On Saturday, October 13, 2007, MNIA, Inc. in association with Cladiya Entertainment presented the largest Nigerian cultural event -The 3rd Annual Miss Nigeria in America Beauty Pageant. The outstanding event took place at the Cullen Performance Hall on the campus of University of Houston.
Fourteen brilliant and attractive delegates from across the United States presented themselves in the pursuit of the prestige title Miss Nigeria in America 2007. The event was without doubt magnificently well-planned, leading to a flawless execution that had everyone at awe and admiration of a wonderful display of Africa cultural wealth and beauty.
The 2007 Miss Nigeria in America Beauty Pageant delegates arrived on Wednesday – three days before the events – and were all accommodated at the Houston Grand Plaza Hotel, the city premier full service hotel. On Thursday, after their event briefings, the delegates assisted on their official photo shoot session, led by the wonderful photographer Ted Mebane (www.tedmebane.com), who is the official MNIA photographer. Following the photo shoot was the taping of the Platform Session and Opening sequence for the event. All the rehearsals were critical in the perfect achievement of the major event to come.
After the two solid days of preparations and rehearsals, the delegates were finally able to catch a much needed break Friday night before the main event. An exquisite Delegates’ Gala and Reception/Fashion Show, hosted by the wonderful Alimatu Garuba (2006 Miss Nigeria in America) provided encouragement and support to the contestants.
About the MNIA
MNIA, inc. was formed in 2004 and held its first beauty pageant the same year in Washington D.C. The goal of the Miss Nigeria in America Beauty Pageant is clear: to promote the diversity of Nigeria, while uplifting Nigeria and Nigerians all over the world. In order to understand the beauty pageant selection process, it is imperative to know a little about the state of Nigeria. With millions inhabitants, Nigeria is a very diverse nation, filled with multiple cultures and ethnic groups. Unfortunately, in many occasions, this cultural education is only limited to immediate ethnic group members. Many Nigerians know only of their own ethnic groups, and less about the rest of the Nigerian groups. This is due to the fact that their culture continuance is passed from one generation to another through direct family members. This consequently leads to tribalism, where each ethnic group no longer values others, and considers themselves self sufficient. As time passes, this effect gets stronger and stronger. With new generation being born and raised outside of Nigeria, ethnic separation is even uglier, to the point where cultural heritages and values are lost forever. The connection between Nigerian-Americans and their heritage is extremely broken. That’s the reason why MNIA, Inc. took the challenge to do something about his plague.
Trough the MNIA beauty pageant, they aim to dispel tribalism, promote diversity, and educate the delegates about Nigeria. MNIA, Inc. also wants to inspire the delegates to reach for greater heights, while stirring their minds to think about the social problems facing Nigeria and finds solutions. The beauty pageant sparks their desire to strive for a change, and last but not least, showcase their beauty, talents, and accomplishments.
Delegates Selection Process
So, what is the process on entering the Miss Nigeria in America Beauty Pageant? Believe it or not, it takes more than just being of a Nigerian origin. All potential candidates go through various selection processes before being selected as a delegate. First thing is filling out an application form; the organization does not send out forms to pre-selected candidates. You need to show interest by filling a form and submitting the processing fee during the open period (usually, the application reception process lasts about two months). All applications are then screened for content by the team, looking for Nigerian ancestry, age, education, and qualifications. Once selection has been made and verification of application fee reception, the second round kicks off with informal phone interview. During the phone interview, the team reviews the application with the applicant and discusses some of the contents. More information about the beauty pageant contest is conveyed to the applicants to inform them regarding the possible cost impact, schedule, and expected requirements from the delegates. The recorded information goes on each applicant’s file for submission to the selection committee. The selection committee is comprised of both Nigerians and non-Nigerians for a more balanced and diverse perspective view.
Of the 54 applications received by MNIA, Inc, 38 applicants were selected for the interview phase of the 2007 Miss Nigeria in America Beauty Pageant. The selected applicants were then sent to the selection committee [individuals across the US, from different works of lives] to be evaluated. The member of the committee had electronic files of each candidate, which included their original applications, pictures, and notes from their phone interviews. The committee had direct instructions on what the organization was looking for in a candidate. Once ranked by the committee members, MNIA, Inc compared all the rankings and came up with the final selections. Instead of fifteen candidates as initially planned the organization ended up with 24 solid qualified delegates.
Each contestant was randomly paired up with a Nigerian state and was required to conduct and in depth research regarding their assigned Nigerian state. The states being represented depended on the final number of the delegates in the pageant. In reality, there are 36 states in Nigeria. As the show preparation progressed, some delegates dropped out for personal reasons, and some were excused due to their inability to keep up with the dictated standard of the competition. In the end, there was only fourteen beautiful delegates left, representing the beauty and diversity of Nigeria.
The competition involved many categories. A Platform of Question and Discussion required each delegate to choose a topic of discussion and answer the judge’s question. The judges focused on the delegate’s articulation, knowledge of the subject and its relevance to social issues affecting Nigeria and the world in general.
Nigerian Cultural Wear
Each delegate presented a native Nigerian traditional wear of their choice. Judges looked at the overall ensemble of the attire, putting emphasis on originality and sense of style as well.
Each delegate modeled an approved swimsuit, with judges focusing on figure, physical fitness, and confidence on each contestant.
Each delegate was given three minutes to display their talent. Talent performance included vocal performances, dance, dramatic monologues, poetry, instrumentals,and comedy. The judges looked at each delegate talent originality and level of difficulty of the performance.
Each delegate finally wore an evening gown that represented their grace and style, individually chosen by the delegate. The judges rated the overall appearance, self confidence, and sense of style and the beauty of the gown presented.
2007 Miss Nigeria in America
The final verdict was reached on Saturday, October 13, crowing the lovely and outstanding Miss Abuja, Peace Amidi, as the official 2007 Miss Nigeria in America winner. Along with the title symbolized by a custom diamond crown designed by Dina-Inc., Miss Abuja received twenty five thousands dollars ($2,500) Savings Bond courtesy of MNIA, Inc, a casting opportunity and professional representation by the MNIA organization, and access to various Nigerian events including movie premieres and private screenings. The first Runner up, Miss [name] received a thousand dollars ($1,000) Savings Bond, while the second runner-up received a five hundreds ($500) Savings Bond, all courtesy of MNIA, Inc. Other prizes in the event included a two hundreds fifty dollars ($250) Savings Bond for both, the third and fourth runner up, a Miss Photogenic Award, Miss congeniality Award, and the Delegates Award for the Best Platform Essay.
Check-out the SPOTLIGHT section of the magazine for the exclusive ADUNAGOW Magazine interview with the 2007 Miss Nigeria in America Winner Peace Amadi and first runner-up Martha Nwosu. Congratulations to all our Nigerian ladies for sharing with us the riches and beauty of their African land and their diverse cultures. A much deserve applaud to the organizers of the event, MNIA Inc. and Cladiya Entertainment; they delivered a great and outstanding show; we will be waiting next year for more.
ADUNAGOW Magazine is an online publication full of exciting African art and culture, information, photographs, celebrities interviews and much more, with the purpose of showcasing the positive contributions of Africans in the world.