Miss Ethnic Iban is a pageant which showcases the beauties from the Iban tribes in Sarawak, Borneo. This category originates from the annual Kumang Gawai conducted at different levels all over Borneo in conjunction with the harvest festival which is called Gawai Dayak in Sarawak.
Today, the pageant is even held outside of the Gawai Dayak celebration and would be named after the grand festival playing host to the pageant such as Kumang Pesta Benak.
The organizers of Borneo Hornbill Festival has adopted the term Miss Sarawak Ethnic Iban after discovering that there are continuous issues arising from the term Kumang especially the general perception of an 'original' Iban costume which deserves to win the title.
At Borneo Hornbill Festival, our objective is to promote the discoveries of ancient customs and the exploration of cultural diversity. Traditional ethnic costumes have undergone a continuous evolution due to external influences, creativity and imagination of the civilization. We encourage participants to conduct researches about their own culture so they may understand the stages of change experienced by their ancestors.
As long as they are able to explain the costumes that they are exhibiting and how it was worn in whichever era, their costumes deserve the high mark just like any other costume known to be 'genuine'. Gone are the days when a groups so called 'keepers of tradition' dictate how a traditional costume should look like. That is an insult to Borneo's cultural diversity.
Adopting the title Miss Sarawak Ethnic Iban also gives the organizers more room to define the judging criteria and effectively implement their own theme throughout the pageant. This year's theme is Cultural Diversity and Biodiversity while in 2013, it was Cultural Tourism and Conservation of Wildlife and Nature.
Interested to participate? Check out our audition dates and terms & conditions below.