Celebrity | 16 March 2008 13:04 CET


By By Ijeoma Ogwuegbu

Think beauty queen and you would probably think fancy dresses, perfect make-up and high heels. Trying to juxtapose that with the hip-hop world of t-shirts, baggy jeans and base ball caps turned backwards might confuse you but to better understand the world inhabited by outgoing Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, Munachi Abii, you may just need to.

“Me being a beauty queen and a rapper, you could say it is a split personality,” she said, we recently had a chat with her. “One is glamorous, high-heel wearing, always dressed up and the other one is the t-shirt wearing, baseball cap on my head sort of person.

I know it is surprising to think that someone who is a beauty queen could be a rapper, but long before I became queen, I was a rapper. It's not that hard to switch personalities. These are two different aspects of who I am but neither of them necessarily, on their own, defines me.”

Apparently, this split personality is not something new. Munachi says even as a child, she always wanted to be a musician, but also loved to play 'beauty queen dress up'.
“I loved to play 'dress up' and make believe queen. It was my dream. My Cinderella story, which I felt would never come true. Back then, if I had known that dreams could come true...”

Dreams come true
The dream did come true with her becoming Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria and continued with her flying to China to vie for the Miss World title, won many years ago by Nigerian Agbani Darego. Did she feel any pressure going into that, knowing people might expect her to do the same?
“No, I didn't feel any pressure because Agbani Darego had won Miss World before me. I know there were a lot of eyes on me, a lot of Nigerians would have liked me to win, but at the end of the day, it wasn't up to me. The organizers decided what happened.”

More than winning, she says, was the experience she gained for school from the trip.
“It was an amazing experience, one I would not forget in a hurry. I was really grateful for the experience. I'm studying International Relations in school and going back to school afterwards, I really could understand better some of the things I had learnt, going to China taught me a lot about international relations. I was able to write my exams better because of some of the things I learnt on that trip. It is not something I would forget in a hurry. I really had fun. As for the pageant itself, I would say I went as far as God wanted me to go. Translation: I didn't go too far (laughs)”.

Friends' help
Though she didn't go too far, it is further than she herself would have wanted to go, seeing as she didn't even want to go for the screening of the MBGN which she eventually won.
“My friends were the ones who forced me to go for the screening for the pageant. Actually, they had bought the form for me and they said if I didn't go for the screening, I would have to pay them back the money they used to buy the form, and since I wasn't about to pay anyone 7,500 naira, which was the cost of the form, I just went along. My mother threatened to get me an extra form if I misplaced the original. I am blessed to have such a wonderful family. When I won, I was ecstatic. The first thing that came to my mind was 'yes!!! I'm finally going to be on the internet,” she adds, laughing. “Honestly, I didn't expect to win. I had no idea. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would get picked above all the skinny girls.”

Be seen but not be heard
Coming with all the good of being a beauty queen, is not so good, what some people might refer to as 'the bimbo effect.'
“Sometimes people do not pay attention to what I have to say, because they would prefer I keep mute and look pretty. On the other hand, I get mixed reactions. Some listen and some don't. I think it's natural. However, I would prefer if people took the time out to listen to what people like 'me' have to say. It could be intelligent. I should not be judged based on my looks alone.

However it is only common that people make assumptions of others before they even get to know them. I have heard all kind of things. One time, someone took a look at my palms and exclaimed “ahh this one, she no dey do house work oh”. This is funny, because I know I do a lot of housework. Just because my palms are a certain way, does not mean I cannot do anything.”
She says she has learnt so much from the exposure she has gained so far, including some things she might have preferred not to know.

“There was so much I didn't know about the entertainment industry and this is an industry I have always wanted to be a part of, being a rapper. From the outside, I only saw the beautiful things about the industry, not the ugly part. I realized you really have to work hard. There are so many dangers you need to be aware of, so many people willing to take advantage of you. Now I've started asking myself if this is what I really want. There are a few scary things I've seen, you can't describe them. You hear stuff about how things work, what people have to do to get things done and you start to wonder.

Some of these people are those you look up to, people who made you want to be in the industry to start with, who you've seen on television. Finding that out was kind of disappointing. It made me not sure if I want to be there anymore. But in everything you do, coming across challenges and facing them squarely is what makes you different, it is a lot better than running away. You will never do anything. So I'm going to keep facing them as they come.”

The rest of me
Here's some trivial you might not know about her.
“I cannot leave my house without my iPod. I love music. I can't live without it. The funniest thing about me is my sense of humor. I can go all out to make a person laugh, when I feel like it. My happiest moment would be the Christmas service I attended at the Vatican in Rome. I have bad days. But it doesn't really get worse than that. Ok, maybe my worst moment was when my pet rat MJ (named after Michael Jackson) died. I get irritated very easily. However it doesn't last more than 5minutes. But the things that could happen in 5minutes could take years to rebuild. I do not have a boyfriend.

What I would like in a man is good looks, attitude, fear of god, and sense of humor… the list is endless. Never the less, he should be independent. I am not going to pay anybody's bills. It's not a good look.”
Now that her reign as Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria is winding down, she is already looking forward to the future after the crown.

“I have great and exciting plans for my future. However I shall reveal them as time progresses. The most important thing is that I am definitely going back to my music. I want to use the contacts I have gained from being a beauty queen to push my music forward. I want to be famous for doing music, for rapping, the same I've been for being a beauty queen, even more if possible.”

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