By Ayo Alonge
Amaka Oguchi works very hard and diligently. She’s a beautician and was a beauty queen.
In this interview, she reflects on her road to her exalted office and her roles as Zonal Director, Miss Commonwealth Organization.
It was recently reported by an online portal that you are now a director at Miss Commonwealth Pageant Office, UK. Is this true?
Yes, this is very true. The Miss Commonwealth Organisation was seeking a zonal director to run the West African zone and my name was submitted with five others for consideration. I really didn’t think I would be appointed but months into much deliberation from the committee, I was.
How do you feel about your appointment?
In truth, I was surprised but also appreciative of the fact that I was seen as the best fit for the job. I hesitated a bit but my family and a few friends who knew from the onset gave me the necessary push and support. Now, I’m grateful and honoured to be given this responsibility.
What’s the implication for Nigeria?
The Miss Commonwealth Organisation is a very prestigious and highly active organisation in many countries including friends of the Commonwealth. It’s involvement with many nationalities with diverse cultural backgrounds can facilitate relationships ties which can boost tourism, economic growth and charitable programmes that will improve quality of life in the Commonwealth. Having being appointed as Zonal Director, most of the programmes and projects will most likely begin from here. It also makes it easier for Nigerians to have the first glimpse or opportunity in taking part in these programmes.
What are your roles in that capacity?
The general responsibility of any zonal director is to monitor, organise and promote Miss Commonwealth objectives and activities within each zone. We have to ensure that the national directors are running the affairs and programmes according to the guidelines.
We also provide assistance to the national directors and queens when necessary. In summary, I am a representative of the Commonwealth and obliged to perform legitimate activities under its name.
How will it help your business as a beauty expert?
It’s an excellent way to promote my business and also learn from other beauty experts in Africa since this is a big platform that provides a lot of international exposure. Besides, visiting other countries will expose me to more opportunities and ideas that’ll boost my business.
What’s your advice to young beauty queens with ambition to win global pageants like Miss Commonwealth and Miss world?
What is worth doing is worth doing well. I started as a model who stumbled into beauty pageants if you remember the story and with a lot of support I won international beauty pageants. When I first became a national beauty queen, I lived everyday by making an impact in any way on others. I was always happy to see that I was making a positive impact even without my country’s recognition. I just wanted to make a difference and I was fulfilled when it was time to hand over. Subsequently, I noticed that Miss Commonwealth Organisation made reference to most of my work. Even after I handed over, I was still actively involved in most Commonwealth projects. I had no idea my work would speak for me in this way to have assumed this new office. So, the truth is you never really know when or how your hard work will pay off. It takes true passion.
Is your appointment with immediate effect?
As I am granting this interview, it means my tenure has already begun.
How can future beauty pageants boost tourism in Nigeria?
It’s quite sad that Nigerians still don’t understand the impact a beauty queen can make as a spokesperson. She can be part of a strong weapon used to awaken a sleeping giant( tourism ).
A beauty queen is a subtle representative of feminine icons in any country. It’s not surprising therefore that pageants showcase a country’s fashion sense which is still geared to promoting its culture and tourism. As a winner, it is one of the beauty queen’s responsibilities to work with the ministry of tourism to help promote, brand and market the tourism sector.
She can’t do this by just attending an event towards the cause. She should be actively involved by giving speeches to increase public- private sector participation in funding tourism and working with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism where she focuses on at least two key states.
I have seen this in other countries, so I know it can be done if government is willing to work with her and support her.
How can a beauty queen still remain relevant long after her tenure?
It depends on how relevant she chooses to remain and if she can still leverage on the title she was given. This can still help her achieve better things that can impact positively on society. Once a beauty queen always a queen.