Interviews | 15 September 2016 15:56 CET

I did not sell my body to become beauty queen — Ayanfe Falana


By Ephraim Oseji & Anino Aganbi
Ayanfe Falana is the Head Queen of the Most Beautiful Girl in Eko Beauty  Pageant sponsored by Ereon Pageantry. The Ekiti State-born 19-year-old political science student of the University of Lagos shares her experience on how she became a beauty queen. Excerpts:

Have you always nursed the idea of being a beauty queen?

Being a beauty queen is something I had always wanted to be. It is like a dream come true. It was something I wanted to do right from when I was in high school. I wanted to be a model. I wanted to give back to the society. Being a beauty queen can give me the platform to do what I want to do. •Ayanfe Falana

Why beauty queen? You could have chosen to be something else…

I have always loved cat walking. I would  stand in front of the mirror to do cat walk and act like a queen. So I knew modeling was something I had always wanted to do. Wanting to be a beauty queen was something I wanted to be right from when I was a child.

Growing up, was this something your parents encouraged?

With my two parents being in the ministry, I can imagine what a lot of people would have thought. My parents being enlightened helped me a lot because, if they were not enlightened, they would not have allowed me do it.

They knew I was passionate about it, so they had to give me their support.

Did you think you stood a chance of winning the MBGE Pageantry?

I am a positive thinker. Even if I knew I was not going to be among the top five, I was never going to think negatively. I always told myself that the other contestants may look more beautiful, but it was not just about beauty and I am not a dullard, so I would not give up. Besides, I am a prayerful person; so looking at those other  contestants, I felt they had one head like me; so why couldn't I win?

Why did you choose MBGE as opposed to other pageants?

I chose MBGE because it was available at that point. My friends told me about it; so I did my research online. I loved the fact that it promotes African culture. Every contestant had to represent her state, so it gave me a platform to represent my state which I did. It is not the kind of pageant that has to do with wearing bikini.

What was your parents reaction when you told them you were going for this pageant…?

Their reaction was not really so bad because, for me, it was a dream come true. All they had to do was to tell me, be careful. That if I thought this was not going to work, I should not go for it. A bikini pageant has never been my thing and they knew it. So all they had to do in the long run was to give me their support.

Coming into the competition and seeing your counterparts, did you ever think you stood a chance?

Even if I knew I was not as beautiful or as outspoken as the others were, I wouldn't give myself a chance to wear myself down. Not until the very point I would have heard I was not the winner would I have given up.

So, looking at the contestants did not freak me because I knew what it took and that was why I was there. If I knew I was not capable, I would not have contested. I looked at them and looked at myself, I knew I had what it takes.

What was unique about MBGE?
MBGE Pageant is trademarked.  I would not want to go for a pageant that is not going to stand. I love what they are promoting. All of these encouraged me to go for the pageant.

With most pageants, people believe being a beauty queen means you coming out half clad. They want to see your shape but that should not be what is important in pageantry. MBGE now coming out to say you do not have to be naked to win makes it unique.

What were the criteria used in selecting the winner?

For the judges, it was 50, while for the camp, it was also 50. The characters of contestants played a big role in what was used to judge us. Many of the judges knew what went on in camp, so, looking at the contestants come out on the run way and answering the questions correctly did not give us all the points because we were also graded right from when we were in camp. If you do not possess the character of a leader, then you cannot be a queen. You do not know how to talk politely, your manners of approach is nothing to write home about,  a lot of the other contestants felt proud and these were all things that were taken into consideration in camp.

What made you stand out from the other contestants?

I stood out because I was on my best behaviour right from when we were in camp. I had to follow the criteria. I was as open as I could be to every body and as active as I could be. I followed instructions and answered my questions correctly.

How have you been able to cope?
I have been trying to cope well seeing that this is what I signed up for. There may be tough times ahead but I know these are things I will cross when I get there.

What would you like your successor to remember you for ….

I would not want to be like a president that makes promises and cannot fulfil them. I want to be a queen who will make a difference. I have things I am really going to be focused for. I also want to throw out opportunities out there. If you fail, try again. All pageants are not the same. You do not have to sell your body to be a beauty queen. I did not sell my body to be a beauty queen. If it does not work, try again.

Pet projects……
My main focus will be on orphanages. There are rich orphanages and poor ones which people do not even remember. Orphanages are meant for people to go and adopt children but right now people do not even want to go there either because of the poor state of the orphanages or the bureaucracy involved.

How can the government be of help in sustaining beauty pageants?

A lot of these pageants are not duly registered yet they get funding's from government. Whereas pageants that go through the right channels in ensuring that they are properly registered and have trade marks are not acknowledged. These are issues government needs to address so they can step in and give assistance to those pageants which have trade marks.

What is the MBGE Pageant all about?
MBGE is an acronym for Most Beautiful Girl in Eko . It is a non-bikini pageant. The main objective is to promote and preserve Africa culture for future generations. Pageants that promote western cultures and bikini are from Europe and United States. Many Nigerian pageants that do not have trade mark copy western and bikini pageants which is unAfrican and are now retracing their steps by promoting Africa. It is all about enlightenment and exposure.

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