By Tony Ogaga & Amarachi Nwachukwu
University of Ilorin Theatre Arts graduate, Queen Enuanwa Blessing, last weekend emerged winner, Beauty of Africa International Pageant (BAIP), and was crowned Miss Tourism International Nigeria.
In this chat, the overwhelmed beauty queen opens up on the shock of winning and how she sacrificed her school project to partake in the competition.
Did you ever believe you could win?
I was so excited I almost jumped out of my skin. I never believed that I could win. I thought it was a joke when my name was announced as winner, because there were more intelligent, beautiful and hardworking girls on the platform.
Do you mean girls even better than you?
Yes, we stayed in camp for two weeks, and at some point, I was intimidated. Of course, as a human being you will be intimidated. They were intelligent, eloquent and straight to the point. If they asked them questions, they were always prepared to answer. And they are also beautiful without makeup, they are hardworking and talented. But I think there is this special element in a woman that sets her apart and it is not just the beauty, intelligence or knowing how to catwalk to win the crown. When we were in camp, they were talking about humility, that one must be humble and not just beautiful – to win the crown.
To who are you dedicating this crown?
First, to God Almighty and then to my mum, dad and my friends that voted for me. I wanted to give up actually, because the week I was supposed to be in Lagos was when I was supposed to defend my project as a final year student. But my friends were like ‘just go, we would cover up for you, we would tell and beg the lecturer for you’, so I really thank them. I am not going to get over this moment soon. I will tell my children and my grand children about it. In fact, I will pass it down from generation to generation.
Are your parents in support of what you’re doing?
It’s just my mum.
How about your dad?
My dad was like ‘why should you wear bikini on stage? I don’t like it, these girls are useless’. But I am going to change his mentality. For me to handle the crown for one year without being useless is one thing I must achieve; it is a responsibility and duty that I must handle well.
What is going to be your pet project?
Why domestic violence, are you a victim?
No, but a situation where a man beats his wife really affects the psyche of the victim and the children at home. Children are leaders of tomorrow and they should be protected from violence, because it could have negative influence on them and they could become violent adults, which would be terrible for the larger society. So, the need to pursue my pet project cannot be over-emphasised; I am very passionate about it.
From who did you get your beautiful looks, your dad or mum?
Wow, tell us about your dad and how he has influenced you?
My dad is a strong and very strict man. Should I say he has always inspired me to succeed, though, he didn’t like that I came for this pageant.
What is going to change about you now that you have become a queen?
Nothing much, just that I will start my project and I will become very busy. Pageant is not just about beauty and glamour; you must work hard as a beauty queen.
How about your boyfriend, has he been supportive in this project?
(Laughs) I don’t have a boyfriend.
What is your advice for youngsters who want to walk in your footsteps?
It’s not just about the beauty; you must be humble and have passion for it. You need to know the biography of past winners; you must love and have passion for them.
What is the next level for you now that you have been crowned queen?
It’s a whole new level for me now that I have been given a new platform as the queen. I want to use it to change the society.