She’s a former beauty queen but now a model and choreographer. However, her love for creativity and adventures knows no bound.
Chinaza Violet Chikeluba, who is preparing to represent Nigeria at an international beauty pageant later in the year, in this chat expresses confidence that she will bring home the crown.
Tell us about your life as a beauty queen?
I won the Miss Fashion Nigeria 2014. Life as a beauty queen has been very fulfilling, though it is tough most times because of the great expectations people have of you. Being a queen has opened several doors of opportunities for me. It’s hard to convince people that being a beauty queen is not just about physical beauty and being fashionable, but also about being beautiful in the inside and being able to care for the needy. Humility and intelligence are some of the major attributes of a beauty queen. A beauty queen should be able to address people anytime, anywhere. I have put a lot of efforts to enlighten people, especially at the grassroots, about the importance of pageantry. I am happy that in my community, pageantry is being given its pride of place. They now see that it empowers the youth, especially the girl child.
What was life like growing up?
Growing up was very tough. I don’t have any regrets because I love the bittersweet memories. My mum was a fighter even till her death. She made our lives worthwhile. She is my greatest motivation, as life made her a widow at a very young age, but she won in all. I cherish her very much. She had just my elder sister and I. My mum was the only source of strength. She taught us that life was not an easy ride. We got that message early enough and we joined her in making ends meet. At a very young age, I hawked banana after school because we had to survive. I had to make money for my mother. I saw that it made her very happy and reduced the burden on her. I’ve always been an entrepreneur even as a kid. I love business; I love making money all by myself.
What are some of the projects you are working on now?
The major one is on girl child support. I am using my state pageants, Miss Fashion Anambra and Miss Culture, as a means to create awareness and raise funds for it. I also have a Foundation in memory of my late mother. It’s called Save The Widow (Florence Chikeluba Foundation). It is a platform to reach out to the poor and aged widows in the society. We plan to equip them with skills, especially for those of them who are still struggling with poverty.
What are the major challenges you face in your career?
The major challenge that I have is sponsorship. It is hard to convince people to invest in your ideas. This is compounded by the fact that I am not in the happening cities like Lagos, Abuja, Delta, etc. Here in Anambra State, entertainers suffer a lot. We put in so much effort and energy but there are less or no opportunities for us. We have a lot of talents in the state but nobody is encouraging them. Let me use this medium to appeal to the state government to reach out to talents in the entertainment industry. We need all the encouragement we can get. For instance, I am preparing for an international beauty pageant, which holds later this year, and I need sponsorship. Sometimes, it is only those who know people that get noticed, considered and sponsored. I want the government to create an unbiased office that will run an open door policy, to assist or partner with event organisers. I am speaking for a lot of young people with talents. Entertainment is now the order of the day everywhere in the world. Government and private people should invest in us. We have a lot to offer.
Tell us about this international pageant you are preparing for?
By August this year, I will be representing Nigeria in an international pageant, Miss MWI (Magnificent Woman International) in Las Vegas, USA. I believe in possibilities and I am confident that I am going to bring the crown home. I will make Nigerians very proud. I am also using this medium to solicit for the support of all well-meaning Nigerians. We need to encourage young people. Besides, it will boost the reputation of our country in no small measure. Pageantry is one goldmine that we as Nigerians need to tap into.
Have you ever been sexually harassed in the course of your work as a model?
No, I have never encountered that. Of course, there will always be advances from male admirers. It is left for the lady to choose. It happens in every area of life. I wouldn’t say that I am too disciplined, but I can be very strict when there is need for it. When we are in church, we pray. That is why we went there in the first place. When in school, you study. Everything has its place and I don’t mix things up.