The reigning queen of Beauty of Africa International Pageant (BAIP), who also doubles as Miss Tourism International Nigeria, Rita Onyinye Oguebie, in this interview bares it all. The 25-year-old graduate of Library and Information Management from Anambra State speaks about family, career and her plans for the future. Excerpts:
What exactly led you into modeling?
I started modeling as a hobby. I have always been camera friendly and I chose the pageant aspect of modeling because it gives me a platform to reach people and add value to the society.
How did your parents react to your choice of career?
My mother has always been very supportive, but my father’s support didn’t come easy because he didn’t want me to be a model. He believes that a woman shouldn’t be so exposed. But when he saw the height that modeling has helped me attain, he then showed his support. Today, my father is my number one fan.
What were your memorable moments in the booth camp of Beauty of Africa International Pageant?
Every activity in camp was actually worth it, the training was top notch; we were taught poise, etiquette, catwalk etc. The most memorable moment for me was when I got award for the best talented person in camp; I couldn’t hold back my joy, because I felt so honoured to be recognised.
Beauty pageants in this clime are characterised with tales of sexual harassment, what has been your experience?
I have never found myself in such a position. It’s quite an unpleasant remark when people say or experience such because it rubs off on other pageants. It gives negative perception to the entire process and essence.
How has winning the crown affected your life?
It has affected my life positively. I have had very good privileges that I wouldn’t have if I weren’t a queen. I get attention and recognition most places I go, and that’s a good thing, one to be proud.
In what ways would your new title benefit humanity?
I believe I owe my service to humanity. In view of that, I have been doing a lot of humanitarian works. I have a female advocacy foundation called Rita Onyinye Foundation. We are basically into women development and empowerment, and we identify ourselves with every female-related issue.
Does being a queen attract more men to you?
Yes, I get a lot of attention especially from men, which might not be so much if I wasn’t a beauty queen.
Who are the men your heart beats for?
My heart is always beating towards my father, and not until I meet another man who exhibits the qualities he has, it remains that way.
What won’t you ever do to be queen?
I wouldn’t compromise my standards and values for anything. Also, I wouldn’t claim to be anything I am not because I want to be a queen.
What is your future plan?
I’m building a career in broadcast journalism because I intend to have the best TV talk show in the country, so I designed my project in line with my career; it’s called Project TAT (Take A Tour).