After an eventful reign, Chidinma Aaron, Miss Nigeria, will hand over to a new queen on November 30 when the 43rd edition of the pageant holds at Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
In this chat, the outgoing queen speaks on her reign, ideal man and plans for life beyond the crown. Enjoy it.
You are handing over to a new queen on November 30. How would you describe your reign?
My reign has been transformational both for me and the new vision of Miss Nigeria. I am really excited because it is a testimony that I have come to the end of my reign. Really, this is something I am proud of. I feel privileged that I could do this; being the 42nd Miss Nigeria is a big achievement for me.
You said ‘transformational’, could you break it down?
A lot of changes took place this year. First change was switching from being under the Miss Nigeria organization to being under the Green Girl Company Limited. Another change is that right now, we have the Green Girl Academy. I thank God we pulled through.
A year is a long time, how would you describe your entire experience as Miss Nigeria?
It has been a learning curve but also a wonderful and illuminative experience. I tried not to expect anything right from the very beginning. The only time I kind of had something on mind was on the grand finale. I could see myself winning and I just held unto that. Aside that, every other day I have taken a step at a time. So, whatever comes, I just apply the best of my ability and I just keep going forward. And so far, it has been okay, because I have been able to manage everything that comes with the office, and all its challenges.
Let us talk about the glitz and glamour of being Miss Nigeria?
It has been normal, fine, because you just go for events, do the red carpet in great outfits and take pictures. And then, there are interviews and you sit in the VIP (area). You also get to meet and network with a lot of important people, and you always get the VIP treatment.
How has the crown impacted your person?
Being Miss Nigeria has made me more emphatic, I will say, because I am someone who is naturally emphatic. Miss Nigeria has helped me grow as a person. I have been to a lot of places and I have heard and seen a lot of stuff that blew me out of my mind, and I was like, ‘is this really happening in my country?’ I am talking about moving stories, stories that touch the heart, and these young girls are sharing their experiences with me. It has made me know more and broadened my horizons because it has led me to do research, and now I can give answers to these girls when I hear their incredible stories, and they ask me questions.
Could you share your most compelling story with us?
There are lots, but let me talk about these under 17-year-old girl, who is in secondary school, SS2 to be precise. She is in a dilemma. It is either she gets married and leaves her parents’ home so that her husband can foot her education or she stands her ground, but she is thrown out of her home. Now, that for me is quite tough. Putting a 17-year-old girl in such a dilemma is not right.
Recently, you held the Green Girl project. How is it going to create awareness about all of this?
The Green Girl Company gave birth to Raising The Girls Academy, which held an event a while ago. We had over a thousand girls in attendance and we taught these girls how to manage most of the issues plaguing the girl child and helping them build their confidence, which will also help them speak for themselves and those around them who are going through dire situation. Also, it will help them know who to speak to for guidance. The facilitators included Linda Ikeji. A lot of guys from the United Nations and past Miss Nigeria, Helen Prest-Ajayi were present among a host of others.
You are handing over very soon. What advice do you have for the incoming queen?
She should hold close to her heart her family and God. She should hold them close because she will be needing them. She also has to be someone who is interested in personal development, and she has to take care of her mental health.
Beyond Miss Nigeria, what is on the horizon for you?
Beyond Miss Nigeria, my plan is to go back to entrepreneurship. Before Miss Nigeria, I was a chef. And I am going back to doing that from a professional perspective. I have a lot of plans in the pipeline and I can’t wait to hand over so I can go back to being a chef. Of course, family is everything, so I want to be closer to my family.
What was your happiest moment and did the crown open doors for you?
In terms of opening doors for me, my happiest day was the day of the grand finale when I won. Also, the day I saw smiles on the faces of girls I had counselled when they came back to thank me, and also when I got feedback from the schools we had gone to. These make me really happy. Knowing that I am making impact is really exciting.
You are a beautiful girl, tell us about the guy in your life.
That’s so cute! (Laughter). I am Miss Nigeria, so I don’t have one.
But you are handing over soon?
Then wait till I hand over (laughter).
Could you describe your ideal man?
It’s basically a man who is compatible with me and who exudes a lot of love.
Love? How about looks and the size of his pocket?
Certainly not. There is beauty in every one.
That means you could marry a broke fellow?
(Laughter) If he has a vision and is ambitious and ready to work on himself, why not?