Men Or Money Won’t Make Me Forsake Values My Parents Taught Me – Antoinette Igebu, Miss La Casera



                                                       Antoinette Igebu, Miss La Casera

Antoinette Igebu, the current Miss La Casera tells ’NONYE BEN-NWANKWO how she combines her role as a beauty queen with her studies

How I got into MBGN

I knew that the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria pageant promotes both external and internal beauty. I felt I could use that as a platform to reach out to other young people and to empower women. Then again, I wanted to be able to reach out to children, especially the less privileged ones, and help them. I felt that contesting in the pageant would make me an important woman in the society and enable me to give back to the society. My family supported me all the way.

Losing the MBGN crown

I wasn’t disappointed that I didn’t win the MBGN. Even when we were in camp and people were talking about the crown, I told them that even if I didn’t win the MBGN crown, I would love to win the Miss La Casera crown, which any of the contestants could also win. La Casera is a known brand and I felt it would even help me to achieve my goal as a beauty queen.

Winning the Miss La Casera pageant

I don’t know why they crowned me as Miss La Casera. All I know is that I didn’t do anything extraordinary. I am a very outgoing person. I guess the judges saw something in me that no other person possessed and they decided to pick me. Since I became the queen three months ago, my reign has been smooth. Nothing much has happened. I am still in school. I am in my final year. I don’t have so much to do now. It is still early.

My project

I don’t know about other queens and whether they were able to execute their projects during their reign, but I am different. I hope to reach out to the less privileged. That has always been my dream. La Casera has a new initiative programme this year and it is called the Golden Heart Initiative. I intend to work with them on that project and then give back to the society in the best way I can. I want to care for the children and women, as well as to everybody.

Life as a socialite

I didn’t get into this pageant for the glamour and fame. I insist that I got into it in order to impact on other people’s lives. That is my main objective. Being a socialite makes me a woman in an elevated position. That is not my ambition. I know the crown comes with a lot of responsibilities. I know that the searchlight would be on me as a beauty queen, but I don’t intend to be associated with scandals. It is not in my character. Sometimes, people see things in a different way and I know some people may nurse the wrong thoughts. But I intend to stay out of trouble.

Admirers

I believe that you should always be nice to people because you don’t know where you might meet them in future. I am a very nice person and I try to be nice to people. I don’t remember telling you that I have a boyfriend; I am a very private person.

Coping with my studies and pageants

I am studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Benin. God is always behind me in everything I do in life. The pageant was just before my first semester exams. Classes usually stop a week before the examinations begin. I usually study before then. I took some books to the camp, but I wasn’t able to study. We were in camp for 10 days. I was able to catch up with school and I went back after the beauty pageant for the exams. I got more attention from people as I went back to school as Miss La Casera. But, really, I am still the same person. I don’t put on airs. I don’t intend to do that. I don’t believe in trying to show off in order to prove something to other people. I believe in being myself and all my life, I have always tried to be nice to people. I do intend to practice engineering. I live a quiet life in school. I just go for classes and go back home. I can’t be called a ‘big’ girl in school. I am just a normal person.

The prize

My crown came with a brand new car and a cash prize of N1m. It feels so good to be a millionaire. I thought I was going to get a smaller car, but the organisers of the beauty pageant surprised me with a 2012 model of Kia Rio. It was awesome. They blew my mind. I just look forward to working with this great brand. This is not just important to me, but to the brand. This is the 10th anniversary of the brand. This is the first time a Miss La Casera is getting a car as a  prize. I intend to reach to higher places even after my one year reign. I intend to make use of this opportunity.

Growing up

Growing up was quite interesting. I am a first child of a family of four. I went to good school. The most difficult part of my early days was when my father passed on. It was a trying time for all of us in the family. It still gets to me sometimes, but this is one of the things that make me stronger and make me know that I can rise up to any challenge and come out of it with a smiling face. My mum tried to cope with raising four children on her own. I was in SS3 when my dad died. It was quite hard. It is still not all rosy now, but my mum has tried to make life  beautiful for us. There is nothing that I ask for that she doesn’t give me. She is a very strong woman. My father’s death wasn’t an opportunity to go out with men for money. I had a very good home training. Even before he died, he instilled strong moral values in me. He always advised me to keep my dignity, integrity and always act like a lady. My mother taught me some things, too. I don’t think money or men will make me forget all they instilled in me. His death wasn’t a free path to be promiscuous.

Future aspiration

I would want to own a franchise that deals with beauty products and cater to the needs of women. I want to create something that would meet the need of every woman. I also want to empower women.

Falling in love

I am just 21 years. I know some people get married at this age. But I am not done with school. Even when I am through with my bachelors degree, I still have to think of master’s degree. Right now, I am not looking towards marriage. So, I can’t be talking about falling in love at this moment.
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