By Paul Gidiongs
Miss Abobi Helen Ekaya, 19, is an indigene of Yala Local Government Area, Cross River State. The soft-spoken and intelligent 200 level student of Mass Communication in the Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH) recently opened up on why she is contesting for Miss Africa 2015, a beauty pageant to be hosted by the Cross River State Government, coming up by the end of year 2015. According to her, being an ambassador for the continent would give her opportunity to achieve her dreams of touching lives and advocating peace in Africa.
My name is Abobi Helen Ekaya, I am 19 years old, I am a student of Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH) studying Mass Communication. I am from Yala Local Governement Area, Cross River State.
When did you start modeling?
I actually started modeling in 2012.
What motivated you into modeling?
I am style savvy, and I love good things and also, I try to look good always in my little capacity because I believe that one must not have the most expensive fabrics to look good. So, while I was growing up, I started having passion for modeling because any time I wear a dress even though it is not expensive people would admire it and compliment. At the first instance, I felt like giving a trial in modeling to hear the responses or feedback from people and to my greatest dismay, people started encouraging me to do modeling and right there, I discovered that it was an interesting thing so I decided to go in fully. In 2012, I contested as Miss Catering. I won the contest. I have also participated in different projects, including Project Model Nigeria- a contest which was held recently in Calabar, Cross River State capital, I emerged as one of the queens representing South-South, South-East Nigeria.
Why didn’t you pursue another career path instead of modeling?
So many persons have their own perspective about some certain things and I think it is whatever you feel you can do best that you go into because individuals are different. God created us unique in his own image and likeness and as humans, we decide on the lifestyle to live either good or bad, for me, I have decided to live to see how I could contribute to humanity as it is the essence of living. Besides, I don’t do things because everyone is doing it; I do something because I love it. I call myself original and I don’t allow anyone look at me as photocopy, so I don’t like copying people. I live a very simple life and it has worked well for me over the years.
Are your parents comfortable with what you do?
Yes, my parents are very supportive of me in my chosen career. They are the ones that even sponsor most of the contests I embarked on. My parents are my number one fans.
Where do you hope to be in the next five years?
Right now, I am still a student studying Mass Communication, but even as a student, I make sure every single minute of my life counts, on the judgment day God will fault me if I did not use my time judiciously and as such, I am very conscious of my life because I don’t want to live a wasteful live. Besides, I hope that one day I will be crowned Miss World, representing the world perhaps, I also see myself working in a reputable media firm like CNN some day.
Which other contests are you going for this year?
I am gearing for the maiden edition of Miss Africa, a beauty pageant that will be hosted by the Cross River State Government this year, 2015; the event is coming alongside the Calabar Carnival, I think it is the best time to hold the event.
Why are you gunning for Miss Africa?
So far we have every stage in contest and I think contesting for Miss Africa will give me the privilege to achieve my dreams to carry out some certain projects which I wish to do. I will use the platform to reach out to the less privileged and also take Cross River State to every nook and cranny of Africa and the world at large. Basically, I will also use the platform of Miss Africa to advocate for the girl-child because the girl-child is more vulnerable to abuse in the society. Also, I will advocate peace in Africa, I have realized that there are so many issues we need to tackle in Africa and with the Miss Africa platform, I could meet with the African leaders to brainstorm on some of these issues bordering us.
I have streamlined so many fabulous projects to carry out, Just as my Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade always says that nothing is impossible to do as far as one is determined to it. I also believe that having knowledge of what you are looking for is paramount because if you do not have it then, you are on your way to failure. I have the exposure because I have traveled wide and the world being a village has made it easier to learn and know so many things happening around us.
I would use this opportunity to applaud the governor for his laudable projects including the Miss Africa Pageant. I believe in him and will key into his vision for the state if I eventually emerge winner of this contest. I see Cross River better than Dubai in the nearest future.
How would you describe the modeling industry in Africa?
The entertainment or modeling industry in Africa is thriving and it is quite interesting to note that most persons who go into modeling learn so much outside the business. It is not just going to the runway, but there are other things you need to learn while on the runway. So many models from this continent are doing great in our own way.
What are the challenges you have faced since you started modeling?
The challenges I have faced are numerous but by the grace of God, I see those challenges or obstacles the other way round as open doors. I believe that success is not measured through your height or size but what is made inside of you. I am just 19 years old but I do things like a 25 year old woman.
Are you attracted to modeling because it is a gold mine?
No, no, I am into modeling because of my passion to affect lives positively not for financial gains. I am in it because I see the sector as a veritable platform where my dreams or goals can be realized. I believe in the axiom that hard work pays.
Do you think you have all it takes to become Miss Africa?
Yes I do, I have the qualification, requisite skills and experience to become Miss Africa. I also have a large heart and strong bones that can climb all mountains.
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