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‘My ambition is to win miss world’

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Amanda being crowned Miss Talent at the Miss Aura International Beauty Pageant in Turkey. INSET: Queen Amanda


Having emerged Miss Talent in the Miss Aura International Beauty Pageant organised by Rixos Sungate in Turkey, Nigeria’s Amanda Akunne Ifeoma has now set a new target for herself; winning Miss World.

A graduate of International Relation and Diplomacy from the Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, the 22-year-old beauty queen and model, who is wearing her crown with pride, has taken up the task of supporting the girl child, leading campaign against all forms of injustices against women.

Akunne discovered her talent in pageantry and modeling in primary school after she won a beauty contest in her church. While in secondary school, she also contested and emerged winner of yet another beauty contest. Within two years, what started as a mere passion has taken Akunne to two different countries where she represented Nigeria.

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Recalling her first shot at pageantry, she said, “I asked my mum who is also my manager, if I could compete in the University, but she objected because she was scared it could make me go astray. I disregarded her, as all my friends believed in me and wanted me to compete. When I did, I failed; that was my first failure in pageant world. Luckily for me, when I graduated from school, I told my mum about competing in Miss Africa Golden and she supported me and I was crowned the winner.”  
 
Speaking on her experience at the recently held Miss Aura International, she said, “The competition was held in September 2020. My first pageant was Miss Africa Golden, 2019, held in Nigeria and the second was Miss Super Model Globe in February 2020, in India. So, this is my third international pageant. In my second outing, I emerged as Miss Talent. For Miss Aura International, I also emerged Miss Talent. So these are my titles so far,” she enthused.

On why she’s been consistence, she said, “It’s something I love doing. Every time I decided I wasn’t going to compete, they kept coming for me, but I can’t accept everyone; I can’t be a queen for everybody. But it’s something I love doing; it’s something I would want to focus on also.

She continued: “I haven’t made it to the main crown though, so, I’m looking out to be a new queen in another pageant; to be the main queen. I will not give up in my pursuit of it. Yes, I know I’ve gotten crowns, but it’s not enough for me. Till I get to that stage, that point, that level, that’s when I know it’s time for me to give up on this call. Not really give up, but basically to rest.”     

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Asked about her next target, she boldly said, “I want to win Miss World.” Sharing her experiences on the Miss Aura International stage, the Anambra State native said, “50 persons contested for the crown. It was quite difficult for me because I don’t speak their language. It was difficult to communicate, but some people could still understand me because they speak English; it was a great experience.”

On what she feel gave her an edge over others, she said, “I guess it’s my unique talent, my personality, hardwork and also my intelligence. I always rehearsed, so, my rehearsal must have made me get into the stage. So, basically, it’s just my uniqueness and God’s grace.”
  
With her crown, Queen Ifeoma is now focused on working for humanity and helping change the society for good.

“I have a pet project, which has to do with the girl child. I go to schools to talk to girls, donate and educate them on use of sanitary pad and hygiene. I also talk to these girls because many of them indicated interest in pageantry; whenever they see the crown on my head, they tell me they want to be queen like myself. So, I also educate girls on how to become a beauty queen.
  
“I have contributed to society by reaching out to the needy. I realised that many young girls are looking up to me; I am a role model to them. I went to my high school (Nigeria Navy Secondary School, Ojo, Lagos) and they were all amazed. The management was impressed that someone from the school is making the school proud and imparting good things on the girls. I think I’ve done something great in Nigeria and other parts of the world because, I also spoke to some girls in Turkey when I had my first contract; I tried to educate them.”

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Speaking on the challenge facing the girl child and what can be done, she said, “The main challenge the girl child is faced with is abuse. I’ve come to realise that almost every girl has been abused in one way or the other. In the society, especially in Africa, we need our parents, mostly the women, to pay attention to these children. Most children don’t feel safe telling their elderly ones what they are going through because they might not believe them. So, we need trust from these parents; we need them to pay attention to these children.”

She continued: “For instance, my mom calls us sometimes and asks us, ‘who is boyfriend? Many girls in primary school have boyfriends, but their parents don’t know. I could remember when I was in primary six then in Onitsha, some kids were caught under the tree doing rubbish. It could be that their parents were not paying attention to them, so, parents must pay attention to their children, let them know the right path to follow.”
 
On what her crown means to her, she said, “It makes me feel like a leader. It makes me feel unique, because I feel like it’s my uniqueness that gave me the crown, and my personality also. This crown spurs me to do more good things in the community and make people believe that with my crown, I’m truly a leader. With my crown, I was able to achieve something, which is having my own Foundation, Queen Amanda Foundation. I’m hoping to have my own modeling school this year and start my own pageant. My pageant would not be for youth alone, it would be more of teens. I noticed that in Nigeria, pageant is mostly for youth. Other kids from other countries will be able to come and compete.”

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