Ashley Wanjiru Mungai is the daughter of Tery Mungai, the founder, and director of Ashleys Kenya who also holds the license for the Miss World Franchise-Kenya.
Ashley is the last born in a family of three siblings, with the other two being boys. In a past interview, Terry Mungai revealed that she named her cosmetics business empire after a “daughter she desired to have.”
“I am attached to Ashleys not only as my brainchild that opened in 1994, but because I named it after a daughter I desired to have. Interestingly, I miraculously gave birth to my last-born three years later and named her Ashley,” said Terry.
At 20 years of age, and with her mum running the Miss World beauty pageant for 15 years, Ashely has been heavily involved in the pageant all her life.
She was also part of Team Kenya during the just-concluded Miss World beauty pageant in China where the Kenya representative, Magline Jeruto, flew the Kenyan flag high.
Ashely spoke to Pulse about her passion, studies, and the prospect of taking over her mother’s multi-million business empire.
You were part of Team Kenya during the just-concluded Miss World beauty pageant in China where the Kenya representative performed impressively. What was your role?
I have always loved the Miss World pageant as it has married both my passion for modelling and fashion. Having been involved as a judge during the Miss World Kenya finals, let’s say I was very enthusiastic to see how Magline Jeruto, our girl, would perform in Sanya, China.
You have literally followed the Miss World beauty pageant all your life…
Yes. With my mum having run the pageant for 15 years and I having been named after her beauty enterprise Ashleys, the Miss World pageant has naturally been part of my life and I have always been part of it, whether I am helping in organising or simply following. Since I was seven, I have grown with the Miss World franchise and it is now part of my dream as I believe in its vision.
Does that mean you are set to take over from your mother when she retires?
I wouldn’t mind that; she is my mentor and I love the fact that she works so hard and with passion. She sacrifices a lot to make this work and for that too, I respect her.
Out of all those Miss World Kenya crown holders, can you single out who has been your favourite?
They have all been unique in their own ways and the memories are great. Whether I am helping in training one on a dance, designing costumes or shopping, every moment counts.
How did you end up at Warwick in the United Kingdom to study law? Rumour had it you were headed to the United States…
Well, I realised that UK, being a Commonwealth country like Kenya would be an appropriate place to study law as I would come home and practice. I applied and got accepted at Warwick University.
I chose law because ever since we started our charity in northern Samburu, my passion has always been activism for the rights of the girl child. I believe the best way to fight for those rights was within a legal framework as a lawyer or human rights activist. This is actually part of what Miss World – Beauty with a Purpose advocates for.
At such a tender age, you are now the Warwick University Summit president. How did you clinch that?
I attended the summit last year and made good friends. I loved how the conference helps bring out real issues about Africa with a positive approach. So when applications opened for the executive roles I applied and the rest is history.
Congrats. That is not a mean feat. What does this role entail?
I thank God. I must say that I have the opportunity of being the first female president of the Warwick Africa Summit. The conference brings together over 500 delegates, world leaders and industry movers and shakers to Warwick University to talk about the potential of Africa, her strengths and how we as the youth can be part of a sustainable and progressive future. My role entails coordinating a team of over 30 people in putting together both the summit and the gala.
How do you coordinate all these activities?
It is all about planning. I haven’t even told you that I have a part time job that I do for charity, plus participation in church.
You sound quite like the serious type; all work and no play…
Not really. I actually love singing and dancing.
You love singing?
Yes, I love it. Actually I am in the worship team in church and even the children’s choir director here in the UK. It is kind of the place I feel most free and happy.
That is what makes you happy, right?
If I can put a smile on somebody’s face then I’m happy.