Omolabake Ndako is a winner of Face of Nigeria Beauty contest held last year 2017. The pageant under the auspice of Angeleyez Communications has garnered more reckoning for its standard and fairness.
About five contestants were crowned as queens in a highly contested pageant with one overall, Oyindamola Ajomole, clinching a coveted car prize while the rest share similar honour as queens. Speaking to Vanguard recently, Omolabake bare her mind on what she thinks about pageantry in Nigeria and her journey so far.
My name is Omolabake Ndako. I am an indigene of Niger State. I am the last of 7 children in the family 2 boys and 5 girls. I am a student of Nasarawa State University Keffi. I obtained my first diploma in theatre art and cultural studies, and now I am in my 3rd year the university studying English. I enjoy travelling and catching fun.
My strengths are my attitudes that I like to take challenges that I can do it, my way of thinking, I take both success and failure in a balanced manner.
My Journey into pageantry and modeling
It all started way back at primary school when I am always chosen to represent my house during inter-house sport competitions. This also extended to my secondary school period. By then, I always watch beauty runways and also do admire beauty queens like Agbani Dariego, Anna Banner and Matilda Kerry. These are my role models and they motivated me.
The journey became a reality when a friend told me about Face of Nigeria beauty pageantry. I checked out their requirement and decided to give it a try. Before then, I have participated in Miss Culture and Tourism, Niger State in 2013 which I won. It was a tough contest for me, been my first time in pageant contest.
In that competition, I was the youngest among other contestants but was full of confidence and creative. All the costumes I used from the beginning of the contest to the end were more of bringing culture into tourism and that really worked for me. I have also represented Niger State at the Abuja Carnival on a different occasion and we as a group emerged third position. My other trial was contesting for the Most Beautiful Girl Abuja 2015.
This is one contest that brought more awareness to pageantry. The experience was a tough one which wasn't a free and fair contest. I didn't make it to the top 15, but it was an eye opener for me.
However, "Face of Nigeria" is quite different from other pageantry. It is one platform that gives young girls and upcoming models shear opportunity to showcase their talents and also promote their culture. One unique thing about Face of Nigeria is that the competition produces 5 equal queens with similar rating and responsibilities while others produce a queen and runners up.
With the 5 sharing equal responsibilities, only one takes home car prize while the rest garners cash prize, sponsored pet projects and business endorsements.
The platform has also elevated my consciousness of culture as way of life. Through this medium I have been exposed to various cultural activities such as showcasing traditional and cultural attires of various cultures, and showcasing Nigeria wears.
My views about pageantry in the country
Since I participated in different pageantry in Nigeria, my opinion has been positive. It has been a great experience for me. For other people it may or may not be, stemming from diverse opinion and peculiar perceptions about their experience.
But it is up to anyone to represent his or her own opinion and feelings. For me, I think beauty pageant is an entertaining hobby that teaches women and sometimes men life skills such as public speaking, styling, confidence, and presentation. This goes far in the marketing jobs and can give a leg up on competitions.
I do not think anyone should enter a beauty pageant looking at making herself rich regardless of the prizes of services and expectations that comes with it. Most people spend more money than they will ever win back. I also don't think that people should take them serious. For me, whether they are crowned or not, it's a memory and a point in their life and should enjoy the moment on stage.
Sex for crown
I haven't experienced it before. In the Face of Nigeria Beauty contest, I was not harassed or given an option of sex before the crown. This is one platform that stands out with sterling integrity and fairness to contestants.
It is not a religious contest though, but the organisers uphold the tenets of dignity and self respect. This might not be the same with other platforms as you may be conversant with stories of sexual advancements made to contestants.
Sometimes, desperation of the contestants to win at all cost lead to it. Sometimes either selfish interest from a sponsor or jealousy of a candidate plays out when a contestant lacks confidence to prove herself worthy of the crown.
For me, I feel blessed, honoured and grateful to God to have won the crown with 'Face of Nigeria.' He is indeed the reason for my victory. I see bigger me and believe it doesn't end here. This is just a stepping stone for more success in beauty contest.
Responsibilities and projects
Some of the responsibilities of the crown are been a Face of Nigeria Ambassador and giving back to society through selfless services and playing role model to young female Nigerians. One of my pet projects was visiting orphanage homes and less privileged people with life support items and foods. Meanwhile, I have carried out some of these initiatives that started on 1st of January 2018 by visits to an orphanage home, the ministry of gender affairs and social development, Government Orphanage, Minna, Niger State to celebrate the New Year with them.
However, 'Society Youth Arise' project will be carried out next year 2019, which the vision is to develop and enhance the welfare of the ordinary Nigerian women and youths through advocacy, intervention and the repositioning of their human-capital and material resources development for the promotion of economic advancement, empowerment and encouraging self-reliance.
Way forward for me
The organisers of face of Nigeria are excellent. They are unique and they keep to their words, compared to other pageants who won't give the star prizes involved in the contest.
Like I said earlier, my journey as a model does not end on one crown alone. I plan to participate in the next Most Beautiful Girl Nigeria (MBGN) and I will also go for my masters after graduating from the university.