By KATE HALIM
Even though Theodora Ibekwe is a trained teacher, and comes from a long line of teachers, she has pursued a different path for herself. Showbiz and entertainment is her life. She talks, breathes and eats entertainment. Theodora Ibekwe is the founder of Miss Elegant International and the New Face of Nollywood Beauty Pageants in UK. The pageants celebrate womanhood and portray them in a positive light. She is also the producer of the much talked about Miss Elegant international TV show and CEO of Theodora PR Media and consultancy.
Award-winning Theodora told Saturday Sun recently that the men in her life are supportive and won’t be envious of her success. Excerpts: What fascinates you most about beauty pageants? Beauty pageants give one the opportunity to showcase women in a positive light and bring forth new talent. Contestants have the opportunity to reveal more than just beauty. They reveal the brains behind the beautiful faces and bodies.
They can even exhibit their acting abilities and public speaking skills. What dreams do you have for Miss Elegant International? My desire is to take Miss Elegant International to the world. We have started in the UK and it will come to Nigeria and other African countries culminating in Miss Elegant Africa. In your opinion, what truly makes one a Beauty queen? A beauty queen is more than facial and body beauty, it is about presentation, brains and attitude.? What does it take to organise successful, scandal-free beauty pageants? It takes extreme hard work and a lot of selfless support from friends and strangers alike to make a beauty pageant a success.
It involves a long journey, from auditions to preparing the finalists to the live show. It is truly a labour of love indeed. How did you get into Nollywood, why didn’t you stick to beauty pageants? I have always had a passion for media and entertainment, although people don’t know that I am a trained and certified teacher. I am from a family of teachers, my maternal grandfather was a teacher, my parents are teachers, my maternal aunties and only uncle, as well as my paternal aunties, are trained teachers.
My two sisters and only brother are trained teachers too, but I still chose not to teach. I found myself in entertainment when I worked with Waterparks, Ikeja, Lagos as a resident manager, before leaving the shores of the country for England. All we did there was purely entertainment matters and I loved it. How did your journey into Nollywood begin? I was at an event where I stood in for a missing MC. I was spotted by a director and picked for his film, Heavy Mama in London. I was also approached by Dayo Olomu to co-host his show Arize on Passion TV; I also appeared on Fresh Acts. What are your achievements in the UK? I have won numerous awards. They are my pride and joy. I have also kept the passion of Miss Elegant Pageant alive.
I have acted in a few movies and produced some also. I am also run a successful public relations business. Was there any time you were pushed to the wall and felt like quitting? I am a determined person and never disheartened; every obstacle is an opportunity to overcome my challenges. Quitters don’t win and winners don’t quit. There are also bad friends laughing and making jest of my work, but I will never quit. I love my job and I’m very passionate about it and will take it to another level. What does it take to be in the limelight and staying cool in the face of glamour without losing it? I have the grace of God. His peace fills me.
I have been fortunate to be in demand and have not really had to work hard to be in the limelight. ? With your beauty and natural endowment, men must be all over you. How do you cope with the pressure? I don’t think it’s just me. Every beautiful woman must enjoy a measure of attention from men. Men always want to chat up and hang around beautiful women. My case is not different. I cope fine with the pressure and handle them with tact. As a successful young lady, is marriage on your mind? Marriage is two people coming together as man and wife. Of course, I am looking in that direction, every man or woman created by God will always look forward to getting married. It is a thing of joy. So, watch out for that soon.
Don’t you think men will feel threatened by your success? There will always be jealousy in this field. However, I find that most men in my life have been quite supportive and do not begrudge my success. There is enough room for everyone. I also feel that as I have been very supportive to many individuals in the past and will continue to be. They are more likely to run to my aid rather than feel threatened by me. What are the challenges you face organising your pageants and producing your shows? The main challenge is finance. There are so many events and films out there, but to finance them is a major headache.
I have been fortunate to have the support of a major sponsor like Microsystems. Of course, there are various other challenges including auditions, training, and costumes. You have to balance your judges to ensure impartiality. But all these are just a part of what goes into organising the pageants and keeps you on your toes. What attracted you to showbiz? I have always been interested in the entertainment industry. I consider myself to be a born entertainer and was always going to find a way to showcase my talents. I didn’t attend a drama school, it comes natural to me. What advice do you have for people considering a career in showbiz?
There will be numerous knock-backs and knockdown but be strong, never ever give up. Always be prepared to take the lowest of roles and give 100 per cent, as you never know, it could be your big break. Never be difficult on set especially while trying to get ahead, it doesn’t help at all and you are likely to be sidelined by directors, producers and casting directors. Always believe in yourself, and you will make it. What else do you hope to achieve in life? There is a lot more to come from me.
I am thinking about a TV series in addition to taking Miss Elegant around Africa and other parts of the world. I won’t mind writing and directing as well as producing and acting in the same movie. It’s a big challenge but a few good women have achieved it. What other things interest you? I love to relax in front of the TV watching many Nollywood movies. I do love to party also.