By Agatha Emeadi
Miss Yadera Nzimako was recently crowned Miss Bold and Beautiful Culture 2021 as the first runner-up at the Miss Bold and Beautiful Nigeria Pageant organised by Cherdah Republic.
Winning at the contest with the theme: “Unapologethick”, an ostensibly excited Miss Nzimako told Sunday Sun that she is set to conquer the world as a plus-size model.
She said that she would be all out to promote, encourage, educate and motivate all plus-size girls to stand up and achieve their dreams.
In this interview with Sunday Sun, the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) graduate bares her mind on her pet projects, which among others will see her reaching out to much younger school children who use degrading and derogatory words on their mates who are on the fat side. Excerpt:
What is this Bold and Beautiful Nigerian Contest and how did it go?
I contested in the Miss Bold and Beautiful Pageant, which is the biggest plus-size pageant in Nigeria. The event, which was organized by Cherdah Republic was held in Enugu State. I emerged the first runner-up with a crown, Miss Bold and Nigeria Culture 2021. There were three crowns given at the end of the show and they are Miss Bold and Beautiful Winner, Miss Bold and Beautiful Culture for the first runner-up and Miss Bold and Beautiful Elegance, second runner -up. Part of the reign for the crown is a one-year movie deal, we have travelled to Ohafia for the movie shooting.
What attracted you into the Bold and Beautiful pageant?
I have always wanted to put myself out there to prove something to the world. So, when the rare opportunity came up, a pageant with a plus-size emphasis, I did not think of any other event that would showcase the beauty of African woman more than this contest. I bought into it because African women are known to be plus sizes who celebrate their big boobs, bulging stomach, hips and fat arms. Yes, we are African women who are not ashamed of our body structure. Over time, I have been body-shamed, told of how fat, how big I have become; got names that are not befitting to me and all that. Therefore, the contest came at a time I need to make a point. I felt I should tell the world that plus sizes are models as well and not just anything. That was my main reason.
How was the crowning and the prize?
From day one, we were lodged at Sunshine Hotel, New Haven Enugu, where we were taught how to sit like queens, inspirational talks of being big and not useless. And the contest came and passed. Now, we are waiting for the organizers to draft out our prizes so that we can sign and collect them. Honestly, it was a free and fair judgment because I did not know anybody except God. We started preparation for the contest since 2019. The criteria for the competition were for single size-12 ladies and above; then activities in the camp, voting, presentation of tickets etc. It was a big opportunity for plus-size ladies to prove a point. This is my first pageant, it was actually stressful, but let me recover from this first and focus on other things.
Were you applauded and cheered during the preparation and contests?
During the contest, I had mainly my family, friends and school mates. So many others followed me online, voted for me, send the support messages and bought their tickets. Every other person showed their support in ways they could.
Now that the contest is over, what next?
I would reign as Miss Bold and Beautiful Culture for one year and I hope to get back to the society to make a difference. One of my visions is to reach out to plus-size women within my reach to educate, encourage, motivate and speak on the importance of body-shaming and how it affects plus-size women; again, how people should cease from the use of abusive words on plus-size women. I will also talk about plus-size women’s health; give them orientation that shows that a plus-size woman can also be healthy. I also have dreams of reaching out to destitute no matter how small, give school bags and sandals to a few that cannot afford it. Would really do some charity works to give back to the society the much I could. Again, like an adage says ‘Catch them young’; I would love to go to schools and caution children not to use derogatory language on plus-size mates. They do not know how damaging such abusive languages could be. They have to know that every child is beautiful in his or her own way. This body-shaming starts from such a tender age and eats into the fabric of the society as one matures and it never actually stops. Some of us still experience it, because your family wants the best for you, but such messages are wrongly sent at times. They say things like these days, no man wants to marry a plus- size woman.
How do you want to fund your pet projects?
If it means seeking public financial support, reaching out to friends to achieve my dreams; I would not mind. I know that when the times comes, I would speak to people who would buy into my idea, they would help no matter how little.
What movie shooting are you expected to get involved in?
We went for our official photo-shoot to have photos of ourselves; but part of the package of our reign for the crown is one-year movie deal, we will travel to Ohafia, in Abia State for our first movie production.
After the reign, what next?
I will continue my life. I am yet to go for my National Youth Service Corps to serve my father land, which will come up and would closely be followed with a pursuit of my Master’s Degree. Every other good thing that will come within my reign would be enjoyed after my reign. I’m also open to becoming the face of big brands across the world as Miss Bold and Beautiful Culture queen.
How was growing up?
I am from Orogwe in Owerri-West, Imo State. I grew up from home, then at Federal Housing Estate in Owerri town. Growing up was quite amazing because of our close-knit family. I have my parents and siblings very much together. I don’t think I can ever choose another family above mine.
What about the fond memories of growing up?
I miss playing with my siblings, my father telling us about the clan in our community which gives me headache at times. My mum’s stories under the moonlight. It was amazing growing up. I also have a lot of people who mock me by calling me ‘orobo’ which means a fat girl. Such words reduce my self esteem, but my mother would always tell me, don’t mind them, you have big bones and all that. No child likes such self-demeaning thoughts. There would always be stuffs like no man would like to marry a huge girl, these are pressures that are uncalled for. We plus-sized ladies go through a lot in terms of interactions and approach.
Did body-shaming reduce you emotionally? Were you ashamed of yourself?
Up till primary school, my mother made sure she demystified all that. She told me, when she gave birth to me, baby clothes meant for me did not size me, they quickly ran to the market to buy one-year old baby dress for me. She kept reminding me that I have always been big. That this is who I am. She would align healthy foods for me and always there to console me. Even in my house, I was at times being body-shamed. I can understand from their point of view that they do not want me to grow out of proportion; I felt out with my dad countless times. One of the days, we have gathered at the dining table to eat and he asked me ‘are you still eating” I was angry, lost my appetite instantly, dropped my cutleries and walked away. He said that I was supposed to register at the Gym, which I did. Luckily for me, I am a healthy child, but they do not know how hard I try on my own to lose weight. There is no young girl who would not like to wear lovely clothes like her mates do. The least anybody can do is to encourage, accommodate, admit and love yourself. I actually went into this competition because of my dad. He does not support this type of movement; but then, I did not want him to hear from the outside, So I told him and he did not like it. From my childhood, I had wanted to be a queen, that big girl out there. I wanted my voice to be heard in a positive way with my plus-size body. I remember when I represented my school at HoT FM; my dad was the one receiving the calls, “Your daughter is at Hot FM, tune in and listen to her. He was the same person smiling and receiving all the congratulations, saying yes, that is my daughter. At the end of the pageant, my father who never supported it, was the one who sat in the audience to cheer me up. When I got my crown, he was the first to hug me.
What are your plans because marriage is also knocking at the door?
That part will also shock people because the common language is nobody seeks the hand of plus-size ladies in marriage. They will be shocked that plus-size ladies are some men’s spec. I want to let other plus-sized ladies love themselves, wear that cropped top other slimmer girl’s wear.
What advice do you have for plus-size girls?
Every big girl should fight and take hygiene seriously; keep her body neat for big girls have tendency to smell because there are areas that might not get air into them fast. It’s because most of the fat girls do not scrub themselves well that most people say all manner of things about them. Just be conscious of your hygiene so people will respect you. That was another area my mother fought hard, to make sure I did not have body odour; if my siblings bathe twice, I would be forced to bathe four times in a day, but she would say, I am not trying to hurt you, but you will appreciate this later in life, and that I am doing. My mum brought me up differently because I am a plus-size.