Oluomachi Irem is an optometry student, a hair stylist and a model. She recently won the Miss Ututu Beauty Pageant. In this interview by KINGSLEY ALUMONA, she speaks about the beauty pageant, her unique qualities that made her win the pageant, what her new fame means to her, why people should visit Ututu community, and her advice to young people.
TELL us about yourself and what inspired your love for modelling.
I’m an optometry student of Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO). I’m a lover of music, movies and adventure. What inspired my love for modelling is that one gets to express oneself and talent, and your uniqueness is noted too. It builds one’s courage to become bolder and gives one the opportunity to meet new people.
Briefly tell us about the Miss Ututu Pageant and why you decided to participate in the 2021 edition.
Miss Ututu Beauty Pageant, which holds every 1st of January, is a show where young girls of Ututu community—consisting nineteen villages—come out to showcase their talents, beauty, smartness and intelligence. It also showcases most of the cultural practices in Ututu, enabling others know about our culture and tradition.
I decided to partake in the 2021 edition of the pageant because I was determined to bring the crown of Miss Ututu back to my village (Obienne Ututu) after so many years.
What was the selection process of the pageant like?
The selection process was based on intelligence, smartness, beauty, stage performance, and the ability of being dedicated to whatever you’re asked to do. Apart from that, before the grand finale, we had our orientation training for about 4 to 5 days where our character, charisma, way of reasoning, way of talking and our beliefs about life were examined. No pageant organiser would want to crown someone who’s incapable of being a queen.
What are the benefits of winning the pageant?
You’re going to be a star most young ladies in Ututu are looking up to and aspiring to emulate. Aside the money and the scholarship aspects, one also has the liberty to meet top dignitaries, not in Ututu only, but also in Abia State as a whole.
What unique qualities of yours would you say made or enabled you to win the pageant?
My ability to answer the questions correctly helped. Also, my stage performance was superb. But, it’s not just the performance on stage. I was very punctual during our orientation training. I was always paying attention to everything they were teaching us.
Another thing that helped me is that my immediate-elder sister contested in the pageant two years ago, but she didn’t win. So from her, I got some experiences which helped me. I also researched about the kind of questions they’ll ask us—current affairs mainly, and things about Ututu.
At a point I didn’t believe I’ll win. So, when I won I was so happy. I understood it was grace, because it was too competitive. And, to my family, the news made them so proud of me.
Modelling comes with high life, luxury, and certain beauty surgeries. How do you intend to cope with this type of lifestyle should the temptation or need arises?
In this life, everyone has his or her own life philosophy, perception and mindset. How you train yourself matters a lot. With that, nothing can make you go off the line. I know I’m naturally beautiful and wonderfully made by God.
So, the fear of God in me controls me in not falling into things that don’t please Him in the name of luxury and trying to add extra beauty to how special God has already made me.
How are you handling the fame that comes with winning the pageant?
I am handling the fame quite well. With the office, crown and fame it brought me—at least, in my community—I can use it to make positive changes in the lives of young girls. Since I’m known and respected now, when I speak, they’ll pay attention. I can relate to people now, without much stress, in sharing my ideas concerning the growth and development of Ututu. I’m planning a youth seminar soon which and I believe there’ll be good turn out and support.
I don’t use my fame for unnecessary things, but to make positive changes. I’m happy I’m starting from somewhere, while I hope for Miss Nigeria (laugh).
Do you see yourself winning the Miss Nigeria or the Miss World pageant in the future?
Yes, I see myself becoming Miss Nigeria someday—probably after I must have participated in the next ‘Face of Abia State’. I also see myself as being Miss World too. I’m working towards achieving these dreams.
Female models, most times, have men crushing or hitting on them. How do you handle or intend to handle such men and their propositions?
As a model, many upcoming models or youths, mainly ladies, look up to me. I’ve a dignity to uphold and I can’t be found in a comprising situation. Being a public figure isn’t easy. You need to be careful with your utterances, things you do, people you follow and the kind of places you visit. Many invisible eyes are on you, and the media are always ready to call you out. In that case, you’ve to discipline yourself because temptations will surely come.
So, men will come just to test you by asking you out, not because they care about you or love you, but to have a test of your body so they can brag about it outside. These will bring down your personality and dignity. It’s not actually easy, but it’s something one can handle—and I’m handling it as a model. I’ll keep being a role model, remembering my body is the temple of God.
Do you see modelling more like a hobby or a career? Apart from the Miss Ututu Pageant, what other pageants have you participated in?
I see modelling both a hobby and as a career, because modelling is something I derive joy in. At the same time, I want to go places with it. Aside Miss Ututu, I’ve not really participated in any other pageant. But, I intend going farther than I’m now. And, I’m working towards achieving that.
Briefly tell us about Ututu community and why people should visit it?
Ututu is a community in Arochukwu Local Government Area of Abia State. It’s made of nineteen villages. There are many natural resources in the community, and lots of exciting places to visit too. We’ve springs, hills, mountains and cultural entertainment. There are lots of food and fruits. The community is one of the most peaceful places in the world;; full of lovely and God-fearing people. People should try and visit Ututu because there are lots of fun there, especially during festive periods.
What is the significance of the Miss Ututu Pageant to Ututu community?
The pageant projects the name of Ututu. It brings all the different villages in the community together to bond in peace and unity and joy, no matter the class of individual, religion, belief and political party one belongs to. It’s also an avenue for the youths to showcase their potentials, in which sponsors could discover them.
What three things should people know about you that they do not? And what three qualities do you desire in a man you are interested in?
Aside from being a beauty queen, I’m also a hair stylist, manicurist and a lover of soccer (I’m a Manchester United FC fan). I desire a good-looking, caring and, most of all, an understanding man.
What do you like doing at your leisure? And, if you were to go on a foreign tour, which country would you prefer and why?
I love going on adventures, discovering new things. I also watch movies. I would really love to tour Korea (South Korea). It has been my dream country since childhood. I choose Korea mostly because of their cool weather conditions, and their mode of dressing is quite enticing too.
What advice do you have for young people, especially the female ones, who are aspiring to be like you?
They should always believe in themselves. Be God-fearing, have a dream and chase it in a right way. Girls should always remember that their body is the temple of God, and they shouldn’t be carried away by men or things of the world, because it’s not everything that glitters that is gold. Also, they should read books to widen their knowledge and always remember to be seen as a role model.
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