Remember Anita Ukah, the 2018 Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria? After emerging beauty queen, she went on to represent Nigeria at the 2018 Miss World in China. Since then, the six-foot plus Anita has been under the radar.
However, Sunday Sun caught up with her recently and she opened up on her life and projects. The graduate of Igbinedion University also spoke on rape, an issue currently rocking the Nigerian entertainment space, among other interesting issues. Enjoy it.
How has COVID-19 affected your plans for the year?
Like so many other people, I had a lot of goals lined up for this year, but sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world really hard and this meant no work, as most of my works require physical presence and being outdoors. My business was affected no doubt. However, since the lockdown has been made flexible, things have improved.
As a beauty queen, could you recall the high points of your reign and your most memorable moments?
Definitely, that was representing Nigeria at the Miss World pageant. For me, it was dreams come true representing Nigeria at that level. Experiencing several cultures, bonding with women from different and diverse backgrounds and cultures was a spectacular experience. Also, during my reign, I was opportune to meet and discuss with world leaders, change makers, and the most memorable to me were the several projects I worked on. And also, being able to help women and children in need of proper health and education was something I am glad I was part of.
What is new about Anita Ukah and what new projects are you working on?
I have not been as visible in the media as I used to, because my duty then required that presence, but not anymore. I’m still involved in the media, but not as much as before. Now, I have more time to focus on personal stuff.
Tell us about your fashion line, TheUzoBrand?
TheUzoBrand is a company specializing in the production of leather goods, mainly bags from locally sourced leather. TheUzoBrand was doing great, but at the outbreak of the Coronavirus; production and sales declined. I just had to find away around it. Thanks to the lifting of the lockdown, I am back in production, though with certain restrictions. Things are slow, but it is a start. So, I am just finding and learning new ways to make things work.
What is your take on rape especially when celebs are involved and what do you have to say to those who argue that girls are raped because of the way they dress?
Rape is a crime, a terrible act to perpetrate on any human. It doesn’t matter who is involved. We are all humans first and, therefore, equals. The issue of rape is a serious and sensitive one. For every allegation of rape, there should be thorough investigation in order to ascertain the truth. Victims rarely speak up due to stigma, shame, fear, hopelessness and other reasons. So, for a person to cry out about such an experience, it must have taken a lot of courage. Allegations should be treated seriously so that perpetrators will understand the consequences of their actions. A woman’s outfit being a reason for justifying rape is silly! Everyone has a right to dress as they please and no one should interpret that as invitation to violate. If an outfit offends you, simply walk away.
You said that promoting made-in-Nigeria goods would boost entrepreneurship and develop the economy. How are you applying this to your fashion brand?
My brand isn’t only locally made, but materials used are also locally sourced. It is important that we promote and support ourselves so we can grow the economy. Nigeria is blessed with a lot of raw materials and talented hands. There are lots of entrepreneurs promoting made-in-Nigeria goods, but how do we grow if we don’t support ourselves? An average Nigerian has over 10 international designer products, but cannot own up to three made-in-Nigeria products. We can do a lot better by supporting ourselves. Nigeria produces one of the finest leathers in the world and imports to international brands. Nigeria also has amazing designers of jewelry, clothing, furniture and a lot more. A better tomorrow begins with each and every one of us.
Could you share your most trying moment in life?
The most trying moment of my life was one of my years in school. I had lots of responsibilities and a lot seemed to be happening to me at the same time. It was overwhelming, and it was at times like that I wish I knew how to take a deep breath, relax and let things be.
You’ve been on Zoom educating Nigerians on how to create generational wealth, could you share with us what inspired this?
I am constantly looking for ways to improve myself whether intellectually, financially or otherwise. So, during the pandemic when my business began to suffer, I sought ways I could help myself. That was when I stumbled on forex trading. I have known about the forex market for years, but because of the way it was presented to me, I regarded it as really difficult and nearly unachievable. This time around, a friend told me more about it and what it entails. It turns out a great opportunity that has been around for years. The forex market is the largest financial market and has about $6.6 trillion traded daily. A lot of people have misconceptions about forex trading like I did years ago.