Looking at her charming smile and beauty, there is no doubt that she is worth the crown of Miss Nigeria, having emerged as winner last year. 21-year-old Miss Oluwafeyijimi Shodipo, who is the last born of her family, is a polyglot. She speaks Yoruba, English, Hausa and German . The beautiful Ogun State-born damsel spoke with AJIBADE ALABI on how she emerged Miss Nigeria, and her challenges. She also spoke on other interesting issues.
How did you feel when you won the Miss Nigeria beauty pageant some weeks ago? I was very excited. It’s all very surreal. I mean, as the competition gathered momentum, I gave my best; and I was fortunate to be made Miss Nigeria for 2011. It is an experience I would cherish for a lifetime.
How challenging was the competition? I tried to go through every routine and do everything we were told to do. To the best of my ability I did my best. I also prayed and tried to be myself. There were a lot of things we were put through, and I put them to use.
What should we expect from your reign? Expect the best. I am going to be working with orphanages and motherless homes and show the less privileged love. I will be raising funds for charity. I hope to be the best queen I can be. I will give my time and energy to a just cause. I am taking a year off to be able to focus on the projects I will undergo as a reigning queen. Part of the prize is a scholarship to school abroad when I am done. I expect to be a true Nigerian and someone who is proud of where she is from; I will promote Nigeria everywhere I go. I want to be someone who will be a role model for young girls out there.
What is unique about the Miss Nigeria pageant? The Miss Nigeria beauty pageant is very Nigerian and African. We try to reflect being African in everything we do. While we were in the house, we had to dress decently even while we had to attend to chores. We also did not have a bikini segment. We made use of African fabrics, even in our dinner dresses. We had to be family-friendly and appeal to the mothers who would encourage their children to compete. It was also intelligent driven. The main prize was a scholarship to study anywhere, proving that education is the best. When you educate a woman, you educate a nation. To me that is the most unique thing about the pageant.
How did your parents feel when you were going for the competition? My mum was very excited. My dad has passed away.
How was your growing up like? I am an only child from my mum. I’m from a polygamous family, so I still have lots of siblings. Growing up was alot of fun. I was with my aunt and enjoyed great company with her and my mum. As an only child, I enjoyed myself.
Do you miss your dad? Of course, I miss him everyday. My sister said he would have been very proud of me. I miss him, but things happen in life and there is nothing you can do about it.
What are your dreams beyond winning the Miss Nigeria competition? I hope to go back to the university and get a degree; then do something in the line of fashion. I am very much interested in that because I learnt to sew sometime ago. I could like to do a course that will enhance me in whatever I do. No matter my area of discipline, I see myself treading the line of fashion and contribute to the ever dynamic emerging fashion industry in Nigeria.
As a teenager, how do you plan to be a role model to your peers? I hope to impact on this generation positively. I hope someone would see me and say, ‘Wow! Look at where this girl has come from and look at what she has become. I hope to be like her.’
I hope to be a role model, not just as a Nigerian but as an African and a God-fearing person. I am a very God-fearing person. I believe very much in God. I know that without God, I would not have been here, so I hope to inspire somebody somewhere to be down to earth. You can still keep a cool head and be a famous person as a beauty queen. I also hope to inspire people to get educated because it is very important as a woman especially. I hope to make positive impact in the way I live my life so that young folks could be inspired and know that there is a future in Nigeria.
Why do you want to go into fashion? I am very interested in fashion. I learnt to saw at a young age. I love to look good like every other woman. African women are very colourful. We love our geles (head-tie), wrappers and different kinds of fabric. I think I have been inspired by living in Nigeria.
Which of the designers in Nigeria impresses you? In Nigeria there are lots of great designers. If I eventually go into designs, I will like to use African fabrics and promote it. What I am wearing is Vlisco, for example. I admire Deola Sagoe. She makes wonderful clothing. She is international and she is always out there in different shows in different countries, spreading the African culture. She is somebody who has brought Nigeria into the limelight through her unique designs.
What is style to you? Style is a reflection of who you are and the way you look. Style is a personal thing. From someone’s style, you can tell his kind of person. I really do not think people should imitate one another. Just because someone is wearing clear glasses, he should wear same? The way you dress should reflect your style. The way I dress, I try to reflect who I am, as a beauty queen and as a lady.
Do you have a favourite colour? I have a lot of favourite colours. I like orange, green and magenta. They are all bright colours.
What about your favourite perfume? I attended a perfume launch recently—-Asabe a beautiful fragrance by Mrs. Nike Oshinowo-Soleye. I like it; in fact, I’m actually wearing it now. I also like Coco-Chanel and Chance as well by Chanel. She makes beautiful perfume, very lady-like and grandeur.
How about your favourite food? (Smiles) I have a lot of favourite foods that I will have to list six different meals (laughs).
Now that the fame has come, has the boys started coming for you? I think I am more protected now. But of course, generally, people stare at me. There is a certain air to it because sometimes people come to me and ask who I am? I am more protected anyway so the boys do not actually get to me.
What about your former friends? I am still close to my former friends. I need these people around me to keep me humble. So my friends are still with me. I will probably make new friends, but that will not make me lose my former friends.
Can you describe your personality? I am a Christian and God-fearing. I believe very strongly in God—-that He is all in all, and without His grace, I would not have won the contest or even be here. I also love my family. My mum is very precious to me. I am a home person. I love to stay at home and read books. I also like to watch movies; but being an only child, I guess I have gotten used to being by myself and doing things on my own. I do not really get bored. I like to say I am humble but I leave that for people to decide.
Is there anything you detest or hate? I would not like to say hate, but I do not like dishonesty. Dishonesty is one thing I cannot stand. I like people to be honest and straightforward because I try to be honest and straightforward to people. People should do unto others as they would want others do to them.