THE perks of a beauty queen have visibly made a 360 degree change in the life of tall, fair skinned Chinenye Akinlade (nee Ochuba). The mother of one daughter spoke with ENCOMIUM Weekly on Thursday, June 9, 2011, about the memorable happenstances of her reign, her marriage (Since 2008), business and much more.
You have been in the public eye for the last nine years, how has it been?
It has been very rewarding and full of fun for me after the crown. I had a degree, I got married and I had my daughter. I have a wonderful husband and I started my business. So, it has been very rewarding, I have been doing so many things since then.
After your reign, you just went into oblivion. What really happened?
After my reign, I left the country for some years. I went to’ school, then I got married and, travelled again to have my baby. So, I have been in and out, mostly out. But now I am settled here. That is why you didn’t hear a lot about me after my reign.
Aside motherhood, what else keeps you busy?
You can’t say aside motherhood because that takes most of my time. That is number one. Then I have a business that just kicked off. I run a company called Aivy Edge Limited. We supply toiletries, hotel accessories, we are brand new. We are just trying to solidify it. Though it is new, it is already doing well. We kicked off late last year. We still have a small client base but with time, it will grow like every other business.
Why that type of business? The beauty business would have easily come to mind?
That is what everybody does, it is the normal thing people will expect me to do, but I don’t want to go into it. I have travelled a lot and discovered there is an opportunity for me in that area. I also realised that, there is a thin line between the hotel you want to go back to after your first visit. It is just those little things, those little accessories that make the difference. When it came into my mind, I knew I can do it very well.
So, would you say that it has been rewarding?
Yes, it has been very rewarding.
A lot of pageants have sprung up now. What is your comment about the idea of pageantry?
A lot of pageants have sprung up. In fact, when you hear about some, I wonder who the brains behind them are. For me, Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN) is still number one. I know everybody will say the same thing because it has been able to stand the test of time. Having a pageant is not just registering a name, you have to think about the future of the pageant, five, 10 years, where will the pageant be. A lot of people just look out for the immediate gain. So for me, they are too many. If you would ask me, most of them shouldn’t be in existence. When you have a winner, she should just be up there for that period and then come back again. No, her reign
should be a stepping stone for her. For me, MBGN is still number one. It is not because I have been a beauty queen, no. It is not good to put someone’s future on the line just because of the gain you will get. I don’t think it is good.
You still have friends among past beauty queens?
Yes, I do. I have a couple of them, Celia Omotu Bissong is my close friend. Anita, Omowunmi are also my friends. I talk to a lot of them. We are even putting something together though not all the beauty queens. We are still doing the ground work. It is something that will benefit a lot of young people. In a couple of weeks we will unveil it.
How will you describe motherhood?
From my point of view, it is something everyone should experience. Maybe I am saying it because
I am happy in it. I think we should really think about it before going into it because. It is not all
rosy, there are some down moments as well. If your mind is really set at making it, work even if
you have down moment, you will be able to come out of it. Marriage is an institution every girl
should look forward to, especially when you are married to the right person. Someone you can
talk to, someone who supports you, it makes it easier. Marriage is a wonderful union, this will
be our third year.
Can you tell us your love story?
My husband is a very wonderful man, I met him a couple of years before we got married. I was still
in school. He is’ a great man, he encourages me in whatever I want to do. He is a businessman, he
runs Cliffland Investment. He handles revenue generation for a couple of states.
So, what attracted him to you?
A lot. When I met him, we were friends, I was living here, he was living in the UK. So, we talked more on phone and saw less of each other. I didn’t know exactly what he looked like. So, when we agreed to meet, we said he will put on a blue face cap and stand afar off. I told him, I will walk up to him if I like what I saw. So, we finally met and I liked what I saw (laughs). He is a very intelligent person, very matured. He is older than me, he is 10 years older than me.
That is what it is. I like someone who is very matured, he is very matured. Moreso, I can’t really relate with you, if you don’t relate at my own level. I don’t have any problem with him.
Why a Yoruba?
For me, I never had a mindset of marrying from my tribe. I mean, I am not tribalistic. Thank God my parents are not as well. They don’t discriminate. So, it was easy for me. I don’t really look at the tribe but the person. Someone I can spend the rest of my life with. I thank God I made that decision. His tribe doesn’t really matter. His mum is Delta anyway, so he speaks Igbo fluently. Aside that, he is a full Yoruba.
So, have you learnt how to make Yoruba delicacies?
Oh yes, but he enjoys Igbo ones anyway.
Would you say being a beauty queen is still working for you?
I cannot talk about my life without talking about the beauty pageant aspect of it, because I am a very private person. But winning the beauty pageant brought me out. Thank God I was able to preserve a bit of my private life that is why you don’t see me everywhere, because I am still a private person. I can’t talk about my life without talking about the pageant. It made me matures faster. I got to meet a person which was a good thing for me. I also believe it was part of God’s plan for me, it was something I had to do. Thank God, it was just for a year. You get out of it and use it as a stepping stone to do greater things.
What memories of your reign do you still hold dear to your heart?
A couple of high moments, going for .Miss World, getting to meet with people from different countries, even places I have never heard about. I still keep in touch with some of the people
I met. Then having to represent your country as an ambassador to other countries. A lot of people who meet me now still remember me. That wouldn’t have happened if not for the beauty pageant.
What are the pains and gains of marriage?
I can’t say there is no pain. When my little girl wakes up at night, sometimes, it gets a little tiring. But the gains when I look at my family, I feel very happy when at a young age you have your children and you all grow up together. It makes you happy.
What makes a woman beautiful?
Her personality, seeing her for who she is. Forget about the outward appearance. She might be beautiful outside but not beautiful inside, so the personality matters a lot.
What is your definition of beauty?
Everyone defines it in different ways. To me, beauty is not just about the appearance, but the inside person.
What are the things you do that keep you beautiful?
I do things that make me happy. I like travelling, it makes me happy. Spending time with my husband also makes me happy. So, I engage in that.
Is plastic surgery an option for you?
For me, I am not against plastic surgery. If you want to have it, you can have it. Thank God for the way He made me, I am happy the way I am.
Tell us about your background.
I spent most of my growing up days in Lagos. I went to St. Catherine’s in Surulere, then Reagan Memorial, Yaba for my secondary school. Then, I was in UNILAG for a year studying
Computer Science, then to England where I studied Accounting and Finance.
– SHADE WESLEY-METIBOGUN
-Story first published on Tuesday, June 14, 2015