FORMER beauty queen, Anita Iseghohi has every reason to be thankful to God. She is happily married, blessed with children and her business is also booming. On Wednesday, March 19, 2014, she had dinner with close family and friends in celebration of her 30th birthday. The event held at Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
ENCOMIUM Weekly had an interview with the pretty woman on life at 30, 10 years after Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN), marriage, business and much more…
How does it feel turning 30?
Amazing. It is kind of weird to say I am 30 but it is amazing. I feel like any other day just that I am wearing a glittering attire.
Do you feel 30?
Sometimes I used to feel I am older but I kind of remind myself that I am not that old, that I am married and I have a family. I have been waiting for so long.
You behave and sound matured?
I think it is part of the exposure. Things you go through as a mother, a wife and individual. There has been a lot going on. Sometimes, I try to remind myself I am 30, I am not older, it is okay anyway. I think I like to be older.
I don’t know, maybe because I have a lot of older friends.
What are the lessons life has taught you at this age?
Life has taught me to be understanding, to give what I can accept and to be more patient. Life has taught me to be loyal to people who are loyal to me and to be a true friend, no need pretending.
You don’t look married, you look young and slim. What is the secret?
Trust me, it takes some work. It takes a lot of exercise, it takes a lot of dieting and I also love to take care of myself. It is very important for me to look fit and good. It is part of who I am. I work hard to lose weight when I gain it.
How was growing up?
I grew up in the midst of five boys. I am the only girl. A lot of people expected me to be a tomboy but I am not. I am a girly girl. I love all the pinks and peach and all the lovely colours. I grew up amidst very protective boys, they were also very loving as well. Whenever I tried to behave like a boy, my brothers would remind me that I am a queen, my name is Queen. I can remember my mom used to hit my back for me to straighten my posture. When I try to curve in, she would hit my back to straighten up.
I believe your girly nature influenced the desire to go into pageantry?
I don’t know where the idea came from. But I have always had this carriage about me. I can remember my friends used to tell me that I catwalk on the road. When Agbani won Miss World, it was a big encouragement for me. People started calling me Miss World, it just stuck from there. I can also remember that I used to tell my junior students in school not to put water inside my bucket. I never wanted mosquito bite because I am the next Miss Nigeria. I used to say that. Agbani was a push really for me.
What are you most grateful to God for at this age?
I am most grateful to God for life and good health, family and good friends.
Can you recount some of your achievements?
I think the most that I am proud of is being a mom. When that child is placed in your hands, nothing else can beat that moment. It is something you cannot explain. The love is unconditional. It is a feeling you cannot explain. You cannot buy it. Words can’t express it. Then of course, making top 15 at Miss World, making African Queen. I think I married the perfect man.
What are your guiding principles, what are some of the things that shaped your life?
I am someone that is really concerned about the future. I think this is something I grew with. Anytime I embark on something, I will ask myself if it is something I will look back and be proud of myself. I always want to do things and be proud that I actually did it. I try not to do things that I will regret. I give things a 1001 of me, if it doesn’t work out eventually, it is still fine by me. Give it your best, if it works out, thank God. If not, try again.
10 years after MBGN, can you recall some of the fun memories of that experience?
I remember the night I won. We were just five left on stage, so they started reading out what the winner and runner up would go home with. I heard that the first runner up would pocket N200,000, I was just satisfied with that. I started calculating what I will use the money for. I said, I will give my mother a hundred thousand, then my brothers, I divided the N200,000 right there on the stage. When it was three of us there on the stage, I changed my prayer. I was telling God I couldn’t afford to lose, I kept saying the prayer until I heard my name. The moment I heard my name, I knew it was divine. I didn’t have any training aside the one we were given in camp. It was a night of surprise for me.
What did you win then and how did you spend your money?
I won a million naira and a car. It was a nice one.
What are you giving back to that platform that made you 10 years ago?
At this point, I am still trying to put myself together. Of course, I am into charity. I want to give it sometime before I set up anything. Whatever I do, I always want to give it my best. When I am ready to set up an organization, you will be the first to know.
What is the best decision you have taken?
I think it is to marry the kind of person I married. Somebody that understands me, who I am and accepted me like that. He is very matured minded, he relates with me accordingly. I think it was a good decision. It is not all the time you get people who are that compatible. Marrying my husband was one of the best decisions I ever made.
You married quite early?
Depending on what you call quite early. I married at 23, it was at the right time. I met the right man at the right time, it was a good timing.
So, how is marriage treating you?
Very well. Marriage is what you make out of it, it is not a one person’s game. It is give and take. You have to lean on the other person to help you. It is an agreement, it is a partnership, it has been great.
What gives you joy about Baby’s Store?
The point where people tell me that they have been looking for a particular item everywhere and they find it at Baby’s Store, that gives me a lot of joy. Delivering something that is good and of high quality. That gives me a lot of joy. I love babies really.
Should we expect more soon?
Soon and not anytime in the future. Four is a crowd (laughs).
What informed your love for children and the quest to give often?
I don’t know. You just have to put a smile on the face of a child. When I see a child, it reminds me of my kids. That brings a lot of joy. Children are angelic.
You travel a lot, how do you handle your business while away?
Thank God that I have a good business that allows me travel here and there. I also have good people working with me, so I am able to do things even while away.
It is obvious that the good Lord has favoured you in many areas, what more do you expect from Him?
I will say long life, good health, more blessing, have love in my heart.