Abia-born Victoria Enwereji wears the crown of Miss Independence Nigeria Peace. In this interview with Femi Ipaye, the 18-year-old fondly referred to as Queen Victoria talks about why she went into beauty pageantry and what she hopes to make of her reign.
What is your status as beauty queen?
I was crowned Miss Independence Nigeria Peace at the 2015 edition of the pageant in Abuja. I was the 1st runner up, but the way the pageant is structured is that both the two runners up are also queens in their own capacities and are expected to help achieve the aims and objectives of the pageant which is to promote national peace, unity and uplifting the spirit of patriotism.
What was growing up like?
Growing up was blissful. I have experienced both hardship and wealth and have overcome so many challenges on my own. I owe my mum a lot. I’m currently studying computer science at the National Open University of Nigeria and I live in Abuja
Why modelling and beauty pageantry?
Because that is what I am most good at. It’s what I have passion for and what I believe in. I have always wanted a platform to make a positive impact in my community and I knew becoming a beauty queen will give me that platform.
How has the experience been so far?
It has been tough, not easy. It takes lot of courage and determination.
How did you become part of the Miss Independence Nigeria project?
A friend of mine saw the potential and introduced me to it. Though I had seen it on the internet, television and so on, because of difficulties in my previous attempt I was reluctant at first but later decided to register for it. I also thought the brand was different from the numerous pageants in the country because it represents our Independence and it is something I’m emotional about each time it’s celebrated. So I thought this was an opportunity to be in something that makes us one.
How did you feel when you won?
I was surprised and overwhelmed. I wouldn’t ask for more. It was a great achievement in my life and career and I am grateful to God.
What are the projects you have executed as a queen and how have they impacted the life of your target audience?
I have executed a pet project which is still ongoing. I tagged it outreach to children living amongst internally displaced persons (IDPs) and less privileged. It is a project I am passionate about because it has given me the opportunity to see what these people are passing through in their own country. I believe if there is peace and unity there wouldn’t be crises that will lead people to abandon their homes. So as an ambassador for peace, I also teach the children to love their country and imbibe the spirit of patriotism. I have visited several IDP camps in Abuja with several gift items and I intend to help start up primary school in one or two because the children need to learn even if they are in camps. It’s their rights and we must provide the opportunity for them. I am still working on this project to make greater marks before the end of my reign.
What else do you do outside modelling?
I study and I’m an entrepreneur.
How do you manage to combine your office as a queen and other endeavours?
It has been easy because I’m in an open university which enables me to study at my convenience and I have a friend who I supply goods to so I just focus more on my career and responsibility as an ambassador.
Beauty queens are the delight of men; how do you manage your male friends?
Well it isn’t that difficult. I hear them out politely and respectfully decline any sort of relationship they offer me. I’m grateful because they always understand.
Are you in any relationship?
When are you handing over your crown and what are your plans for the future.
On October 1 this year. God help me, my plans are to lay a foundation for thousands of people if not millions that would live to remember my name and the year of my reign.