By Eric Elezuo and Jessica Maduka
A few weeks ago, she dusted other contestants and came out tops in the first ever Face of Trek Africa competition. Her penchant for child/girl-right advocacy has set her on the right pedestal towards achieving the many good things destiny has placed on her part. She is Ayodele Oluwanifemi, a 22 years BSc holder in Nursing from the Indian Academy College of Nursing, full of vision, character and a can do attitude. In this short interview with The Boss Crew, she revealed those things that gave her the crown and the many packages she has in store for the good of humanity. Excerpts:
Could you briefly introduce yourself?
My name is Ayodele Oluwanifemi. I’m a 22year old native from Ekiti state, I grew up in Akure basically and then I went to Government college, Ekiti state after then I went to India for my B.Sc. in Nursing at the Indian Academy College of Nursing. I just graduated and returned to Nigeria this year.
You’re a queen. What’s it all about?
It’s about a platform called Face of Trek Africa. It is an initiative created to empower the young female entrepreneurs and youths in the society. I emerged winner of the face of trek which was held on the 22nd July 2018. There were over 40 contestants representing different countries from Africa, and Nigeria won.
So what set you apart, what was that thing that made you better than the others
I had so much confidence in myself, I was bold, I felt like I was limitless and I didn’t let my size or the kind of person that I am draw me back. I made sure I looked beyond the physical appearance and I gave them what I had to offer which gave me an edge to be better than every other person. The organisers looked beyond physical appearance, and the winner was chosen based intelligent quotient.
During the course of the competition, did you feel intimidated by other contestants?
I could remember I felt intimidated during the auditioning but after that I did not, because I mingled very well. We were all from different backgrounds, but we got to know and tolerated one another.
What prompted your going in for the competition?
I have always had the passion of being a model or a journalist. I just had to pursue my dreams because it’s what I have always wanted since I was a child. I believe in this life, if you want to succeed and be happy, you should always go after whatever makes you happy and you’ll definitely live your dreams someday.
How do you intend to give back to the society?
I have a humanitarian project I am pursuing. They are all based on creating enlightenment for the people towards the dangers of VVF, Child Molestation, Domestic Violence, Child Marriages and all of that.
Tell us about the brand you represent
It is an advocacy platform. Trek is not an acronym. It is exactly what it is ‘trek’ – like in movement. The idea lies in advocating for women because we find out that a lot of women, are sexually abuse or face domestic violence.
So why the name trek?
It has to do with being a voice for those oppressed, and walk as a leading person, in the journey to eradicating violence against women.
Do you have a background of advocacy for you to actually handle this?
I do not. You’re not born an intelligent person, the more you learn, the more you acquire knowledge. I believe that as I grow, as I’m advancing I’m becoming better. I don’t need to have an advocacy background or anything. The passion I have for it is driving me to success.
Differentiate between the time you won the crown and your previous entire 22 years of life
I won’t lie, I just feel like it’s still a dream from which I’m still trying to pinch myself to reality. There’s a huge difference; I get attention these days, and regard from friends and family. I have also lost some friends, who couldn’t stomach my new status and I’ve gained new friends in the bargain.
Those you lost; was it out of jealousy
Yes, Envy, I should call it. I see no reason why it should be like that but that’s life, you lose some, you win some. It is acceptable.
Have you set agenda for your one year reign?
Well, they are basically going to be humanitarian projects, reaching out to the community, giving back to young needy girls. Also, there will be enlightenment programmes, talk shows on problems in confronting Africa, and an agenda to help the female youth to rise politically because everyone deserves a fair share.
Which of the programmes on the female child are you so particular and passionate about?
I am very passionate about child marriage; about 800,000 young female children are going through this presently in Africa. Abuja in Nigeria has the highest case of this case, and it is just disheartening. They need to go back to school, and we intend to create a better environment for them to reduce occurrences of child marriages. This is a scourge that leads to child labour and high mortality rate. You know a child is not built to conceive, and so when that is forced on her, it creates harm or in worst case scenario,
What steps are you taking to correct this?
Well, we are beginning with creating awareness through education and orientation because some people still do not believe that child marriage is wrong. They still feel it is a part of their culture. It is a gradual process and we will surely make the change.
Are you aware that most of these child marriages are contracted between the child and very prominent individuals most of whom are senators?
Yes, we will begin by bringing them before the public. We will publicise their names. These people will not treat their own children that way, so why do it to other people’s children. When we start exposing them, bring them to justice, others will learn from it.
Most girls your age are still under their parents. How do you cope on your own now
Yeah, it is not a big deal. I have been looking after myself ever since I was much younger. I attended a boarding school, and there, I looked after myself. I travelled outside the country and I was fine. I don’t think it’s going to be a problem,
How do you relax?
I’m an indoor person so I read books and listen to music for relaxation. However, I love travelling and meeting people as well as making new friends.
Who was your greatest rival during the competition?
There was none though one of the girls kept me guessing with her quietness. It was like she was always plotting how to win as she stayed quietly on her own most times. So she kept me on my toes. She ended up with the first runner up position after I won.
What has changed in your lifestyle since your became queen
Nothing much, I still do the normal things I use to do. I only became more professional, that’s all. I can still do everything I use to do including small talks with the girls.
So what food do you eat that makes you very happy?
I like Plantain and Efo.
Do you do sports?
I’m not an athletic person. But sometimes, I play basketball and skipping. Apart from that, I watch football.
Are you in a relationship, I mean who’s that man in your life?
For now, I am taking time to build myself up. However, certain setback made me give myself that break.
Setback? Did anyone break your heart at a point?
Yea, that calls for my break.
Oh! And he never knew you were going to be a queen someday
They never know (laughs).
Now that you’re more popular, how would you manage the avalanche of men that will show interest in you? Most of them will have goodies you can’t resist
I believe I know what I want and when the time comes, I will choose right. Some of them will come with very sincere intentions but presently it is my duty to wave all of them off politely, not abusively. For now, focus is the watchword. Also understand that if the right buttons are ticked, I see no reason why I should not succumb even before reign ends. I see no reason why I should not balance my life given the right opportunity.
Pop and blues, which is your favorite?
Any special artiste?
I really wish West life would come back. Yes Westlife. They are good
What about local artiste?
They’re good too but they’re just entertainers.
(laughs) For Westlife, their songs are like food to the soul because they don’t just randomly sit and write or sit and try to sing to gather people together; they actually attach genuine reasons to what they sing.
So no Nigerian artiste has a reason for singing?
I never said so, I’m saying they’re just entertainers, you get to dance, you get to jiggle, ou get to be in the mood for merriment, that’s all; most of the time you cannot relate to the song they sing. Their song is just like a virus that people catch and pass on. Nothing else.
Given an opportunity to pick one of our artistes, who would you pick?
I’ll pick Johnny Drille; he’s underrated.
Which country will you love to travel to that you’ve not?
I’ll love to go to Paris.
And what President would you love to meet
He’s no longer a president
Yeah, I’ll still love to meet him.
OK, so what promise are you making the girl child now that you’re the saddle?
I promise to be a real advocate for the eradication of the basic problems girl children are facing and with the help of the management, support of the NGOs and the government of Nigeria, all will be well in Nigeria Africa as a whole.
Are you going to forfeit your nursing career to chase the life of fun and beauty pageantry?
Well, I’m still trying to think it out because this is my passion; this is always what I’ve loved doing. After my tenure, I may go back into the nursing line but I would definitely do what’s going to make me happy.
Is there any financial benefit attached to the face of trek?
Yes. We’re going to have a monthly salary, it has no particular fixed price but when the time comes we’re going to have official contract, should I say, signature or something, I’ll inform you (laughs).
Who has been your beauty inspiration
I’ve always loved Agbani Darego, I actually used to be a great fan of hers. But while growing up, I added a bit of weight, and dropped the idea. I’m still glad that I’m back on track.
Did you ever participate in any beauty pageantry while growing up?
No, none that I can remember
We wish you the very best.
Thank you very much.