Beauty queen, Joy Ebhodaghe will not forget October 4, 2019 in a hurry. It was the day she emerged Miss Globe Nigeria and 3rd runner-up at the Beauty of Africa International Pageant (BAIP) held in Calabar, the Cross Rivers State capital.
In this chat, Ebhodaghe, who is poised to represent Nigeria at Miss Globe holding in Albania in October, opens up on her dreams and pet project among other issues.
How did you feel when you emerged Miss Globe and 3rd runner-up at BAIP 2019?
I was really excited. I did not expect it.
That was because we had 27 delegates and everybody was fighting for the crown, so when I was called as the 3rd runner-up, I was blown away!
How did you come into beauty pageantry?
This is not my first beauty pageant, actually. I have contested in others but they were not as big as this. I must confess, BAIP 2019 is my biggest so far and I thank God for it. Back in school, I contested for my department’s beauty pageant and also Miss Faculty. During my youth service, I equally contested for Miss NYSC where I was one of the runners-up. This is the first time that I am getting a crown and it feels awesome! It feels really nice because I am getting to experience different things and learning more. It is like my horizon is being broadened.
That moment when you were announced queen, how did it feel?
Wow! I was like ‘is this real? Please somebody pinch me so I could wake up’. I was glad and overwhelmed.
What are your plans going forward?
My main plan now is to concentrate on my pet project, because giving a queen a title is not where it ends. It is not just about the title or showing off, you need to impact society with your crown.
Tell us about your pet project?
I want to create awareness about cervical and breast cancer. The reason is that I had an experience that greatly influenced me to this day. My best friend lost her mum to breast cancer, so I want to create awareness about that. I felt really bad and sad for her because her mother was like a mother to me. I believe that she died because of ignorance; there is very little awareness about this debilitating illness that results in the death of millions of women in sub-Sahara Africa annually. This happened about three years ago and I have never really gotten over it. I still remember her because we were so close.
Were you born with a silver spoon?
No, I was just like any other normal child. I was not born with a silver spoon. My parents were middle class civil servants and we were seven kids in the family. I was number two and first daughter. Growing up, our parents gave us all we needed within their limited means and we were a very happy family.
At what age did you decide you wanted to be a beauty queen?
That was in the university. My classmates informed me that my department was having a beauty pageant and everybody was like ‘you can do this, you have the physique’. So, I gave it a try and I was like ‘wow!’ Ever since, I have never looked back and here I am today.
Tells us about your experience in camp
My experience in camp was challenging and it was a lot of fun too. I got to meet lots of pretty and intelligent girls, and we were all fighting for the same crown. So, it was challenging and at the same time, fun. However, despite the challenges, there was no time I felt like quitting.
Who among your co-contestants would you say gave you a run for your money?
Nobody in particular, but all those girls were cool. It was not that they intimidated me. They are all queens in their own rights and their outing impressed me. They all inspired me to bring out the best version of myself.
Now that you are a queen, any plan to use it as a springboard into entertainment?
If I have the platform, why not? Though, it is not a priority. I studied Geo Physics, my dream is to go back to school for my Masters.
Did anybody try to discourage you?
Nobody tried to discourage me. I got all the support I needed. Mum and dad were supportive. My dad is retired and my mum is still working, and she also trades. My siblings too were marvelous. They were with me on that day.
You will be representing Nigeria at Miss Globe taking place in Albania in October, how are you preparing?
I am really excited and looking forward to that. I am currently working on my catwalk and my body because I need to reduce to size six. Albania, here I come.
Who are your role models?
It’s Naomi Campbell because I see her a lot on the runway and I like her carriage. She is such an amazing woman.
What was the greatest lesson you learnt on this journey?
It’s never to give up on your dreams. At some point, you feel tired but you need to keep fighting, because like the popular saying goes, ‘the darkest hour is that hour just before dawn’.
What advice do you have for girls who want to take after you?
Whatever they have passion for they should go for because it was passion that brought me this far. So, whatever they have passion for, they should please go for and not be discouraged by people around them or challenges that may come their way.