21-year-old Miss Unoaku Anyadike, winner of the just concluded 2015 Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN) who represented Anambra State at the pageant, will represent Nigeria at the Miss World pageant holding soon. The University of Ibadan final year psychology student, tells Mary Ekah how her childhood dream came to reality and her plans for the future
Are your parents in support of you being in beauty pageantry?
Yes, they are in support of it. My parents are not the strict types that lay a rule for you but they allow you choose whatever you want to do in life. So, when I told them that I wanted to go into pageantry, they were like, ‘it is okay, if that is what you want to do. And if that is what is going to make you happy, we are solidly behind you.’
Tell me a bit about your parents?
My father, Professor Chima Ayandike, is a lecturer in Literature in English at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife and mother, Dr. (Mrs.) Ayandike runs a private primary school in Ife, Osun State. They have five beautiful daughters, and we all grew up there in Ile-Ife. My father is from Ekwulobia, Aguata Local Government Area in Anambra State while my mom is a Yoruba woman and an educationist from Ile-Ife, Osun State.
Did you envisage getting to the final stage at this year’s MBGN competition?
Yes, I did. I was brought up to be humble first of all, have the fear of God in me and be confident in myself in whatever I do because when you are confident about whatever you are doing, you can take it anywhere. And this is not my first time of entering for the MBGN contest, I bought the form for the first time last year and I was one of the 36 girl picked to contest for last year’s pageant but because last year’s MBGN pageant was shifted away from the time it was supposed to hold, I had to drop out of the contest because it clashed with my exams when it finally decided to hold – it fell into the period I was writing my exams at school. So, I decided to come again this year. So, I was ready for it and if I had not pulled out last year, maybe I wouldn’t have won the race last year. So this year, I am so grateful to God for making it possible for me.
Now, how does it feel being crowned the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria contest?
I feel so excited. It is dream come true for me.
What was going on in your mind before you were announced winner?
Before I was announced winner, I was holding hands with my first runner up and in my mind I was just saying God let your will be done so that you will take the glory and then my name was called. It was a great feeling; it is something that you cannot explain. You have to be in that position to know what I am talking about.
Have you ever been a model or contested in any pageant before now?
During my secondary school days at Queens College, Yaba, Lagos, I used to contest in beauty pageants tagged, Miss Scruples. You know, very young girls dressed up beautifully in contest. I did that and was second runner up. And when I got into the University of Ibadan, where I am presently a final year student, I contested for Miss UI and I was first runner up. So MBGN is like the first real pageant I have ever gone for and today I am crowned the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria. So it is like going up the ladder – from the second runner up, to the first runner up and now the Most Beauty Girl in Nigeria.
What course are you studying at school?
I am studying Psychology and I am in my final year.
So how do you intend to combine this with school now that you have a greater responsibility?
Yes, I have a greater responsibility but after I graduate in December by God’s grace, I intend to do my Masters in Child and Developmental Psychology, which is also related to my pet project, which has to do with Endometriosis. This is a disease that affects both children and young girls. My Masters will properly help me with that too. So both my pet project and studies are going to work hand in hand perfectly well.
It appears you have always wanted to be a beauty queen right from childhood. What were your efforts towards achieving that and being where you are today?
The first thing I did and have always done is to pray about it. Secondly, I solicited for the support of my family. I am the fifth of five girls in the family and so I have big sisters, and I am not the only one that has gone into pageantry. One of my elder sisters also showed a strong interest in pageantry but she is now married and pageantry is no more for her. So, they all gave me the support and encouragement that I actually wanted.
So, apart from me always wanting to be a queen, I got so much support from my family and then I made sure that I am always in shape, I watch what I eat, so that I do not blow up excessively. I do exercise once in a while and then I read a lot about pageantry and all that it takes to be a lady, like how you are supposed to comport yourself as a lady. I also learned generally from my environment.
The theme for this year’s MBGN pageant is on Climate Change and when you were asked how you were going to propagate that theme during your reign, the first thing that came to your mind was Anambra State. Why?
At MBGN, when you represent a state, you don’t necessary have to come from that state. I was given Anambra State and luckily for me, I am from Anambra State. So obviously, the first thing that will come to mind when I am embarking on a project that has to do with climate change, is to go back to my state, Anambra, which I represented at the pageant and try and see what could be done because Anambra State has serious issues with gully erosion. And charity, they say, begins at home.
Now that you have won the MBGN pageant, what is the next step for you?
The next thing for me to do is to start my pet project which would be creating awareness on Endometriosis in Nigeria. Starting from young girls from the age of 12, going round to secondary schools, educating them on Endometriosis and on how they could be checked and also cured.
Why did you choose that as a pet project?
I chose Endometriosis, because Endometriosis is a condition that affects a woman’s reproductive organs. It happens when the tissue that lines the uterus grows outside of it. It is a painful and chronic disease that affects women and girls during their monthly menstrual flow. I chose that particular issue because I had gone through the experience and I know what it feels like to go through such pains.
I was able to go overcome it because I started making research and reading about the condition early enough, trying to know what was wrong and why was it that I was the only one that went through such excruciating pains during my menstrual flow and I found out it was Endometriosis. So I was able to go to the hospital early enough to get solution for the problem and right now, I am cleared from Endometriosis.
And now I feel it is worth every girl knowing about Endometriosis because you could be going through that condition for over 10 years without knowing it is Endometriosis and this may affect your ability to have children in future as well as other things in your body. So, I feel that the earlier you know what the problem is the better for it because Endometriosis comes in various stages and by the time it gets to a certain stage, it is hard for you to rectify it. Although it has not got any cure till now but there are various drugs you can use to cure the pains. So, I feel that every girl in Nigeria needs to know that this thing happens.
How are you going to do that?
I am still going to figure out how I am going to do that and obviously, it is not something I can do all alone. I am going to need the support of so many people – family, friends, Sliverbird and other organisations – I will need so many people to join me to do that. So we are still going to sit down, plan and talk about the best way to go about it. (/Source: Thisday)