Tammy Esther Andoya, the reigning Miss Earth Nigeria Fire, is an environmental advocate who is passionate about promoting a sustainable lifestyle through awareness and local community outreach.
In this interview, the beauty queen, who is currently studying for her Master degree in International Relations and Diplomacy at Shanghai University, China, speaks about her vision, mission and love life.
What motivated you to partake in the Miss Earth Nigeria pageant?
My interest in a better nurturing space and environment, with less solid waste problems for people to thrive, gingered my interest in the Miss Earth Nigeria pageant. The pageant is all about supporting the environment hence the slogan, ‘beauties for a cause’. My lifelong dream is to motivate and inspire young people, and I look forward to reaching a generation that is ready to embrace environment and consciousness in order to avoid the concept we call ‘green washing’.
I hope to encourage and promote sustainable and practical solutions to solid waste problems, hence the reason I participated in the Miss Earth Nigeria pageant, where I became runner-up and an elemental queen. This was a pageant whose vision aligns with my mission and I am glad to have taken part in the contest under the tutelage of Ibinabo Fibresima. We studied and were drilled. However, becoming winner of Miss Earth Nigeria Fire 2020 is a tremendous addition to many of my life’s goals. I am more encouraged to motivate and inspire young people than ever before, and I have begun this by establishing my NGO, Environmental Resource Initiative (ERI).
What was your family’s initial reaction to it?
I had a fun childhood with my siblings; coming from a nuclear family of seven and being the first child, I have learnt to handle my responsibilities squarely and apply these to my everyday life. As a teenager, my parents did not always support my decisions, which caused me major setbacks. But overtime, it boiled down to trust, and their mindset changed when they realised that I was entitled to my (thought) process and had real plan for myself. And indeed things changed. As I grew older, my parents supported me in whatever path I chose, and I am grateful they have got my back in my various fields of achievement. I love my parents and so, I look up to my mother, Mrs. Yemisi Grace Andoya for her resilience and courage. My father served in the army; he was also a United Nations soldier at some point. He is devoted to his country, and from him, I have learnt humanitarian services.
As a new queen, what are the projects you plan to embark on?
I have established an NGO, Environmental Resource Initiative (ERI). ERI’s mission is to promote public health and environmental awareness, through elevating sustainable and responsible solid waste management practices, encouraging proper wastewater management and urban conservation, and partnering with other organisations to support our local communities. I am happy to say ERI has already begun its outreach home and abroad. In recent weeks, we have had an awareness walk tagged, ‘Walk Against COVID’ where we raised awareness concerning public safety amidst the public health crisis. With support from local communities, we just had a successful roadwork project, where we cleaned up and repaired an extremely damaged road connecting to a major road that had been destroyed due to erosion and poor maintenance.
Finally, we had palliative/food drive to support the less privileged who have hard time adjusting to the new normal that came with COVID-19. We supported local widows/widowers and the elderly in the communities of Lagos Island, Ikoyi and Obalende. It is interesting to add that plastic bags were not used in the distribution of these items. We intend to keep the fire burning and give out more palliatives/foods to those in our local communities that need them, while raising re-cycling awareness, have more environmental cleanup events and promote awareness.
What legacy do you intend to leave behind for the next queen?
I want to portray to the next generation of beauty queens to never under-estimate the power of their advocacy; your voice could be all that you need. In the next four years, I see myself leading the chat in many fields of talent, promoting environmental policies, and most certainly, becoming a diplomat!
These days, ladies prefer cosmetic surgery to natural beauty, what’s your take on this?
Though, I don’t think it is wrong to go under the knife for whatever reasons, I do not have a need to go under the knife. I maintain a strict exercise routine, a healthy diet and have a strong positive imagery of myself. Therefore, I am content with my body and in love with myself.
What’s the craziest thing a male fan has done to you?
The craziest thing a male admirer once did to me was continually yelling my name in public, at the entrance of the hall of a press conference I was attending in Beijing.
What’s your ideal man?
My ideal man must have a soul. He must be diligent, hardworking and passionate about life. He must care about people, his environment and always open to learning.
Who is your role model?
I have a couple of role models for different aspects of my life’s journey. As a kid, Agbani Darego was my role model in pageantry, and now I look up to Amina J. Mohammed. She is an epitome of grace, elegance and ambition. She is passionate and excellent in her endeavours, she is my life’s mirror.
With your experience, how would you advise young ladies out there about life?
To the young ladies out there, first of all, appreciate yourself for your gifts and talents. It took me a while to do this for myself, and I would also say to you, ‘look to the positive side of life as you remain honest and true to yourself and with others.