DABOTA Lawson is the Miss Nigeria, UK 2011. She started modelling from childhood and emerged the winner of the prestigious crown due to her determination and being focused, according to her. The Rivers State born queen told ENCOMIUM Weekly a lot about the pageant. She equally told us about her experience and herself.
How does it feel to be Miss Nigeria in UK?
It is a great feeling to be crowned a queen amongst many other females competing for the same crown, especially one that allows me to be an ambassador of my state and country. My goal is to leave a good legacy that will enlighten the younger generation. Being crowned Miss Nigeria UK has given me that platform to boost my overall goal. All in all, it feels great.
How did you get to know about the competition and how did you join the train?
I’ve been participating in pageants from my primary school days up till university. I’ve kept my eyes and ears open on pageants and when I was in school in the UK, I found out about Miss Nigeria UK online.
Did you have any modelling background before going into the competition?
I’ve been modelling since I was 7 years old.
Through which body or organization did you emerge?
The body is called Miss Nigeria UK, Natashie Ojie Foundation. But after winning the crown, I was signed to a modelling agency in London called AO Models and since then, it’s been shows after shows, even after I became independent and started booking jobs on my own.
How long have you been in the UK?
I was in the UK for close to 8 years.
What has changed about you since you emerged a queen?
A lot has changed since the pageant. I am now an independent business owner. I work with a lot of charities, present and host shows. I am also an accountant. God has been good to me. And I have good support from my family, especially my sister, Ibiba and my fans, who have been wonderful.
What are the responsibilities that go with the crown?
There are a lot of responsibilities that come along with the title. Once crowned a beauty queen you have duties to execute, whether charity work depending on the cause you chose to champion during your reign. During my year-long reign, I was expected to make appearances at events, be a spokesperson for the organization and generally a positive role model for young women.
In Nigeria, beauty queens normally have pet projects, is it the same out there?
Yes, it is.
Tell us about your pet project.
I am currently working with Lady Mechanic Initiative, which is aimed at empowering young women by training them to be professional mechanics.
How do you intend sourcing for funds to execute it?
We are currently sending sponsorship letters to multinationals and other organizations for the project.
What gave you an edge over other contestants?
To be a beauty queen, you need to be a people’s person, humble and beautiful from within. I am the kind of girl who is comfortable in her own skin, knows who she is and where she is going. My personality shines through. I am easy to work with and obviously in great physical shape. I guess the judges saw that in me and crowned me the queen.
What was the experience during the competition, that is, while in the house and how many were you?
We were 26. But we were not all in a house prior to the competition. We only stayed in a hotel for a few days before the date for the competition.
What was your star prize?
I don’t think I would like to mention it.
Who was a threat to you while in the house?
Frankly speaking, I didn’t go into the house to compete with anyone. Rather, I went in there to win and my mind and eyes were on the crown. And that was all that mattered to me. So, I didn’t have any threat, instead I made good friends.
Who was your best friend?
I was friendly with everyone. And they were all lovely.
Tell us about your family and educational background.
I am from a big family of 10, mum, dad and seven siblings. I am from Rivers State (Kalabari) and a Christian. I went through my primary and secondary education here in Nigeria. And then, went to college and university in the UK. I am 24 years old.
Are you in a relationship?
Tell us about the lucky guy.
His name is Jesus (laughs) and I am already married to Him.
- NGOZI NWANKWO
This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, February 14, 2012