Anita May Igoni is the CEO of Miss Port Harcourt Beauty Pageant, a platform she started after her reign as Miss Tourism. The ex-beauty queen, who is expanding her tentacles into entertainment and humanitarian projects, speaks with ADENIYI ADEWOYIN on her various projects, sex-for-grade and other issues. Excerpts
How has life been after your reign as Miss Tourism?
Life has been beautiful after reigning as Miss Tourism Queen I must say. It actually opened my eyes to a lot of things and also opportunities which had made me a better version of myself.
How has the journey been since you started your own pageantry, Miss Port Harcourt City?
I wouldn’t say the journey has been smooth but it’s a bitter sweet journey with so many challenges and lessons, as we all know the Port Harcourt industry is still growing and as such not everyone has accepted us fully but we (Miss Port Harcourt City) are here to stay! So we stay pushing.
You recently announced Miss Port Harcourt City Intl, what’s the difference?
Well Miss Port Harcourt City International is a title created to give one Port Harcourt girl the opportunity to represent our dear city and Nigeria internationally. We recently coped a franchise from Miss Planet International, in order not to change the brand name, the girl that emerges Miss PHC International will represent Nigeria at Miss Planet International and Miss Port Harcourt City remains an ambassador to the city.
You are becoming a household name in the pageantry world especially in Port Harcourt in less than five years, how have you been able to attain such feat?
Well, I give God all the glory and to my sponsors who keep supporting the brand effortlessly. I would say passion is my drive as I have so much love for the pageant industry.
As an entrepreneur what has been the most challenging for you?
The challenges I face as an entrepreneur is mostly getting support from people and also having to face those on the same space that see you as a competitor. It is always not easy as sometimes your expectation crashes to the ground and you have to pick yourself up for a plan B at the last minute. We get to see little support but so much expectation. Life as an entrepreneur is really not easy.
What are the things you put in place or you don’t joke with in your business?
I don’t joke with customers/brands in my business. By customers, I am generalizing it but by brands, they are important in the pageant world for collaborations and support during the course of the event and afterwards.
Aside from being the CEO of Miss Port Harcourt City, what else do you do?
Aside from being the CEO Of Miss Port Harcourt City, I own an entertainment outfit called Dollybirds Limited that covers event planning, model and artiste management, event staffing and A.M media. I’m into farming and also real estate. I am also the founder of Living for a Cause Foundation. It’s charity organization. It’s the charity foundation that empowers young struggling girls with skills and also we give out pads during the pad-up-a-girl child campaign.
You seem to love Port Harcourt so much. What is the connection?
I grew up in Port Harcourt. I am from Port Harcourt. I love my city.
How was growing up for you?
Well, I would say I wish I didn’t grow up because it’s actually a trap. As a child, I enjoyed my days as a kid although I had to go through a lot in my teenage age with so much happenings around me. It wasn’t easy at all.
There are cases of unfulfilled promises in the pageant world. How have you been able to keep your promises in terms of prizes?
Yes, we hear of such cases daily. We hope for a change soon. As I would say, our sponsors are our strength, so we try to be as fair as possible in redeeming the promised prizes to the winners.
How much support did you get from your parents?
Not so much support. They were against me being a model at first but I guess everyone adjusted with time.
You have a great sense of fashion. How do you come out looking so good?
My fashion sense hmmm… I don’t know how it happens but I just wear what fits me and I like good things as well.
Will you consider owning a fashion brand someday?
Not really but I see myself collaborating with an already made fashion/designer outfits to produce my collection.
How is your love life?
I would say active.
Are you dating presently?
Yes, I am dating presently.
Describe your kind of man?
My kind of man is supportive, caring, calm, got a good heart, believes in God and (is) hardworking.
Can you marry someone who isn’t as successful as you are?
Hmmm… It depends on the personality. If I can perceive him as hardworking and dedicated to improving himself daily yes I can.
At what age do you think a lady should get married?
A lady should be married when she’s ready and has got a good man. This age thing is just a number. Just take your time date a good man and get married to him if you find happiness there. I Don’t think there’s a particular age for marriage.
There is an ongoing discussion on sex for grades, did you at any point experience it?
Well I did experience it but I was a dedicated student and was very close to my course rep which really helped out a lot back then.
Tell us about it
It wasn’t an awesome experience having problems with a particular course for two years. This particular lecturer wanted me so badly that he would personally bribe invigilators to walk me out of exam hall few minutes into the start of examination, especially in his course. It was really a challenge. My then course rep had to pretend I was his girlfriend and pleaded with him so badly even lying he engaged me before he latter passed me with a C. That experience is really terrible.
Does wearing skimpy dresses warrant sexual harassment?
No it doesn’t. People should learn how to respect people’s choices of things.
What do you want to be remembered for?
For imparting in the lives of people.
Who are your role models?
My role models are those making something out of nothing, can’t really specify because I’ve got a bunch of role models.