly, to use her as the face of their campaign, she said,
No, it’s not a good thing, I don’t need that. I am ok without it.