Beautiful and well mannered. These two adjectives aptly capture one-time Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, Omowunmi Akinnifesi. The exponent of ‘once a queen always a queen’ shared with YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine’s AZUH ARINZE some of the things that keep her busy now and more…
How has life been after your reign?
It’s been wonderful, it’s been mind blowing. Really, it’s been better than my reign. So, I love it.
What exactly do you do now, what keeps you busy these days?
Right now, I have a branding company and I’m on retainership with a company. I’m also an Environmental Ambassador for Lagos State, so I deal with a lot of environmental issues and work on environmental projects with the government.
What’s your branding company called?
El-Poise. And there are lots of things that are behind the scene right now that soon we would be launching. I’ve realized that you need to keep the public in tune with what you do every step of the way, but I don’t want to do that for now.
What do you miss about not being a queen anymore?
I don’t miss anything, because once a queen always a queen. That’s it really! I don’t miss anything. In fact, as a matter of fact, I love it without the crown. Without the crown, I am freer and I can still get things done.
During my reign, I won the Miss Tourism International pageant in Ukraine. I also won the Miss Bikini International. I had three crowns during my reign, so those were my highest points and of course, the Miss World pageant in China, which I participated in. Wonderful!
How about after your reign?
After my reign, the Celebrity Takes 2 dance competition was amazing; becoming an Environmental Ambassador for Lagos; achieving a very high GPA in University of Lagos. I finished with a 2:1. And so many more things to come. I don’t want to talk about them yet. But education-wise, I’m furthering my education.
Who among your predecessors and successors do you admire, and why?
I admire everybody for one reason or the other. Some have reigned and gone back to school which is fantastic; some have reigned and gone ahead to have their own businesses; some have reigned and gone into the modeling world. So, everybody in their own different ways can be admired for different reasons. So, I admire every one of them.
In spite of having relinquished your crown, you still maintain your beauty and your shape; how have you been able to do that?
By the grace of God, number one. I watch what I eat. I love my food, but I don’t get carried away. I think I just watch what I eat.
For people who aspire to be beauty queens, what must they do?
Be yourself, hold on to your personality and not somebody else’s personality, be your unique self, you might be strange, but being strange is a good thing, because you are not common. They say if you do something common in an uncommon manner, you will be successful. So, be yourself, be the most unique you that you can be and strive for excellence.
Do you believe in marriage?
Of course, I believe in marriage! Who doesn’t believe in marriage? I’m a typical Nigerian woman. I completely believe in marriage.
When are you getting married?
We will see.
What are the qualities you want in your man?
No, no, no…don’t bring all those questions to me. I’m not answering. No comment!
You are one of the best dressed young women we have in our midst today, what is the best way to go about dressing well?
Understand your style, understand your own personae, your own poise, your own person; understand you as an individual and project that outwardly. That’s the best I can say. Understanding your figure and making yourself happy. Because when you dress up and you are happy, people see you and they admire you. Even if you wear the simplest outfit, they feel you look wonderful because they know how comfortable you are and how confident you are in the outfit. So, if you are wearing something and you are not comfortable in it, no matter how beautiful it is, they won’t admire it.
What’s your definition of style?
Style is you. Style is defined by an individual. And my definition of style is simple, classy, elegant and something that shows your personality, lifestyle.
Who is your best dressed Nigerian woman?
Best dressed Nigerian woman? Ah! I think they all dress wonderfully well, to be honest. Because the Nigerian woman knows how to wear her Aso Oke, her gele, knows how to put on her makeup, knows how to wear her casuals, so when people ask that question, it’s difficult to answer because a lot of our women dress wonderfully well and I’m privileged to be one of them.
What makes you happy?
What makes me happy is striving to achieve excellence and achieving it and impacting people and also being with my family and loved ones. Then, my dearest friends. That alone makes me happy.
Tell us about your happiest day.
I can’t tell my happiest day. All my days are happy. I can’t narrow it down. I am happy. I can’t narrow it down. I have so many more years to live. And I’ve lived so many years. My happiest day? They are too many. I can’t say one and I thank God because if I can say one, then there would be a problem. So, I’m happy that I’m privileged to have many happy days. It’s difficult for me to pick one.
NB: First Published January 2014