Leesi Peter-Vigboro is the reigning Miss Nigeria Queen. Since she won the pageant last year, nothing much has not changed about her personality as she has always kept her integrity, strive hard and always want to be the best in all her dealings.
The journey as the queen seems not easy as it comes with its challenges and benefits knowing that people especially youth’s look up to. In this engaging interview, Leesi whose tenure will be wrapping up soon, talks about the journey so far, as a queen, her accomplishments and the sexual harassment that characterize the modelling industry.
By Anozie Egole
It’s been almost a year since you emerged Miss Nigeria, how has it been so far?
It’s been a very wonderful journey for me. At first, it was such a challenge to settle into the role and handle so much attention especially from the media as I’m usually a very introverted person. But eventually, I started getting the hang of it. When I looked back months before I won this crown, I have the conviction that I have grown into a much stronger and better woman. This is one experience I’m eternally grateful to the organizers.
What exactly have you been able to achieve so far as regards your community project as a queen?
I have been involved in so many different community development projects and it’s such a beautiful thing that I am in a position where I can positively impact on my society. Apart from my visits to orphanage homes, I collaborated with Sebeccly Cancer Care Organization on a few projects. We visited community Girls Secondary School where we educated the girls on how to carry out breast self-examination and I also talked with the girls about my journey.
I also collaborated with Sebeccly to carry out a “Run For Cancer” campaign at the Okpekpe Road race in Edo State where we created awareness about breast cancer, carried out free testing for the community women and we were also able to raise some funds for an initiative tagged “Change Her Cancer Story.” I am currently embarking on a community development project in Port Harcourt called, “Project Young Minds”. I am working with Young volunteers from other West African countries to train and equip the students in community schools with basic computer skills like Microsoft office, graphic design among others.
We are also about to launch a project called the “Green Girl Project” aimed at empowering young women in areas with environmental degradation issues by training and equipping them with project management skills and good environmental practices that can enable them to be active in the fight against environmental degeneration.
What’s next for you?
Right now, my interest is in conceptual photography and I will be going ahead to follow that path. However, I am in love with the arts and I’m still in the process of discovering and defining who I am. So, I’m open to exploring even further and seeing where it leads.
You have been a queen for almost a year now, what lessons have you learnt from this platform?
The most important lesson I learnt during my reign as Queen is that one has to know who he/she is, and work with that because there will always be pressure to meet certain expectations. So it’s important to know who you are , so that you don’t get carried away. I also learnt not to be too hard on myself and treat myself with patience and realize I’m a work in progress.
This position has brought you fame and exposure. How were you able to cope with it?
I tried my best to stay grounded. It’s really very easy to get carried away with all the fame, but like I said, I tried to remind myself; why I do what I do. My family and close friends have especially been helpful in making it easier for me.
They have been so understanding and have provided emotional support which have been invaluable really. I also think one habit that really helped me is mediation, there are times when it seemed like there’s so much to do in such little time and it’ll get overwhelming for me , meditation basically calmed me down and helped me gather my thoughts again
Do you think you have been able to achieve your set goals that you have lined up during your tenure as Miss Nigeria?
Well I honestly wasn’t able to achieve all the goals I had at the beginning of my tenure but I have been able to achieve most of it. Very soon, another queen will emerge.
What advice would you give to your successor?
I would advise her to focus on her goals, understanding that her reign is unique to her and so she shouldn’t feel the need to be like any other Queen but herself. Also, I would advise her to make the most out of the experience and still have fun in the process.
It is believed that models especially the female ones do have sexual affairs with the organizers of the event so as to emerge winner. How true is this?
I can understand why people usually feel that you have to do such in the modeling industry because there’s been a lot of such stories flying around. While I cannot speak for every organization because I haven’t exactly been involved with them, I can say that type of thing has not happen in The Miss Nigeria Pageant. The pageant believes in upholding the values and exemplary qualities of a Nigerian woman and so the winner is selected purely based on merit ensuring that they are able to represent those values.
Are you in a relationship?
I’m currently not in a relationship.
What has been impact of the pageant on your lifestyle generally?
One major way this pageant has impacted on me is in the way I dress. Before now, I’m used to be a very laid back person and wear a lot of casual. But as a queen, I have to attend a lot of events,grant interviews. So this requires me to make sure I’m always well dressed. Importantly , because I constantly find myself in situations where I have to interact with people, give speeches and interviews, my confidence has greatly increased and this is one aspect I’m really happy about as I feel more empowered and ready to chase even bigger goals.