Let me begin and take you back to Wednesday (6th Oct) around 08.30 as I was arriving at work, as I went to put my phone on silent I noticed a message from Femi. It went along the line of ‘ just received message from Jacqueline asking if I was boarding a plane to judge Miss Nubian beauty pageant, as I’m not hope your free Saturday night’. To tell you the truth I was in shock I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry! Me? Judging a beauty pageant, not my usual Saturday night, or any night come to that. It certainly gave everyone at work a laugh, seeing my panic….put me on a plane to Nigeria and that’s fine but expect me to have anything to do with a beauty pageant and I’m out of my comfort zone.
Blackberry messenger was busy that day with Femi reassuring me that I would be fine and to relax and enjoy it. That evening I rushed to Bluewater to find an outfit, fit for the occasion and thankfully found it. Just preparation for a speech and updating of our display board to be completed and I’d be ready, well as ready as I could be for something to which I had no idea what to expect.
Saturday here and yes it was really happening, I was expected to attend and judge a beauty pageant it hadn’t been a dream and no one ‘more suitable’ had been asked to do the job. I guess I need more of that Nigerian spirit of I can do anything and stop being so British in thinking I can’t.
I arrived at the luxurious Thistle hotel just off Oxford St with Folakemi both in evening wear and heels lugging our huge bag with the display board to show information about Wish For Africa. As we entered the foyer without asking we were pointed into the direction we required. We took the long escalator to the second floor to the Hyde Park suite. We set up our stand and chatted with those that came to enquire, including the handsome Mr Charles Emeka who was one of tonight’s hosts, I just have to add that he recognised me as his Facebook friend and shamefully I had to ask who he was (sorry Charles!). Eventually we went into the event suite, by which time Lola Atkins another trustee for WFA had arrived to support us.
The show was meant to start at 7.00 but unfortunately unforeseen circumstances caused problems and the show didn’t commence until 8.30, African time O! The audience was beginning to get agitated but our host Mr Emeka soon managed to draw them back with the help of his beautiful co-host Glorianne Francis.
Jacqueline Wabara the CEO of Miss Nubian foundation introduced me as representing Wish For Africa, I was asked to speak about our charities work. I always get nervous with public speaking and again not at all confident but I thanked Jacquie for supporting WFA and gave apologies for Dr Femi Olaleye’s absence and mentioned the amazing things that our charity is doing for improving healthcare in the deprived area’s of Lagos and how we hope to expand to all areas of need in Africa in the future.
We were entertained though out the evening by a talented array of acts including Stomp and Shout a children’s dance group, Tony Fernandez a poet and performances by singers Lander Khandel and BabyBoy.
The judges were all introduced and we made our way to our seats. The other judges included Mark Walters, former Aston Villa, Liverpool and England football player. Des O Conner, speaker and black date coach/agency CEO. Sporah Njau, presenter of Sporah TV show. Ngozi Nwaim, CEO of Posh Lady International.
The 13 contestants made their way onto the stage representing many countries including Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Barbados, Jamaica, Angola and Ghana. They all looked stunning and bursting with confidence. It was difficult to judge between them they were all beautiful yet varied. We judged on several categories including traditional, swimwear, talent and evening wear. They walked the cat walk in their various outfits that they had chosen and in the most amazing heels.
The talent was wide-ranging from singers, dancers, photography to poetry and a make-over including a haircut (or at least a wig cut!). I have to add that some were more ‘talented’ than others but they all tried and kudos for that. There was a few technical problems with music for the girls which I’m sure gave them added stress but they remained fairly composed and carried on.
Once all the categories had been completed the judges added up our individual scores and chose our top six which were then put together to decide the overall winner. A close contest but the prize went to Miss Sierra Leon, Bianca, who was then crowned Miss Nubian 2010.
I started the evening feeling nervous and unsure of what was to happen, but as usual the familiar quaintness that I love about Lagos came through. Although things didn’t go exactly to plan, times went to pot, entertainers didn’t arrive, judges weren’t fed, everyone kept smiling and the atmosphere remained positive. Well done Jacquie for all the effort and hard work that you and your team put into the event. I must say it was an experience and I enjoyed it. And thankfully NEPA never went down!