AFTER she was finally given her spoils from her victory in last yeara��s Miss Tourism Zimbabwe pageant, many have been wondering how the countrya��s newest beauty queen, Ashley Morgen, was going to spend her loot.
In a ceremony held late last month, Morgen was finally given the $20 000 she won for the crown, the $2 500 she pocketed for winning the popular vote in the Peoplea��s Choice competition and a Toyota Vitz which organisers announced was also hers for keeps.
In such a strained economy, $22 500 is nothing to sneeze at especially for a 22-year-old and many would be willing Morgen to spend or invest her gains wisely.
If she did not, she would not be the first young starlet who let slip a chance at a secure financial future after her 15 minutes of fame are up.
Showbiz history in Zimbabwe is littered with the stories of once great young people who had the world at their feet who, instead of going for goal, dribbled their way into financial insolvency.
Morgen, a National University of Science and Technology student, is trying to follow a different script.
a�?Ia��ve had my heart set on one particular thing for a very long time and Ia��m close to attaining it, hopefully in a few weeksa�� time all the pieces would have fallen to place. So Ia��m currently working on it and praying that God sees me through and only then will l share the details as I dona��t want to jinx it,a�? she said in an interview.
While some might have found it prudent to pick the brains of some wise heads in the world of finance, Morgen says that her brains trust consisted mainly of her family, who have her ear in all financial issues because of their own business success.
a�?I havena��t had any professional financial advice. My parents are guiding me. Theya��ve done well for themselves so l trust they will help me achieve my financial goals,a�? she said.
Financial advice has not been the only advice she has been getting however, as she says that there has been a stampede by those close to her to offer wise words.
a�?Trust me on this one when l say everybody l know has had something to say, Ia��ve received a lot of advice concerning a whole different subjects from different angles be it socially, professionally, spiritually, politically, physically and l truly appreciate it,a�? she said.
The chocolate-skinned Morgen, who won the crowd way before the winner was announced at last yeara��s pageant, said that she was not letting the money and fame get to her head, as she still prioritised her education above all else.
a�?Ia��ve always been taught school comes first before everything else so since my first competition l always made sure l leave my house in order before committing to a competition. I have a very wonderful support system from my family, the school and friends whom l go to for advice and ideas when l feel Ia��m stuck and they always pull through in helping me create a balance in my life. The key is planning beforehand and with that being said Ia��m glad to say so far so good,a�? she said.
Now back in the lecture rooms at Nust for a new semester, Morgen said she had taken time to reflect on her remarkable journey.
a�?Life is still normal. I was recently hit by the a�?back to schoola�? wave which stands as a reminder of how it all started. Ia��m getting a little more attention and stares but Ia��m sure it comes with the job. I believe l havena��t changed as a person and l dona��t intend to,a�? she said.