I want to setup an internationally recognised fashion brand in Nigeria - Queen Nnenna Okorie
Newly crowned Face of Nigeria 2020, Queen Nnenna Okorie has revealed her experience and journey to winning the highly prestigious pageant title.
In a recent interview, the fashion enthusiast and serial entrepreneur, Nnena plans to launch her own fashion brand and also pursue an international pageant title.
1. You won as queen. Is it your first time to contest and what is the experience like, being a beauty queen?
Ans: I won the Most Beautiful Diva in Nigeria (Top Model ‘17/18) it was indeed a great experience. But before then I’ve been modeling, but being a beauty queen taught me a lot. Now it’s not just about catwalk and posing for cameras. It’s actually about service to the society and humanity, Been able to be a voice to different campaigns like (rape, GBV, pad a girl child, child education, poverty eradication etc) through your platform. For me joining this campaign directly, through donations or partnership has been a great experience.
2. How can you describe yourself; from childhood, family, things you noticed that endeared you to beauty pageants
Ans: I’d actually describe myself as an ambivert, But when it comes to fashion I’m extroverted Haha. I’ve always loved fashion right from childhood, then I usually tell my mom the kind of outfit to get me and most times I feel sad when a particular dress doesn’t portray me as a fashion enthusiast lol. I did mini beauty competitions in my primary school and birthday events then we called it fashion parade, and I do come first. People do address me as a model right from childhood and I started looking towards taking up a career in modeling. Started modeling in my university days (my first gig was 2014) I loved runway modeling but my height was a barrier then I decided to try out my first pageant In 2017 and I won as the Most Beautiful Diva in Nigeria Top Model.
3. Did you get opposition from parents for contesting, and besides who else encouraged you to contest?
Ans: I thank God my parents were and still in support of my modeling career, they rejoiced over my victory at all times and always prayed for me. I know if my mama was still here she’d be the happiest about my current crown as Face of Nigeria 2020. My friends really did encourage me towards chasing this dream and I appreciate them for that.
4. Now as a queen, (sequel to No 1 question), what are the changes in your life and what can you say the position as a queen has brought to you?
Ans: My position has brought honor to me, I have a lot of people looking up to me and as such I have to be a good role model to them.
5. At what point did you realize you had a soft spot for FASHION
Ans: as I said earlier it was right from childhood.
6. What are your plans building your fashion brand
Ans: I’ll get to that real soon, it’s somewhere in my plans.
7. What is your future like, with your new position as a beauty Queen and what do you intend next?
Ans: I intend to pursue an international pageant title, improve my hairstyling business, start off my fashion brand, get a second degree etc there are a lot on my table and I’d let it out when the time is right.
8. What is the most interesting thing about you people don't know
Ans: I’m at my happiest state when I put a smile on someone’s face. I was really excited during my last project (Pad a Girl child) where I sensitized and donated Sanitary napkins to 100 school girls. the joy and excitement on the faces of those young secondary school girls while receiving the lecture and pad donation can’t leave my memory. So basically giving back to society in any form brings bliss to my soul.
9. Sex for crown and title has dented the image of pageant over the years , how was your experience like towards the title.
Ans: I always do a background check before I register for any pageant. I ask questions, check past Queens and red flags to be sure of what I’m getting into. There are a lot of bad eggs but one can easily spot them out before falling into their den. Before I went for Face of Nigeria, I took my time to assess them for 2 years. And my findings made me proceed to registering and contesting. If a particular manager is being shady, it’s best to quit before the worse set in. A contestant should stand for what she believes, do not sell your value for fake promises because at the end you’d have yourself to be blamed.
10. What is your opinion about girls who sees the need to have an affair with superiors to win a title.
Ans: it’ll definitely end in tears haha, I mean do you think such organizer isn’t engaging in such act with some other contestants. The organizer must have promised them the title as well and you can’t make no complaints if you don’t get the title, you’d be too ashamed to speak up. I’d say aspiring beauty queens should look out for prestigious pageant brands. Once you have a standard and you work both hard and smart there’s no way you won’t place a title.
11. You are a National Beauty Queen.That's really an accomplishment.what advice would you give to girls who think , you can't win a title this big without years of experience behind you?
Ans: I’d say work on yourself, learn good manners, be humble, be polite, learn your catwalk and poses, be confident, be cheerful. Years of experience matter but you can win in your first contest depending on your dedication and intentionality.
12. Last words for people who look up to you and those who intend to follow your footstep.
Ans: Never give up, be sure of your focus, study a pageant to be sure their objective is in line with yours and the platform can portray you in the best light. Don’t try to fit in rather stand out, do not let background, fears and society conform you. Always know you’re the best version of yourself and you can do it only if you try. And Good luck in your pursuit.