Men should not take me for granted —Sandra Otohwo

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Sandra Otohwo
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A renowned writer once said that some people are born great, some have greatness bestowed unto them while others achieve greatness; Otohwo Fowe Sandra, she wanted to achieve greatness. Been born into a polygamous family and losing her dad early in life, she strived to make a difference. Looking back now, Sandra would not be sad with what she has achieved so far; being the reigning Miss Universe MBGN 2009 is worth talking about and she did chat with RITA IGHODALO on how she hopes to bring home the crown to Nigerians as a would- be- Miss Universe come August 23rd, 2009 in Bahamas.

Tell us about your formative years?
I was born and bred in Benin, I attended Georgina Model nursery and primary school then moved to Ebenezer Secondary School and presently I am a 200 level Theatre Arts student of the University if Benin.

Is this your first attempt in any beauty pageant?
No, my first pageant was at the Face of Niger Delta 2007 and I was the second runner up and in 2008 I won Miss Delta where I qualified for the MBGN pageant and in 2009 I emerged Miss Universe MBGN. This is my first attempt in the MBGN pageantry.

How was your experience at the MBGN camp?
It was not as stressful as I envisaged, since I am a Theatre Arts student, I wake up very early for rehearsals and exercises and this was how things went in the camp, there were lots of exercises and rehearsals and since I am used to it, that part of the camp did not weigh me down. It was all about being yourself and being ladylike. In general, the experience was not bad nor hard I enjoyed myself and the camp helped me to meet a lot of pretty and intelligent girls. Sometimes, I was down because I felt that I could not make it other times, I had hope because the girls had their own area of beauty, some girls may be intelligent but could not cat walk well while some were beautiful but not intelligent. But what I later realized was that MBGN involves an embodiment of everything.

Did it ever occur to you that one day you would become a beauty queen in Nigeria?
Yes, it dawned on me when I won the Miss Delta pageant and I got a ticket for MBGN after the screening but originally, I thought that I would just be a great fashion designer and models will wear my cloths I did not know that I will be a model until I got into the pageantry.

Were your parents in support of it?
I lost my dad seven years ago; when my first pageant came my mum was worried because I had to travel to Akwa Ibom which is about seven hours from Benin. It took the help of my brother, pastor and manager to convince my mother to allow me go and after my performance there, she believed in me and she allowed me go and when MBGN came she just gave me the push that I needed.

Tell us about your family background?
I grew up in a very interesting polygamous family, my dad had four wives and sixteen children I happen to be the fifteenth child. I love all my siblings and I thank God for my family.

What is your opinion on polygamy?
I do not encourage it, and I beg the young ones to desist from it because those involved are the only ones that know how it hurts.

Has it been challenging as a queen?
Yes it has, and the two most challenging things have been school and people. School in the sense that I missed a lot when went for the pageant and I resumed school fully about two weeks before my examination. It was very stressful I missed classes and I had to ask for people's opinion and their note books on the lectures that I missed. On the issue of people a lot of them deal with me on what they have heard about me even if they did not know me and they judge me by what they hear and give their opinion on who I am so far it has been challenging but I have learnt to ignore what people say about me I have come to understand that when you give room to ear say it weighs you down so I have decided not to listen to the rumour mongers so that I can achieve what I want to achieve.

How would you describe yourself?
I am a very hyper active person although I can be calm when I want to be. I tell people not to take me for granted for the fact that I am hyper active does not make me unserious. I am a goal getter if I put my mind to it, I achieve it, and no matter how tough it might look I must achieve it.

What gave you the confidence to go for the pageant?
In 2007, my friend Erika Okundaye won MBGN Miss Tourism and she encouraged me to go into the pageantry that I had the looks and stature to be a queen in Nigeria she gave me the push and taught me how to walk and told me to always look into the mirror to say that I am beautiful. Pastor Jonathan also encouraged me.

What is your body statistics?
I am 32: 27: 39

What do you think about your body figure?
I am a perfect picture of what an African woman should look like; I am a real African beauty.

What does your boyfriend think about your shape?
I do not have a boy friend and I do not know what those out there think about my shape all I know is that I am beautifully created by God.

When do you intend having a boyfriend?
Right now I have a lot of things that I am concentrating on, I know that for now there will be no relationship for me until God decides.

What do you look out for in a man?
He should display a sense of responsibility and should be someone that I can cope with, he should be God fearing and must be a typical Nigerian, I love Nigerian men.

What part do you admire most in your body?
My eyes, because I feel they are the most beautiful part of my body. If there is any part of my body that I will not tamper with it must be my eyes because they are the windows to my soul.

Who are your role models?
I like Monachi Nwakwo, Omowunmi Akinifesi, Kendra Etopuma and Tyra Banks.

As a queen, has there been any difference in your life?
Yes, I have an entirely busy schedule, I have to balance my academics with working as a queen and above all I have to look good all the time.

What are your likes and dislikes?
I love things that can just blow me away and will make me say ooo! That's so beautiful, I like people that are resourceful, discuss ideas and people that like to grow.

Do you have any pet project?
The Silver Bird family is doing a collaborative effort to fight breast cancer so we are engaging in breast cancer awareness.

What do you have to say to the organizers?
To Silver Bird family, I want to say that I love them all, I want to thank them for giving me this opportunity for believing, trusting and turning my life around for good I couldn't have gone this far without them

What should we expect from you in the nearest future?
I hope to represent Nigeria my country in the Miss Universe International which is coming up on the 23rd of August 2009 in Barhamabas I hope to come back and make Nigeria proud. Nigeria will see more of me in different aspects of entertainment; I am not going to let that off the hook yet.

What make up item would you not leave your house without?
My lip gloss, because when I wear them it makes me want to talk and it gives me the confidence that I need any time that I want to talk. Lip gloss reminds me of how beautiful my lips are.