By Tony Ogaga
It was a night of glitz and glamour recently when 25-year-old Prisca Nwaobodo emerged Miss Tourism Nigeria 2020 after a keen contest with 34 delegates from across Nigeria.
Armed with two degrees, a BA in History from the University of Benin, Edo State and a PGD in Shipping & Port Management, the beauty queen who is a native of Delta State and an aspiring actress opens up on growing up, her experience in camp and her shock when she emerged Miss Tourism Nigeria 2020.
How did you get to hear about Miss Tourism Nigeria, has it always been your dream to be a beauty queen?
It was through a friend who had once contested. She told me how credible the pageant was so I thought to give it a try because being a beauty queen has always been my dream. I knew pageants groom girls into queens and made them forces to be reckoned with. This made me start pageantry in primary school. I even won the Miss Children’s Day and the Miss Independence Day in my school. And today here I am on that journey as the 9th Miss Tourism Nigeria Queen.
Did you believe you could win?
I had hopes, hopes that the stars would align in my favour, that maybe luck would shine on me, but arriving in camp and seeing the other 34 stunning delegates got me initimdated and that hope was lost and I resigned myself to just having fun and making new friends. I mean, over 1,726 ladies registered and here I was, one of the lucky 35 finalists. That already was a win for me. As the evictions progressed I realised I was still in the competition and that fueled a renewed zeal to give it my all. And I am glad that my all with God’s grace and the support from my home state, Delta, gave me this beautiful crown and the coveted title of Miss Tourism Nigeria 2020 (Laughter).
What was your first reaction when you were announced the winner?
You know how sometimes you are experiencing something in a moment in time, but your senses give you that dream-like feeling? When I heard my name, for the first five seconds it didn’t register. It felt like someone mentioned my name from afar and it was until I turned around and realised I was actually called by the CEO, Mr. Santiago Roberts, as the winner that it dawned on me. My sister tagged my turning around in a 360 degrees spin. I didn’t even know I did that until I watched the videos days after the show. It is still a feeling I haven’t gotten over till now.
Could you recount your experience in the camp?
Camp was truly a roller coaster. There were days of laughter and days of tears and so much heart break you literally felt your heart could pop out of your chest any moment! The Miss Tourism Nigeria Queens’ villa would definitely stick to our minds; myself and all the other girls, for a very long time, but of all those experiences, the one I will never forget was having a meeting with myself and listening to my inner spirit. You know that deep conversation you have with yourself and determine if you’re on the right path and if what you’re doing is actually what you should be doing and what the prospects were. Another great experience I had was the opportunity to meet, mingle and develop new bonds. The girls I contested with taught me so much.
Where you born with a silver spoon?
(Laughter) Well, I like to say I was born with opportunities that needed time and preparation to blossom. I believe that one could be born with a silver spoon, even a gold plate if I might add, but all that would mean nothing if you don’t develop yourself. If you don’t grow yourself to become a valuable asset that brands can bank on then your silver spoon is all a waste. So while I might not have been born with silver spoon, I was born with opportunities at my disposal that needed time and preparation.
Did anybody try to discourage you when you chose this path?
I lost count of people who tried to dissuade me. Friends and family told me I didn’t have what beauty pageants were looking for. So many also said beauty pageants weren’t credible and a total waste of money and that they took advantage of the girls. But here I am, look at me, I am a Queen today and I did not experience all of that. My advice to anyone who’s aspiring to become a beauty queen or follow this path is to pursue their dreams and don’t let anyone talk them out of it. Remember, it is your dream. You are the only one who owns the power of that dream and the ability to work on it till it becomes a reality.
Which of your parents did you get your looks from, mum or dad?
(Laughter) My mom, she is of mixed race. She is part Nigerian and part Portuguese. My mom is a beauty to behold and am glad I took part of that beauty.
Tell us about your pet project?
My project is centered on educational facilities for children in communities struck by abject poverty. I was inspired by the Makoko Foundation, Yaba, Lagos and figured that a lot of kids are in this situation where they barely have the basic educational facilities like tables, chairs, black boards, photocopying machines, but rather have clustered classrooms with leaky roofs to enhance easy learning for the kids and my target for my one year reign is 10,000 kids in 10 states, and hoping to continue even after my one year reign.
Who are your role models?
I have had tremendous opportunities and met some of the most amazing people who have changed my life in the most remarkable ways I can only imagine. My role model is my mom. She’s an exemplary woman. I also admire Folorunsho Alakija.
One issue plaguing us today is the rape of the girl child. How are you going to use your office to create awareness about this?
As a beauty queen, my responsibility includes being a voice for the voiceless and that includes standing in the gap for the sexually abused and rape victims, especially the girl child. I would definitely collaborate with NGOs as well as organizations that deal with rape cases. I would use my crown and office to create awareness and sensitisation outreaches on rape culture. We live in a society where rape victims are ‘shamed into silence’ thus providing a veil for abusers to continue to perpetuate their crimes. I would definitely want to see abusers and those who engage in this crime brought to book.
Are you in a relationship, could you tell us about it?
Yes, I am in a relationship with my crown (laughter). The responsibility of this crown is my primary relationship. I believe a lot is staked on this crown and lots of people are looking up to me and so many lives now depend on me and I have no plans to fail them.