Thursday, June 2, 2011

Nollywood Here I Come – Ify

Ifeyinwa Concepta Duruji is one lady making waves in the modeling industry. The beauty queen hails from Umuaka village in Imo State. Graduated from Imo State University in 2005 where she read Government and Public administration, served in Katsina State in 2006 and later left the country to return early 2010 to take the mantle of Miss Peace pageantry. A soft spoken and delectable Ify, discussed with AL-AMIN CIROMA on a number of issues surrounding the showbiz she is in, challenges and her aspiration as a peace advocate. Excerpts.

You are the current Miss Peace; could you tell us the road that led to your being crowned?
The road to my success has not been easy but I would say it was a gift from God because I never expected it. I knew I was going to contest, I also had a feeling that I might emerge top three, but I never knew I was going to be blessed by being crowned as the winner.

As a matter of fact, when I returned to the country, I met a couple of ladies, they facilitate us for the pageant and they talked me into buying the form but I did not see the need for that because I knew I won’t be in the country at the time of the pageant. I was supposed to go back to school for my masters but it just happened that I was still in the country and was not really doing much at the time because my school was almost lapsing so I decided to pick the form, since my sisters also encouraged me to do so. That’s how i picked the form and entered the race where I eventually emerged as the winner of the Miss Peace Nigeria 2010.

Who are the facilitators of the pageant?
Miss Peace is organised by Laber Peace Pageant. It is a very credible contest I must say because I have been into a couple of contests while in school and to me, contests are not all about being beautiful, you have to be intelligent but you don’t need to be so draining like the need to get to know if you are credible enough or disqualified enough to be a queen. Miss Peace is different because it is unique and we were tested in every way, in speech, in reading, in meeting people and being able to cheer others because that is what peace actually entails.

Why do you think Miss Peace pageant is distinctive and exceptional?
Unlike every other pageant, it is not just a beauty pageant, it is a social platform for championing somebody who can be encouraged or who should be encouraged by the country to preach the mission of peace since the world at large is going through some kind of crises. If you look at some parts of the world, not only Nigeria, there is chaos and crisis everywhere. And the uniqueness of Miss Peace pageant has gone a long way to addressing social vices in the society and also thought about the progress and problems the country is facing. Hence, trying to participate in making or contributing to a sustainable peace in the country.

Why did you subscribe into pageantry at this stage of your life when you are supposed to be in school?
I have always known I would end up in showbiz. I was involved in a couple of pageants, and I could recall people call me finest girl or Miss hot legs and so on, so I knew that when I leave school I should do something more serious in modeling or pageantry.

So much has been said about the way facilitators of these competitions conduct the contests like how models go out of their way to get a winning ticket. What can you say about that?
I must confess, Miss Peace is actually unique and I think government should look into it and see how they can support them because unlike every other contest I have been in where it always looked like the winner was foretold and every other person was just there to make the number, but Miss Peace was different and am a witness, I never knew the organisers. I happened to meet somebody who briefed me about the pageant and I eventually went to the bank and got the form and I won. Those who watched the event live would testify that I was shocked and even cried. It was free and fare.

I think girls who know they are beautiful should not have to give something up or offer anything to be in any contest. If you know what you have you go for it and if you have to offer anything in exchange, you don’t have to do it, it is not necessary to go any extra mile because most time when they have done that, they still don’t succeed.

From experience as a model and contender of many pageants, did you ever experience a situation in which people ask you out before or after such events?
Yeah. In all the contests I have been in were all good except Miss Tourism Nigeria. It was not a good story at all because while in camp, contestants were so much you would know that the pageant had been determined. There were these groups of people that always go out in random. In camp, you were not supposed to go out and it happened that those that go out won. So it was very obvious and clear that they had sacrificed what they had to win. It did not bother me much because I enjoy the fact that I came all that far to represent my state. Some pageants are not worth it, some make mockery pageantry by making it look like you have to offer something.

Please I want you to be very honest. What if you became desperate to get the title, would you have succumbed to any request by the organisers to help you out?
I believe that life itself is a struggle, once you have what it takes to be the queen, just keep struggling, you might get a breakthrough. You have to also be confident, because if you loos composure, you won’t even remember your name on stage, but if you have all the qualities, then do your best, get good costumes, clear speech, you win without belittling yourself.

What is your mission as Miss Peace Nigeria 2010?
As Miss Peace, I preach and mediate for peace. From time to time, we go out visiting people, most especially in crises areas to encourage them and support them in whichever way we can. The last time, we were in Minna to visit the bomb blast victims. Apart from that, we complement many crises and violence that occur in this country by sympathising with victims and also advocating for peace.

As a stakeholder in the peace mission, what are the possible ways Nigerian government can adopt to meet up the millennium development goals before year 20: 2020?
I think Nigerians should begin to understand that we are one big family. As far as I am concerned China is bigger than us but they don’t have these sectarian or religious crises. We don’t need to always fight because we don’t speak the same language. I think most of the crises are political and quest for power, there is greed in it too. When leaders begin to address youths and not use them as a tools for whatever negative thing they want, they will live in peace and embrace each other. For example, I am Christian from Imo State but I was born in Kano State, I had all my childhood in Kano, I also had my secondary education in Jigawa State, so I have most of youth stage in the north. All my friends are Hausas and Muslims and we have a good relationship. I think it can always be that way with everybody enjoying it, when I say things in Igbo and they say it in Hausa, we enjoy the fact that we have different cultures and values and it is something that we should see as a gift that most countries don’t have. It is something we should use as tourism tool, it is something we should celebrate.

Suppose you were given another tenure as Miss Peace, what would you focus on?
I will focus on youths’ orientation. We had credible elections this time around which is a sign of a better future since the elections did not involve so much thuggery, rigging and so on like in the past. The fact that it was minimised this time show that people have begin to have a different mindset and are beginning to know they should vote for who they want, so I would like to work with the youths and make them understand in their own little way that we are the future of this country. And the leaders will not be there forever, we are going to grow to be the leaders of tomorrow.

I would want to ask you personally in a lighter mood, what are your favourite colours?
I love combining colours, sharp colours, but my favourites are black and white.

Is Miss Peace still searching?
(Laughter) Yeah, I am single, mingling but not searching.

Then who is your ideal man?
My ideal man has to be good looking, have a good heart and be ready to take care of me. Loving and very very romantic... hmn, I am a very emotional person and I won’t like hurting people, I also want my man to be very intimate with me, show compassion and love.

What is your sign?
I am Sagittarius.

How compatible would you want your match to be?
I would want it to be very very good.

Miss Ify, can you please say it because it is important to know if you are in a relationship...
(Cuts in) I don’t have anybody in mind seriously. That’s the truth!

Then am I right to say you are now searching?
You want to use the word searching... but at my stage, I am not searching, when I make up my mind, I will start looking around.

What if somebody came knocking at your door, would you give him a chance?(Laughter) You know I am a friendly person, I can sit him down to interact with and give him reasons why I am not ready to settle down.

How do you unwind?
If I am less busy, I love to have a sound sleep; I love to watch movies, to play table-tennis and sometimes swim too. That’s how I unwind.

What are your aspirations after Miss Peace?
After Miss Peace, I am looking at the movie industry. I believe I have the flair to act. Then in future, I am eyeing the polity, I see myself as a politician, I would want to be a senator of the federal republic.

What would you tell the younger ones that may wish to emulate you?
For the upcoming ones who want to be celebrities, stars or something, you don’t have to give anything up to be anywhere. Good you can give something to receive, but it should not be something you might regret. You just have to be hard working to receive results.

Published in Leadership Weekend

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