20-year-old Miss Nigeria Ghana Queen VICTORY EKWUGHA, is a student of International Business Management at Laweh University, Ghana. The Abia State-born beauty pageant winner speaks with Sunday Oguntola on her life, career and passion. Excerpts:
YOU recently emerged as Miss Nigeria Ghana, how was the experience?
It feels magical! The past years, I always watched beautiful ladies competing in beauty pageants from the sidelines, wishing I would be on that stage one day. But now that I’ve won the Miss Nigeria Ghana, it feels great because I enjoyed every moment of my journey towards this crown. I learnt so much and am still learning a lot from my management. Nevertheless, it wasn’t an easy one; every new phase has its challenges but by God’s grace it went well.
Have you been in other pageants before?
Yes, I have. I participated in Miss Commonwealth in Nigeria when I was in senior high school but fell sick and withdrew close to the grand finale.
What inspired you to participate in Miss Nigeria Ghana?
Pain and passion motivated me. I wanted to try something out of my comfort zone. Despite being a model, I am actually an indoor person. So the pageant presented to me another opportunity to face my fears and step out of my comfort zone for a while. I have walked the catwalk so many times and always on the runway, which increased my confidence. I am very grateful for the Miss Nigeria Ghana Beauty Pageant for giving me a chance. To be honest, I was happy and surprised by winning the pageant. I became very proud of myself the day after. It is really nice to have some sort of confirmation to know that what I am doing is right.
Who do you look up to in the industry?
I actually didn’t have any because whenever I watched music videos and see billboards, I pictured myself in them. But as a young girl, success stories of Agbani Darego and Oluchi of Nokia Face of Africa were inspiring. I like few models in the industry like Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell and Alek Wek.
What outfits suit you most?
Regardless of the fact that the world of a beauty queen is associated with glamour and exotic fashion, as Miss Nigeria Ghana I am more required to project Nigeria’s cultural values here in Ghana at official events. But as a young student, jeans and other casual wears are part of my wardrobe. I am one naturally loyal to my heritage. I wear designs made in Aba, the commercial hub of my Abia State, and other local Africa designs.
How are you going to spend your life as Miss Nigeria Ghana?
Well, I am on the journey and doing that already. I was crowned about three months ago and have been quite busy. We embarked on “Max Mart/Miss Nigeria Ghana Goodies call” in which we visited the mentally challenged in Ridge Hospital. I shared time with them and gave them presents from Max Mart. I and my management in partnership with Society for Social Right and Civic Literacy (SOSORCIL) have designed a wonderful project tagged Nigeria-Ghana Friends and Brethren Project.
What’s the project all about?
It’s all about strengthening the depth of ties between Ghanaians and Nigeria ns as a people. It’s in different phases. We have initiated the steps that will lead to the realisation of Sister City Relationship between certain cities in the two nations that share similarities in economic and social importance. This is in collaboration with relevant bodies that will oversee the process, for instance, the mayors of the cities, governors, regional ministers. This sister city relationship between our cities, apart from enhancing general economic development, promoting citizen diplomacy and cultural diversity among our people, will come with many social and economic benefits and its hinged on:
Education – professorial and student exchange programmes between tertiary institutions in Abia State and Accra, capital of Ghana.
This will create an avenue for impacting and sharing of special knowledge not obtainable for these students in their resident institutions.
Trade – exchange of expertise in local manufacturing and production sector to assist each other’s growing local manufacturers to share experience and skills and help the growth of each other’s indigenous manufacturing sector, which will incorporate the launch of made in Aba products in Ghana.
Health – exchange of experts in medical fields to assist in emergencies and collaboration for training and capacity development in health sectors of Abia and Accra
Tourism – tourism partnership via promoting selling and creating joint-tourism packages and cultural events to visitors in each other’s cities and tourism centres.
The hope is that engagement between the people of geographically distant communities will promote friendship and understanding among them through cultural exchange programmes that will increase tourism and trade among the people leading to city-to-city trade agreement and foster exchange in investment and innovation.
Having been in Ghana for two years, what fascinates you about the country?
Ghanaians are wonderful and accommodating people. I like the fact that it’s a peaceful country and the electricity supply is constant.
This interview was originally done by Sunday Oguntola/The Nation Nigeria