• Saturday, April 20, 2024
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When beauty pageant goes ‘beyond beauty’


How exactly does a beauty pageant, which ordinarily should celebrate beauty, go beyond beauty? That is the question that agitates your mind the moment you hear that ‘Beyond Beauty’ is the theme of Queen Nigeria 2014, a unique beauty pageant being packaged by Famford Enterprise Limited, in collaboration with Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and TV Enterprises (TVE), a subsidiary of NTA.

But as the question is going on in your mind, Olusegun Famodimu, chief executive officer, Famford Enterprises, mounts the podium.

‘Beyond Beauty’ is more than just another catch-phrase as Queen Nigeria pageant has a vision to truly raise the standards on the definition of a beautiful Nigerian woman, taking it beyond just physical beauty to also focus on brain, culinary skills and character, explains Famodimu at a media parley to unveil the programmes for the event.

Besides, he says, the pageant also seeks to foster national integration, especially in the face of serious threats to the unity of the country, as well as raise the moral standards in the country at a time when moral decadence amongst young people is at an all-time high.

“Queen Nigeria was birthed from a desire to host a truly national pageant that celebrates beauty as defined by Nigerians for Nigerians. It seeks to foster national integration through a mix of selected queens representing indigenous states of origin and not just wearing a tag, and it encourages Nigerian women from every tribe, religion and culture,” he says.

Famodimu explains that traditionally, the Queen Nigeria pageant includes a cooking competition and excludes a swimwear session, which makes it acceptable to all regardless of tribe or religion, adding that the pageant has a mission to celebrate the rich fundamental cultural and moral values which typify the true essence of the contemporary Nigerian woman.

Lending her voice, Ekundayo Odele, brand affiliate and partner, Queen Nigeria, says the ideal Queen Nigeria is a truly Nigerian woman who understands the diversities that make up Nigeria, the cultures, the values.

“She could be from any part of Nigeria, but she must understand religious tolerance, she must be able to represent our unity, our richness,” says Odele.

“If you go on the internet, even for those who have not heard about Nigeria for the first time, what readily comes to mind are Chibok, Boko Haram, etc. But there is much more to Nigeria than Boko Haram. Nigerians are very friendly, hospitable and happy people. We have a lot going for us. We need to show the world what is good about Nigeria,” she says.

She further explains that to make Queen Nigeria a truly national competition, each contestant must come from the state she represents, not a situation, as often happens in other pageants, where someone from, say, Anambra State, would be seen representing Bauchi.

She says pageant is open to Nigerian females between the ages of 18 and 25, informing that judging will be based on three different criteria, namely, viewers’choice, pre-event participation, and the event proper.

Also, to make the pageant truly Nigerian, Odele says the fabric to be worn by contestants (including dinner gowns), as well as make-up, accessories, style, hair, etc, would be strictly African.

“Our culture has been eroded by western values. We need to get it back. That is the idea behind this pageant,” says Muyiwa Oshinaike, brand affiliate and head of production, Queen Nigeria.

Famodimu further says physical beauty, intellect and charisma, poise and style, confidence and boldness are some of the core values that the ideal candidate for Queen Nigeria must possess, adding that she must also be passionate about her society, have drive and be an inspiration to others, be compassionate and generous, as well as have respect for herself and others.

The maiden edition of Queen Nigeria was held in 2008 at Sheraton Hotel & Towers, Abuja. It was a week-long finale covering tourism and historical experiences, talent competition, cooking competition and a grand finale night. Between the first edition and the 2014 edition, there was a transition period during which the organisers were working on producing a bigger and better brand to encourage business partnership and foster the growth of the brand. The 2014 edition therefore comes as a re-launch.

“We intend to have a theme for each yearly pageant so as to bring a difference in the production and outlook of each event. Each yearly event will be different from the other to excite the audience towards the next event. This year we intend to bring in some of Nigeria’s exceptional women to the event and also partner with world-class consultants to produce and execute a world-class pageant from the shores of Africa,” says Famodimu.

The event, which comes up on December 6, 2014 at Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, will be beamed live on all NTA networks around the world, making it one of the most-watched events on that day as, according to Orji Chukwuka, marketing manager, TVE, NTA has a local viewership of over 200 million and a global viewership of 900 million.

The organisers advise interested participants to visit www.queennigeria.org for further details.