Winning a crown at a beauty pageant has and will remain the dream of many young ladies who have grown up with dreams and aspirations of becoming a queen.
When I got the call that the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN) 2019, Nyekachi Douglas was coming to have a chat with us, I knew it wasn't going to be one of those basic interview sessions. From the moment she walked into the office, her humility and smile blew us all away.
Well, it took us another twenty-five minutes trying to get the MBGN ready for the interview. When the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria says she needs time to herself ready, it is only normal that we accord her all the respect and time to dress up and look smashing for the cameras.
The first thing I asked the 21-year-old beauty queen after she settled in for the interview was how she has been managing the stardom since emerging victorious at the prestigious pageant.
"It's been very interesting, obviously things changed overnight. It's been a task to learn how to manage your life as it was before and kind of put it into this new system that it is going into right now. It's new to me and I'm very excited to explore it and learn about others and how to work in this kind of situation and all that...and meet new people obviously," she giggled.
Nyekachi said she was more than shocked when she was announced the winner at the MGBN 2019 which took place in Bayelsa earlier in October 2019 but has always wanted to experience that golden moment.
"Yes...the main reason why I went there was to find fulfillment because this is something that I have wanted all my life and me finally standing in front of it was like now I'm getting it...I don't think it was about the prize for it was about the platform. It's not about the cash prize or money that they are giving to me, it's about the being the voice for the people and you can't really take that for granted...you know," she said.
Agbani Darego represented Rivers state in MBGN 2001 and went on to win Miss World that same year. Nyekachi appears to be threading on that same path as she represented Rivers state in this year's edition of the beauty pageant and will be representing Nigeria at the Miss World pageant later in the year. Filling the shoes of Agbani would require tremendous effort from Nyekachi and we asked her if she was scared or feels good to go about the next beauty pageant.
"Oh my God, a lot of people have said Oh I have the feeling that you are going to win and I'm like Amen to that. But listen (giggles) you know you don't want to let people down and I feel a lot of pressure from that and I feel the need to work twice as hard as anyone else because I feel like its been a minute since we had the crown and I feel like I should be able to make us proud and hopefully..." she said.
We asked Nyekachi want has been the most interesting activity she has enjoyed since moving back to Nigeria in 2018 and you won't believe wanted the United States-based undergrad said.
"I love using public transport...I'm always fighting for the front seat. I'm like I want the front seat where you get to see everything but if you are stuck inside in between everyone, you can't really see the people and how Nigeria goes and all of that. But when I do, I love doing it. And it's so much cheaper. You can spend like 1000 naira on uber but you can spend 200 and I'm like why am i wasting my money again? Maybe not anymore as I want to but I will try to...you know," she said excitedly.
Being a beauty queen comes with a lot of benefits so also are the activities that one has to relinquish. For Nyekachi, walking is one thing she loves to do but will have to do away with because of her new status.
"I love to walk. I wanted to walk across the third mainland bridge. I like to walk, I feel like that's the...i don't really have a gym that I go to on the regular so when I walk I use to give myself 40,000 steps a day...you know and sometimes I use to reach only 20,000 steps but I usually love to walk but now I don't have time to stand (giggles), I have to do everything right," she said.
We asked Nyekachi what is the one thing Nigerians should expect from her later in the year when she represents the country at the Miss World beauty pageant to be held in London, United Kingdom.
"Well I just got this crown and I think that you should expect me to show Nigeria...to be able to bring back the culture. I feel like a lot of people don't really see the good to Nigeria on social media and they only have negative things to say or see like yahoo boys and all of that. But hopefully, I'll be able to bring back the culture, show that we are creative, we are beautiful people, we are strong, colourful, cultured and all of these things are not really being portrayed and I really want to put light to that," she said.
Nyekachi Douglas hopes to help fix the public health sector in Nigeria by helping Nigerians pay more attention to the importance of public hygiene.
As the build-up to the Miss World beauty pageant in London to be held later in December, gets closer, we hope the 21-year-old United States-based model helps bring back the crown almost 20 years after it first touched the country.