Chioma Stephanie Obiadi: Beauty queens don’t have to be scandalous
Chioma Stephanie Obiadi, who represented Anambra State, is the newly crowned Miss Nigeria and 40th queen since the inception of the pageantry. In this exclusive interview with TOBI AWODIPE, the 21-year-old who is currently studying Geography and Meteorology at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, talks of her journey into the world of beauty pageants, what she intends to embark on during her reign and other matters
You said you are a student. How are you going to juggle your academics with the demands of your crown?
Nothing good comes easy. I started pageantry a while ago and I’ve been managing well so far. I’m very lucky that this is my I.T year, so I guess I have more time to focus on this properly.
How and when did you decide to go into pageantry?
I’ve always loved the pageant world right from when I was little and I am the kind of person that always likes my voice to count and I strongly believe that this is a wonderful platform for me to do just that. To tell you the truth, it is amazing; it is already opening me up to the world. I am already making a difference, which is what I’ve always been about right from when I was young. I am the kind of person that likes to make a difference, I want people to be able to say, “Chioma did this for me”. I want to make a positive change in Nigeria, and with this platform, I believe I can achieve that. That is what I am here to do, to make a difference. I want to better people’s lives, I want to create a positive impact with anyone I meet. I want the world to know that Nigerians are good people and are much more than what other people say we are.
How do you intend going about making this difference?
I intend to start off with my pet project, the Green Girl Project, which heavily involves the conversion of biological wastes to electricity, which as we know is a major problem in Nigeria. I intend to also empower women by putting them in the forefront because women interact more with the environment. Truthfully, the earth doesn’t need us but we need the earth and it is time we protect her.
In your opinion, do you think more can still be done for Nigerian women in terms of careers and social responsibilities?
I believe we are not maximizing our potentials to the fullest and it is time for women to stand up, grab the bull by the horn and speak for ourselves, get what is rightfully ours. The society needs to do better for us; we need to do better by ourselves and for ourselves because nobody is going to do that for us at the end of the day. We need to take more control of our lives, our careers and our selves.
Tell us more about this Green Girl Project?
The project will focus on the environment and women in particular. Women are in contact with the environment more often than men. We cook; take care of the home, work and so on. If we don’t take care, what we are enjoying now, our children and grandchildren might not enjoy it. If our forefathers did not destroy the earth, why then do we want to destroy it?
How was your experience like, in camp and finally emerging winner?
It was adventurous and amazing. To tell you the truth, I told myself, ‘Just go, learn something, better yourself and may the best person win.’ I didn’t take it as a do or die affair. It was amazing because everyday in camp, I got to learn something new, from the motivational speakers that spoke to us to the skill acquisition programmes and so on. I was just really glad I had the opportunity to better myself. As much as I wanted to win because I want to make a difference, a change, it wasn’t just all about that for me. I gained a lot, I bettered myself and I’m very happy I decided to participate; it has been a life changing experience, even if I didn’t win. I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.
Apart from the pet project, is there something else you intend doing during your reign?
I think its better to focus on one thing and do it well than partaking in several things and making a mess of them. I think ill just focus on this and make sure I do it to the best of my abilities.
Your male fans want to know if you are in a relationship
(Laughing) No, I am not. I want to focus on what I have set out to do. But on second thoughts, I’m in a relationship with my country right now and that is how I want it to be.
Recently, there have been some scandals associated with beauty queens, what are you going to do to correct this negative image?
Its quite unfortunate what happened, but we can make a difference by our actions. I need to be careful about how I behave, I need to prove that Nigeria has a lot of beautiful women, beauty both in and out, strong, talented and intelligent women that don’t need to do certain things to prove they are beautiful. This is how I intend to restore the image of beauty queens.
Were your parents in support of your going into the competition?
Totally and completely. What would I have done without them? They gave me more support than I even asked for. My mom is a teacher and she has been calling me regularly, praying and supporting me.
What is your philosophy of life?
Determination, passion and focus. When you believe it, dream it, you can have it, no matter how big it seems. Everything begins with a step and once you take that first step, the sky is simply a stepping stone. We are all strong people, we are all blessed, and we just need to actualize our respective blessings.
I want you to confirm or deny if the stories about winners of beauty pageants exchanging sexual favours for the crown is really a thing?
I can boldly say anywhere that nothing of the sort happened here in Miss Nigeria, everything was free and fair and above board.
On a lighter note, what are your hobbies?
Traveling, meeting people and watching movies, especially high school movies. I love high school musicals, its old but its one of my favourite all time movies.
What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
Mostly I read geographical books, books in line with what I am studying in school.
Tell us your top three travel destinations if given a chance?
(Laughing) I have a lot of places in mind, three is too small but I think the top three would have to be Paris, Kenya and the Maldives.
Tell us your style icons, locally and internationally?
Locally, that would be Toke Makinwa. I love her style. Internationally, Tyra Banks, I believe she has a great sense of style. Finally, Michelle Obama. She is my go to any day. She’s classy and amazing, she has an absolute sense of style and I look up to her.
If you could raid a celebrity’s closet, whose would you raid?
Locally, that would be Toke Makinwa. Internationally, Michelle Obama.
How would you describe your personal style?
Simple, classy and elegant is how I will describe my style.
If you had to leave your house urgently for any reason and you could only take five things along, what would you take with you?
I’d grab my Rosary, my crown and a picture of my family I have by my bed. With those three items, I think I am pretty okay.
What would you tell other young ladies out there that want to get into beauty pageantry?
As I always say, nobody is bigger than anybody. I will advise them that they shouldn’t listen to anyone that says that they are girls and there are some things they cannot do. Whatever a man can do, you as a woman can do even better. Just be focused and determined and don’t allow anyone derail you. You might fail a couple of times but failure is the beginning of success, just keep pushing, you’ll get there. If you want to go into pageantry, please by all means do so. Don’t allow anyone stop you, you own yourself.
What message do you have for your fans and people looking up to you?
Nothing in this world is above you. Once you dream it, you can achieve it, all you need is strength, passion and determination.