People look for various platforms to help them kickstart their dreams. Former Beauty Queens
It could be through commercial acting, reality TV appearances, or simply knowing someone in the business.
Some famous people, however, got their start in the beauty pageant circuit.
In this article, we will shine the spotlight on eight Nigerian women who began their careers and rose to fame on the platform of a beauty pageant.
Lynda Chuba-Ikpeazu is a politician and entrepreneur. Former Beauty Queens
She is the daughter of Chuba Ikpeazu, a former chief justice and two-time NFA chairman.
She won the first edition of the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MGBN) pageant in 1986.
She was also the first Nigerian to compete in Miss Universe since Edna Park in 1964. Her most notable pageant accomplishment, however, was being crowned Miss Africa the same year.
Following her reign, Chuba-Ikpeazu, who was born in Imo State, went into business, specializing in oil sector servicing.
She ran for and was elected to represent Onitsha North and South Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives in 1999, a position she still holds today.
Chuba-Ikpeazu, 55, was educated in Nigeria, England, and America.
Bianca Ojukwu (Nee Onoh) is best known as the wife of late former Biafran warlord, Chukuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu.
The 52 year old Bianca has won numerous international beauty contest titles.
She won the Miss Martini pageant in the mid-1980s.
Odumegwu-Ojukwu was crowned Nigeria’s Most Beautiful Girl in December 1988, but reigned for the majority of 1989.
She also won the Miss Africa pageant in 1989, which was held in Gambia.
Bianca represented Nigeria at both Miss World and Miss Universe in Hong Kong and Mexico, respectively.
She had even more success the following year when she was crowned Miss Intercontinental. This made her the first African woman to be crowned Miss Intercontinental.
She was named Miss Congeniality at Russia’s now-defunct Miss Charm International, where she was also a semi-finalist.
President Goodluck Jonathan appointed Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu as Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora Affairs in 2011.
She was appointed as Nigeria’s ambassador to Ghana the following year, and later as Nigeria’s ambassador to Spain.
In 2021, she was defeated in the primary election for the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) Anambra South Senatorial District in highly contentious circumstances.
She is Nigeria’s permanent representative to the World Tourism Organization of the United Nations.
Regina Askia-Wiiliams is one of the most beautiful actresses to have graced Nigerian television screens.
Askia-Williams was studying medicine at the University of Calabar before transferring to the University of Lagos (UNILAG). She was crowned Miss Unilag in 1988.
She finished second in the MBGN 1988 competition that same year.
However, she took over the title when the previous year’s winner, Bianca Onoh, resigned.
Askia-Williams finished second in the Miss Charm International pageant in Leningrad, Russia, in 1990.
She also made history as the first Nigerian to compete in Miss International in Japan.
Following her reign as Miss Universe, Askia-Williams embarked on a modeling and acting career.
Askia-Wiiliams is a family nurse practitioner (FNP), healthcare and educational activist based in the United States.
Ibidunni Ighodalo was a philanthropist and expert in event management and public relations.
Her brothers entered her in a beauty pageant, the Miss Lux beauty Pageant, in 1998, before she was admitted to the University. She won the Miss Lux Beauty Pageant for the first time in 1999.
In 2003, she founded Elizabeth R, an event management and public relations firm, and three years later, Avant-Garde, a bridal store.
She is also the founder of the Ibidunni Ighodalo Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting families dealing with infertility issues.
She married Pastor Pastor Ituah Ighodalo of Trinity House Church in Lagos in 2007, and she became a co-pastor. They both have two adopted children.
Mrs. Ibidunni passed away in the early hours of June 14, 2020, in Port Harcourt, River State, just a month before her 40th birthday. She died as a result of a cardiac arrest.
Stephanie Onyekachi Okereke Linus is an actress, model, film director, screenwriter, and producer.
Okereke, 38, has starred in and directed numerous Nollywood projects for which she has received numerous awards and nominations.
The Nigerian government bestowed the national honor of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic, MFR, on her in 2011.
In 2002, the Imo state-born actress competed in the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MGBN) contest, finishing as the first runner-up.
Okereke won two awards at the 2003 Reel Awards, one for ‘Best Actress – English’ and one for ‘Best Actress of the Year 2003’, out of eight nominations.
In April 2012, the University of Calabar graduate with a degree in English and Literary studies married Linus Idahosa in a private wedding ceremony in Paris, France. The couple is the proud parents of a son.
Ufuoma Stacey McDermott (nee Ejenabor) is an actress, filmmaker, and former model.
By 2002, the Benin-City-born, Delta state indigene had competed in two mini-pageants. She won the Miss Ebony beauty pageant and went on to compete in her first national pageant, Miss Commonwealth, where she received the Miss Congeniality award.
Later that year, she finished as the first runner-up in the Queen Afrik beauty pageant.
In 2003, she competed in the Queen of All Nations beauty pageant, finishing as the first runner-up once more.
In 2004, she competed in the Miss Nigeria beauty pageant, finishing as the first runner-up.
Soon after, she was crowned Miss Earth Nigeria and went on to represent the country at the Miss Earth 2004 pageant.
Ufuoma joined Nollywood after returning to the country from the pageant.
The 40-year-old entertainer has appeared in numerous films and received numerous awards. She is married to Steven McDermott, and they have two children.
Munachi AbiiMunachi Abii Nwankwo is arguably one of the most beautiful women to have ever competed in a Nigerian beauty pageant.
Muna is a rapper, songwriter, television presenter, model, and actress from Imo State.
She competed in and won the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MGBN) pageant in 2007.
Abii, who was born in Port Harcourt, competed in the beauty pageant while in her second year at Benson Idahosa University.
Later that year, she represented Nigeria at Miss World in China.
Muna, like Patti Boulaye and Genevieve Nnaji, signed an endorsement deal with Unilever in 2011 as a model for Lux and appeared in a commercial for the brand.
Osas Ighodaro is a humanitarian, actress, producer, and event host.
Ighodaro was born in the Bronx, New York, to Nigerian parents from Edo State. Former Beauty Queens
She moved to Nigeria in 2012 with the intention of staying for six months before returning to the United States, but she found other work.
Ighodaro has appeared in a number of major films and television series (Tinsel).
She won Best TV Actress of the Year at the 2014 ELOY Awards for her role as Adanna (Danni) on the soap opera Tinsel.
In 2010, the Pennsylvania State University-educated journalist was crowned Miss Black USA Pageant. Former Beauty Queens