Source: nigeriafilms.com
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Dreams die hard! You are driven by dreamsand every step taken is towards realising them. That best describes her story. From infacy, she knew she would be a queen. ”My mother told me that I would stand in front of a mirror and ask what I looked like. She would then reply that I looked like a princess. I've always wanted to be a queen,” she says.

It was her first meeting with the media after her emergence as the African Queen Beauty Pageant, which was held in Abuja recently. For Folashade Olowo, 21, life indeed begins as a queen. An undergraduate of sociology at the University of Abuja, she says.

”I was Miss Kabba in 2004 and I was also Miss Ogun in Kogi State,” says Folashade. ”I had almost missed out on this African Queen pageant, but a friend told me about it and I got the form. I was shocked when I won because there were other beautiful girls at the event.”

The only child of her parents, Shade is probably one of the queens that is dark in complexion. ”Why should I bleach my skin? I took after my father and I don't think complexion has anything to do with beauty. Black is beautiful.”

With a 5ft 7” height, Shade, from Kabba, Kogi State, will be representing Senegal in an international pageant. Why Senegal? ”I am to represent the face of Africa and slotted for Senegal,” explains Shade. ”Already, I've started learning about the people, tribes and languages. By God's grace, I'd win.”

Deriding pageants that allow flagrant display of nudity, she explains her emergence. ”We were to come out in three outfits –– traditional, dance attire and then an evening wear. Africans shun nudity; therefore, the organisers didn't encourage indecent exposure of any parts of our bodies,” she says.

Doesn't Shade think that her new position will affect her education? ”I'm in my 100 level, but I'll defer a session,” she says. ”My parents are aware of this and support me. Already, I have a project that would be geared towards the welfare of the African child, eradicating child labour, combating AIDS and promoting gender equality. Beauty pageants should exceed outward appearance and highlight what any queen has to offer her society.

Now that she is queen, will her old friends still be retained? ”Why not?” she responds. ”My friends will always be there for me, even when I'm no longer a queen. I hate pride and I've learnt to appreciate every person, no matter how small or big they are.”

How does she plan to ward off the men? She ”I'm not against anybody appreciating me but now, I don't think I need any distraction, especially from men. I don't even have a boyfriend! I don't want to have anything doing with men. I have a year project ahead of me and wouldn't want to be distracted by any man.”

Forget the manicured nails, beautiful figure or the face, Shade is a 'home-made' girl. ”No matter what, my mother makes sure I'm grounded in cooking and house chores. Remember I'm the only child and my parents are disciplinarians,” she says. ”I can pound yam and my hobby is even cooking. There is no Kabba dish that I can't make. Beauty in a woman should be total.”

So, for the next one year, the 21-year-old queen would have to be in African designs and fabrics. ”If I'm an African queen, then, I have to represent the continent in anyway I can. My dress sense would have to reflect Africa and all that I do. Already, a designer has been attached to me and my wardrobe changed from that of an undergraduate to a queen.