• Friday, July 19, 2024
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Nedu Rachel, doing Nigeria proud in faraway Paris

When she picked up the gauntlet to represent her country Nigeria at the 2014 edition of Miss Union Africaine (African Union) pageant in faraway Paris, the capital city of France, Nedu Rachel was perceived by many around her as too daring. It would be her first time of participating in a pageant of this magnitude, and she was going to be the first Nigerian to take part in Miss Union Africaine since it debuted in 2010. So, how was she going to do it?
But her mind was made up, and she was full of hopes and optimism that she would bring home the coveted crown. So she had her eyes fixed on the crown.
“I always believe that if you aim for the moon, in a worst case scenario you would land on the stars,” she says concerning her decision to participate in the contest. “So I told myself that I was out to win the crown, and even if I don’t, I would have brought honour to Nigeria because the name of my country will no longer be missing on the list of participating countries. Nigeria is too big to not be represented.”
Nedu Rachel
Nedu Rachel
And she indeed did bring much honour to the country, even though she did not bring home the crown. For the first time since the first edition of the pageant, Nigeria stood up to be counted, unlike the previous editions where the ‘Giant of Africa’ was literally “missing in action”.
Now that the pageant is over, Rachel says she feels good about the whole experience. “It was a wonderful experience that gave me a lot of positive exposure and recognition,” she says.
Even though she did not come tops at the pageant, she is unrelenting. For her, it is the beginning of better things to come. Already, barely two weeks after the event which held on December 5, 2014, Rachel signed a contract with Beauty Africa, a modelling agency based in France.
Conceived and executed by Mme Odette Tedga, a Cameroonian, who is the president of a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Ong Teds Assistance, that caters for street children, the poor and the sick, Miss Union Africaine (6th region) beauty pageant aims essentially at unifying the African peoples in the diaspora, uplifting the African cultural values, portraying the beauty of the African peoples, among other noble objectives.
The pageant is open to girls between the ages of 18 and 25 years who are citizens of an African country born in France or abroad or those who migrated at a very young age.
According to its organisers, some of the judging criteria include beauty, intelligence, motivation, body structure, the context of their speech which embodies their project, their boldness during speech and response to questions, and knowledge of the history and culture of where they come from as few questions follow each contestant’s speech.
Every contestant for Miss Union Africaine must have a project in mind should she become the crown bearer. All the projects are, however, rooted in creating a platform (NGO) through which different humanitarian services would be carried out, this being the major objective of its organisers.
And this sits naturally with the aspirations of Rachel, a young, ambitious Nigerian lady who hails from Orlu in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State.
“I love helping the less privileged and, with or without the Miss Union Africaine crown, I still have the hope of realising that dream one day, have an NGO under whose platform I would perform my humanitarian activities, because my dream is too big to die young just because of an ordinary crown,” she tells me.
“My heart weeps for these people because they also have the right to be happy like everyone else,” she adds.
She further says hers is not just a Nigerian project but something that will extend its wings to other African countries as well as the international community with time, explaining that out of her own little monthly savings, she sends down money to one or two social care centres in Nigeria from time to time just to keep her always on the track.
Rachel’s immediate dream is to further her studies, but she also says she loves acting as long as it’s a good story that will positively uplift humanity. She had her first acting experience in 2014, in a home video titled ‘Enjoyment Prophet’ which was shot in Paris by a group of young talented Nigerians in France, where she played the seductive Cynthia.

She is very grateful to God for bringing her so far, she says, further emphasising that her personal adviser and manager, Chukwuebuka Oluigbo (Mr. Cee Jay), has really been of great assistance and a source of encouragement.