I am a beauty queen; the Ms United Nation Nigeria. I am also a make-up artist and event manager. I hail from Rivers State, Bonny to be precise. My mum is Kalabari. I am an Ijaw woman. I grew up in Port Harcourt and studied Mass Communication at the University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt. I have an advanced diploma in broadcasting and presentation. Currently, I am the executive director for Hope for Single Mothers Initiative. I am also the founder of Girls with a Purpose International Network.
What is Ms Nigeria United Nation all about?
It is a very unique pageant with different categories. You have the Miss, the Mrs. and the Ms. They also have Miss Tourism, Miss Teen. The United Nation pageant Nigeria is a pageant that brings people from all over Nigeria under one platform to share ideas, initiate projects just like what the United Nations stands for: peace, love within your community and so on. The pageant looks out for young women who would work diligently within the community and impact positively on it.
What prompted you to contest the Ms Nigeria United Nation pageant?
While growing up, I always wanted to be a beauty queen, but one with a difference.
One with a difference?
Yes, when I decided that I wanted to be a beauty queen, I had to make a lot of research about beauty queens; I mean real royal queens. So, I was actually able to identify the things that can actually make me different or outstanding. The United Nations beauty pageant had been there for a long time, but Nigeria started participating in 2015.
One thing I love about the United Nations pageants is that there are different categories of beauty queen. Secondly, they don’t do the bikini stuff…
But some people would ask what a beauty contest is without the bikini segment.
No, I am not comfortable with that. I wouldn’t like to do that. That is my personal opinion.
That means if there was a bikini call you would not have contested?
Is there any special reason for that?
I can’t just expose my body to everybody in the name of beauty pageant. I believe more in inward beauty than outward one. That was why I made a lot of research about real beauty queens. Who were they? What was their role and what were their responsibilities as beauty queens? So, I have a different opinion about beauty queens.
And what is your opinion?
Beauty queens are not prostitutes; they are role models. Beauty queens are leaders who must be intelligent enough to make impact and touch people’s lives. That is one of the reasons beauty pageants are created. Take Queen Esther in the bible for example. That is my role model and that is the manual for the things that I do and stand for. You are beautiful, yes, but you are there to touch lives. You are there to make a difference.
How well have you been able to fulfill these ideals using the platform that you have now?
I enrolled for some training programmes to prepare myself because I wanted to be an outstanding beauty queen. I had to get involved in things that would build me up, so I enrolled in a finishing school. I also got some training on public speaking, effective communication and leadership skills. I have also started working on my projects. My focus is on unmarried teenage mothers in our society. I realised that we have a lot of young girls who have children or are pregnant but nobody is responsible for them or they have been abandoned by whoever got them pregnant.
You would also find that a lot of our young girls find themselves in abusive relationships and they are not able to move forward. They are no longer able to accomplish their dreams and goals because of these abusive relationships or because of their children. My focus is to inspire these young girls to dream again. Yea, you had a dream before but something happened and it failed. You don’t need to dwell on self-pity. You keep depending on people to support you? No, you can actually do something for yourself.
That is why I called it Girls with a Purpose International Network. It is for young girls. It is a character building social organisation and an advocacy club for girls. We use the platform to teach our girls what is their true purpose in life. You have to identify that early enough so that even if you had distractions along the way, you still fall back to who you are. I have been able to reach out to 14 communities in Rivers State and I have over 400 girls that have identified with my organisation. My vision is to inspire every young Nigerian girl. I also want to make people realize that beauty queens are not just what they think.
What do people think they are?
A lot of people think that beauty queens are just beauties without brains, who do not know why they are there and no impact.
There have been issues with beauty queens in the past to make the society form this kind kind of opinion about them. We’ve had cases of sex scandals and so on. Don’t you think these affect the society’s perception of beauty queens and pageantry?
Of course, it does. It also affects the young girls that are coming up, because once they see that this is what is happening out there, they are not encouraged. Even parents discourage their children from participating if they have that ambition. But I think individuals can make the difference, no matter the perception people have. I believe it is time for us to start building new beauty queens. This is one of the areas I am going to focus on.
Let’s talk about your dress sense. What influences what you wear?
Whatever cloth I am going wear has to be beautiful, elegant and must be worn for a purpose. That is what I stand for. In your dressing, you have to be purposeful. I also love simplicity. What I wear also must be something that I am comfortable in and I could go to anywhere with it. You know, there are clothes you put on that you cannot attend certain functions in. As a beauty queen, you have to look responsible and approachable.
How do you deal with male admirers?
I have been able to cope with them. You have to be nice, polite, sociable and, at the same time, set a standard for yourself.
So, you are choosy in terms of where you go?
Of course. A queen cannot be found anywhere.
Credit: The Nation Newspaper