From childhood, Ebelechukwu Enemchukwu had nursed the dream of becoming a beauty queen. She also had opportunities to participate in either modeling contest or pageantry but her mum discouraged her, creating the impression that only girls who are not serious go into pageantry
In 2005, when she got to the NYSC orientation camp in Lagos, she found out that part of the activities lined up for the orientation exercise was beauty contest. Her platoon members suggested she represented the platoon and she decided to do it for the fun of it.
She won and that served as the encouragement she needed to go into future ones. 10 years later, Ebele who is now married with three children, won the National title as Mrs. Nigeria United Nations 2015 and proceeded to represent Nigeria on the world stage in Jamaica, where she won both the Mrs. Tourism United Nations title, as well as the award for the People’s Choice Ambassador.
For her exceptional performance in the first year, her reign got extended, making her the first Tourism Queen in the ‘Mrs.’ category to reign for 2 years on that pageant system.
In a chat with Tribune, she speaks about the need for parents to allow their children to follow their dreams.
The natural belief is that every parent wants what is best for their children. With that in mind, my advice will depend on the said parents’ reason(s) for not wanting their children to participate in pageants. Don’t forget, I’m not equipped with as much information on these children as their parents.
Therefore, I’d say to parents, if your reason for not wanting your children, especially your female children to participate in pageants is founded on the very many negative connotations and stereotypes associated with pageantry and Beauty Queens in general, then your fears are valid considering the volume of uncomplimentary stories out there. However, this is where guidance and hand holding will play a major role.
This could be done by the parents themselves, or by engaging a Pageant Coach such as myself, who is more experienced and will point them in the right direction so as to avoid some of the common pitfalls Beauty Queens are sometimes prone to. With one responsible Queen after another, the narrative that often associates Beauty Queens with being morally loose will be changed. We are more!
Like I keep saying, and I’ll say again, dear parents, do not unintentionally kill your children’s dreams. God has put them in our care to help them discover their talents and hone same to the glory of God. Pray for wisdom, pray for the gift of discernment, watch closely, you’ll identify their areas of interest.
All that is needed is proper guidance, because if mismanaged, what ought to be a blessing may end up being a source of sorrow and embarrassment for the child and his or her family. That’s not the prayer!
Plus, we must not lose sight of the whole idea of pageantry to build a more confident woman, a stronger woman, a woman who can contribute meaningfully to self, society, world; a woman with a high level of self-esteem.
Pageantry in itself is to give you that “can-do” spirit, to make you say, “hey! I am beautiful and being beautiful is not just on the outside, but also on the inside.
Again, guidance is needed. It’s okay for parents to place conditions such as insisting on the child attaining a certain age or educational qualification first, before venturing into pageantry. It all still comes down to proper guidance.