By Jemi Ekunkunbor
A new beauty pageant aimed at empowering women as well as reforming, restoring and rebranding the dented image of Nigeria in the diaspora has berthed in Lagos. The new pageant, Miss Nigeria International (MNI), is the brainchild of pioneer Queen of Miss Commonwealth, Vanessa Ekeke.
The new pageant scheduled to hold in May next year in Minneapolis Minnesota, USA, is unique and different as it is being driven by a select crop of men and women, products of the pageant and beauty industry, passionate about transforming lives as opposed to putting up a show. Among them are former Commonwealth queen, Nkem Ituludiegwu Onwumah, Nena Jones, Leah Adegbesote, Honor Kabiri Esaen to mention but a few.
Announcing the new pageant at a press conference in Lagos, Vanessa Ekeke, represented by the pageant’s National Spokesperson, Nkem Ituludiegwu Onwumah said, MNI is a “glamorous beauty pageant that is positioned to empower women beyond beauty by actively engaging on the platforms of: eradication of women illiteracy, inspire creativity and nurture talents and Foster entrepreneurship amongst widows”
Speaking on how the Contestants will be selected, Miss Ekeke said, the contest will attract girls of Nigerian descent who will be selected from an evenly distributed spread from different geographical areas; USA, Canada, South America and other part of the world.
Contestants whose ages should range between 18 and 26, will slug it out for a prize win of $10,000 and the opportunity to represent Nigeria at the Miss International Pageant in Virginia.
Already, three contestants have been selected from Nigeria. They are Marian Asanlu, Fisayo Osinbajo and Peace Godday-Miebi.
Amongst the objective of MNI is to showcase the beautiful heritage of Nigerian culture internationally, while the queen as an image maker, would work towards integrating Nigerians in the diaspora with the possible opportunities that lie to be harnessed and possessed in our country, Nigeria.
Present at the press conference were Prince Akanni Oyefusi, designer and specialist dress maker for beauty queens, Nollywood Director, Charles Novia and Marian Ebe, first runner up of Millennium Miss Nigeria, representing official sponsors.