By Damiete Braide
Life is filled with challenges, but rather than give up, one should continue to strive to overcome them.
Edo-born Faith Ajayi is pretty, but cross-eyed, and because of this, she was rejected several times by modeling agencies and beauty pageant organisers.
Inspite of her handicap, however, she refused to give up on her dream of becoming a model and beauty queen.
Now, Faith’s perseverance has paid off. Recently, she contested and won the Miss Melanin beauty pageant. And with this, things have begun to fall in the right places for her.
Indeed, nothing can be more encouraging and motivational than Faith’s story, as she narrated it to Sunday Sun. Enjoy it.
Tell us briefly about yourself?
My name is Ajayi Faith Aimuamosa. I hail from Edo State. I am a 26-year-old fashion designer. I studied Business Administration at Yaba College of Technology, and I hope to go back for my Higher National Diploma very soon. My parents have six children and I am the fifth.
How did you know about the Miss Melanin beauty competition?
A friend of mine saw the advert online and told me about it. I checked it out and was reluctant to apply because of my crossed-eyes, which made modeling agencies and beauty pageant organisers to disqualify me a number of times. Also, I told my friend that she would be wasting her time going for the competition because the organisers already had who they wanted as winner. However, after much encouragement from my friend and family members, I decided to give it a trial.
How did the competition go?
It was an online competition and the voting was free and fair. Contestants were able to follow up on their votes and see how it was progressing. I told my friends, family and church members to vote for me, which they did and which made me win the competition with the highest number of votes. And for winning, I got a cash prize of N100,000 , a trip to a choice location within Nigeria and a television appearance. I hope to visit the Abuja Water Front or Obudu Cattle Ranch later in the year.
What was your parents’ reaction after winning the competition?
My father died in 2011. My father had been sick and then I was writing my secondary school certificate examination, so they didn’t tell me. After the exams, I came home and visited him at the hospital. I visited dad once more at the hospital before he died. My father was the nicest person on earth. He was a father to everyone. If you were close to him, you would discover that he was a good person.
What lessons did you learn from your father?
My father was a strong man and he never gave up on issues. He taught me to be strong. He also imbued in me the culture of lending a hand to people in need, which was what he was known for. He was nicknamed ‘Action’ because he loved to do things without attracting unnecessary attention to himself. Growing up and seeing him like that really inspired his children to be like him.
How did you take the news of your father’s death?
My father’s death made me heartbroken. Initially, my father wanted me to attend a military secondary school, but his death stopped me. My father wanted me to become a military officer, but death truncated his dream. I also had admission into Caleb University, but I couldn’t go because my dad was not there to sponsor me.
From whom did you get your beauty, dad or mum?
I got my beauty from my father.
Now, how do you feel being a beauty queen?
At first , I thought being a beauty queen was just to wear the crown, but now it has dawned on me that the position comes with a lot of responsibilities. My thinking has changed. Now, I am not just thinking for myself, but also for people and the society. I am currently working on my pet project and will unveil it when the time comes. With this crown, I can’t go to places that I used to go. I have also restricted my comments on social media so that people would not lay claim to things that I may have said in the past.
Were you born with crossed-eyes?
Yes, I was born with crossed-eyes. I was always laughed at when I was in primary school and would go home crying. One day, I asked my mother if I was born like this or something happened to my eyes after birth. She said this was how she gave birth to me. She told me that a doctor advised her to get me a pair of eye glasses when I was a kid, but she refused. Though, some tests were conducted on my eyes, they found that nothing was wrong with me. My crossed-eyes were natural. I attended Federal Government College, Ibillo, Akoko Edo, Edo State and my crossed- eyes were strange to some of the students. People always starred at me and sometimes they even pointed their fingers at me. I felt uncomfortable, but my mother would tell me that I should see my eyes as my beauty. So, since then if I saw pupils laughing at me, I would cry inside, but I would be bold to tell them that my eyes are my beauty. With time, I got used to people starring at me and it made me to be bold and confident.
Have you thought of harming yourself because of your crossed-eyes?
Yes, at some point, before the beauty pageant idea came to my mind. I’ve always wanted to be a model. I attended so many auditions and they would tell me that I am qualified but my eyes are the problem. I wanted to do modeling or ushering jobs, but they would turn me down, saying they didn’t want a crossed-eyed person that would affect their relationship with their sponsors or clients. One modeling agency even offered to give me some drugs that would correct my eyes, but I told them I have never heard of any medicine that can correct a natural crossed-eye.
Sometimes, when I am with other models for auditions, they would look at me and ask what am I doing there, that I am just wasting my time. It was so discouraging that I got depressed.
Did you encounter sexual harassment from pageant organizers or modeling agencies?
No, I didn’t. I think that was the main reason I couldn’t get modeling jobs. I wanted to be a model, but I wasn’t comfortable exposing my body. I remember one particular agency wanted to take advantage of my situation. They said if I was goiing to do a modeling job for them then I must be ready to go nude. I declined and immediately they asked me to leave their office.
As a model, if you’re offered $10 million to pose nude, would you do it?
Though, some people can do it because it’s their profession, for me, I won’t do it. I won’t be comfortable doing it despite the money involved. As an individual, I don’t wear bikini and I cannot do a modeling job by being nude. Whenever I want I to swim, I wear swimming suit that will cover sensitive parts of my body. It is not because of my religious background, but it is my principle as an individual. I am not a shy person either. If I am in a new environment, I keep to myself, study the environment and later adapt to the environment.
Are you in a relationship?
For now, I am not in a relationship. I was in a relationship a year ago but broke up. I have gotten over it and now I am single and searching. After the break up, I was heart broken, then came COVID-19 pandemic which made people to stay at home. It was so crazy that when you are scared of something, there is no one to talk to except your family members. I was heartbroken, but not depressed because I am a strong person, and I have to move on with life.
What’s your kind of man?
I am not really after physical attributes like height but what drives me is the person’s character, level of intelligence. Also, I want someone I can feel safe with anytime I am with him. I am attracted to dark-skinned guys than light skinned guys.
Can you marry a crossed-eye man?
Yes, why not? If he makes me feel safe. If he loves and cares about me the same way I love and care about him. Why not? If we get married, we may not give birth to crossed-eye children and if it happens, I wouldn’t mind. What I need to do is to show love and concern to the child or children just the same way my mother encouraged me. I will start encouraging them at their early age, which my mother wasn’t able to do on time. I cried so many times before she noticed my predicament and started encouraging me. Now I have the experience, but my mother didn’t because she wasn’t cross-eyed, so it will help me know the way I will treat my child if confronted with such situation.
When do you intend to settle down?
I am ready to settle down as soon as my man comes.
Between love, money and sex, which one do you prefer?
It is already in order. If you love me and you can take care of me and you can satisfy me sexually, then I am okay.
What next after your reign?
As a fashion designer, I intend to grow my fashion business and empower and encourage ladies to go into one form of entrepreneur or the other. I hope to see my dreams come true and be the best fashion designer in the world.