Few weeks back, the name Isabella Ayuk is not a name that would mean much to majority of Nigerians until last Saturday in Edo State when her fortune changed. She emerged the winner of the 2012 Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria which held in Benin .
Isabella Ayuk, 25, will represent Nigeria at the Miss World competition taking place in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China in November this year.
Living up to her new status, the new Queen on Tuesday, May 10th was made to have an interactive session with pressmen at the Silverbird office on Musa Yar’Adua Street in Victoria Island.
Looking every inch like a true queen, she comported herself with dignity, poise and elegance. For one who has been described as a veteran of the MBGN competitions, hers was a confidence that was overpowering and as captivating as her beautiful looks.
She is called a veteran of MBGN pageants because she has contested the pageant three times. Besides that, she is the Ex Beauty Queen Of South-South Nigeria (2007/2008), Miss Global Nigeria (2009/2010), and delegate Miss Global international (World) in Jamaica ( 2010).
She hails from Etung Local Government area of Cross River State, and represented Cross River State at the pageant. She is a graduate of University of Calabar, and grew up in Ikom. She stands five feet tall and loves travelling and cooking.
In this chat she talks about what drives her and what she intends to do with her crown of the Most Beautiful Girl in
Nigeria 2012. Excerpts:
What does it take to win this pageant?
For me it is not really about your physical beauty but your inner beauty and your confidence. You don’t really have to have the wow looks to come tops.
Like how much did you spend to get this far?
Funny enough! I didn’t spend much. Because this is my third time,the only thing I had to spend money on was my traditional costume which cost me about N70,000. But for others like my evening dresses, I spent nothing because I have had them two-three years ago.
Who made the dresses?
Frank Oshodi made the dresses I used for the competition and I have had them two-three years ago.
Who are your own most beautiful women in the country?
To me the most beautiful woman in the country is the First Lady of my state, Obioma Imoke. She is a very beautiful woman. To me, beauty is not just about your facial looks or physical appearance. I believe true beauty comes from within. The inner beauty that comes from reaching out to others. She has done so much for widows and the less-privileged children in my state. She will be my number one anytime any day.
What lessons have you learnt from participating in this pageant?
One big lesson I have learned here is never to give up on your dream no matter how long it takes. I am a living testimony. I have been here three times,and if I hadn’t emerged as the winner, I would have come back again just as long as it takes me to realise my dream.
When I lost out in 2010 and coming back for the 2011 pageant, I asked some of my friends who participated in the 2010 pageant with me to come along but they told me since they have tried their luck once, it means their luck does not lie with pageants and they did not come. When I came in 2011, I wasn’t picked again,but here I am in 2012.
So, what drives you?
My drive is my determination. It is a push inside me. I have been dreaming about it. Everyday I wake up, it is what I pray about, what I think about. I just didn’t believe because I wasn’t picked first, second time, it means I don’t have it in me.
What advice do you have for aspiring contenders?
Just like me,never give up on your dream. Whatever you set your mind on to do, never give up because it is achievable. Never mind the negative stuff people would say, they are bound to say many things. Just keep your mind on your dream. When you are up there ,they would be the ones to welcome you.
Who gave you the most inspiration?
My family have been most supportive. They say charity begins at home. My family has given me every reason to go on. They have always believed I have what it takes and they have stood by me all the way. So, my family comes first on the list of those who have encouraged me.
How would you describe yourself?
I am simple, quiet and down-to- earth.
What has been your
passion in life?
Well, I have always wanted to be a beauty queen. So all along, I have learnt the ropes about becoming one. Long before I even came for the pageant, I have learnt how to catwalk and dance and how to carry myself.
For a pretty girl like you, there must be a guy cheering you on?
Oh my God! I am so sorry to disappoint you. I don’t have a boyfriend or dude as you said. I am totally focused on my dream and my pet project. Right now my pet project is my boyfriend .
Apart from your pet project, what other things would you like to do?
Apart from my pet project which is to campaign for eradication of typhoid fever in our country, I would like to float my own fashion label and establish a school to groom other young girls who want to be like me. Even before now, many girls have come to me to ask about how to be a beauty queen. Many of them ask how to even catwalk. I would like to have a school to help all these people.
Why have you chosen typhoid fever, not other ailments like HIV/AIDS, Cancer and others like that?
About six years ago, I lost my sister to typhoid fever, and I have seen some documentaries on the disease. So many families have lost their loved ones to typhoid.
You said this is your third shot at the MBGN; what was your experience at each point and how far did you get in the first two shots?
In 2010, I made it to top 10. In 2011, I wasn’t so lucky, I made it as far as the top 15. One thing that didn’t change at every shot is that I got to represent my state each time I contested. I have always been lucky because each time I went for the screening, there were no contenders for Cross River. So, I usually ended up being the one to represent Cross River.
So what gave you the confidence to come this third time?
Like I said, my resolve to help people with the dreaded typhoid fever kept pushing me to come because I believe as a beauty queen, I would be able to help more.
Have you always thought you could win at every shot at the pageant?
Yes. I never thought I could lose even though I was not picked in 2010 and 2011. I have always believed my mission is noble and I have what it takes to be the winner.
And you didn’t see anyone at the camp who could be a threat to your dream?
None at all. Like I said, I went there to win ; not to compete. I knew what I wanted and how to get it. My pet project was an extra push that kept pushing me to go on. Besides, each time you are not picked ,they keep telling you ‘better luck next time’. So, I kept trying my luck.