I prayed, fasted with mum, pastor to emerge Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria – 2021 winner
My name is Oluchi Madubuike, I attended Cita International Private School in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, for most of my elementary education. I moved to British American Academy in Oman, Middle East, when I was in Grade 4. I later came back to Nigeria, and I attended Charles Day Memorial International School in Port Harcourt, where I finished JSS3 to SS3. I attended the University of Texas, where I got a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and I’m 25 years old.
One of my most memorable moments was in the company of my late dad. When I was about five years old, Agbani Darego won Miss World; my dad and I were watching it, and he saw how enthusiastic I was about it. He saw that I was truly intrigued about it too; so he told me that I could do whatever I wanted to do, adding that if I wanted to become Miss World, I could be. It was truly gratifying to know that I have a father who truly believed in me strongly. I am happy that I have been able to achieve my goal, not only for myself but for him as well.
I graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a magna cum laude (distinction) in 2017. But it was not just that alone, I also bagged an honour when I wrote a thesis titled ‘Facilitating the integration of Nigerian nurses into the US hospital environment’. I was able to achieve this academic feat because I was focused on my goal. I didn’t just want to graduate from college; I knew that if I got the degree, I would be able to relieve my mother of the burden of fending for myself and relieve her of her financial responsibilities. I also wanted to help her in other ways to take care of my siblings. These thoughts motivated me to seek excellence. However, it was not by my power that I attained this; I prayed and relied on my faith. Also, the thoughts of not letting my parents down helped me.
I don’t think I truly deprived myself of anything because I had an enjoyable college experience. I believe in balance and the ‘work hard, play hard’ mantra. At times, I spend long hours in the library even when others were sleeping. I always made accommodations for other activities by studying ahead. In summary, I was just ready to make every sacrifice to achieve my academic goal.
I had always known that I wanted to be in the health care sector from a young age. In fact, my end goal is not to be a nurse but to become a doctor. The reason nursing was included in my journey was that when my dad died, he had a journal documenting people that had made an impact in his life in his final days battling leukaemia. I realised that a lot of persons he wrote about were nurses who made an impact in his life. Knowing that gave me another direction because I just wanted to make that kind of impact. That was simply my greatest motivation; I wanted to be an intensive care unit nurse, to be there for patients, family and friends during such a trying time in their life. I am a registered nurse.
I was actively practising as an emergency room and intensive care unit nurse. I worked through the entire COVID-19 pandemic period in 2020 up to the time I came and participated in the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria.
I am currently a travel nurse, and working for different organisations has been a blessing. Knowing that there are various organisations that would support one through one’s career is also a blessing. Working during COVID-19 wasn’t an easy feat but I had a huge support system and other healthcare workers were putting in their best as I was. We were simply there for one another, and this created a bond among us all. Thus far, my career has been inspiring and fulfilling, especially with the understanding that I am a servant who loves to always give back and be there for people.
I decided to participate in the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria 2021 because I had a nudge in my spirit towards the end of the year 2020. It was like God wanted me to go for the pageant. I was not very sure which pageant he wanted me to contest. I just knew he (God) wanted me to be in Nigeria in a big competition. I prayed for direction and went on with it. Also, recall that I had wanted to be in a pageant when I was just five years old. But moving to the United States seemed like it was a dream that I would not be able to accomplish anymore. Thankfully, when I had the nudge in my spirit, it made me pursue my dreams passionately like I always do in my other endeavours.
Participating in Miss Africa Texas in 2016 and Miss Nigeria USA in 2019 was not in any way my preparation for MBGN 2021. I simply went for these aforementioned competitions because I loved the idea of being a contestant at that time. I loved the idea and wanted to experience it. As a matter of fact, I thought my participation in Miss Nigeria USA in 2019 was going to be the end of my pageantry journey because it did not seem like I would have the time or the resources to come back to Nigeria and participate in MBGN 2021. I only participated in Miss Africa Texas Pageant and Miss Nigeria USA because I wanted to make an impact. However, I have learnt a lot from both pageants and it helped my strengths in MBGN 2021.
Winning MBGN 2021 is a dream come true for me. It is a fulfilment of a prophecy that I got three years ago. The pastor told me that I was going to win the title. At that time, I didn’t see it as feasible, and I did not know that it was achievable but God did it in His perfect time and this gives me great joy. Nonetheless, it feels surreal to know that I am also seen as a beauty queen in the US. To come back home to win a pageant in my country is one of the sweetest things to have happened to me. I do not have a huge fan base in Nigeria but the way people accepted me made me feel at home. A lot of people sent me messages on social media and also prayed for me.
I would like to note that one cannot be too prepared for a competition. However, I know that I am doing my best to get prepared for the Miss World pageant coming up in December. I am grateful to have an amazing team, I have the Silverbird Group behind me too, and more importantly, I have God by my side. He is the best person to give me everything that I need.
When I was announced the winner of MBGN 2021, all that was going through my mind was gratitude. I could only think about my late dad at that moment because I knew he would be proud of me. I was just grateful that I made my parents, family, friends and supporters proud. I am grateful for the grace to fulfil the prophecy; I am grateful that God spoke to me and held up his own end of his bargain.
I think what made me stand out is that I am a multifaceted person with strength in different areas of life. That aligned with what MBGN was looking for this year. During camp, I was able to show my strengths and that really helped me. Also, one of my most admirable qualities is my resilient spirit. It didn’t just start now; it started after I lost my father to leukaemia. I am able to bounce back after every situation. This is the spirit that has helped to achieve so much.
Before the pageant people asked me who I knew and what my plan and strategy were, I told them that I neither had a strategy nor knew anyone. I simply told them that I was going there to give it my best and pray to God that I come out successful. Ironically, many did not believe me. I’ll like to state that I had no connections before I came back to Nigeria, and I also did not know any of the organisers or have contacts with people of influence. My win was truly through hard work and the favour of God upon my life. I cannot explain it more than this, but this is my truth. I was not playing any politics behind closed doors.
I fasted and prayed prior to the MBGN competition. Even before I stepped on the stage, the last thing I did was to pray and fast with my mother and pastor. I was really steadfast with my prayers, and a lot of people were also praying for me and with me. Like I said before, my victory was definitely a result of this. I told God what I wanted, I listened to him and, in turn, allowed his will to be done in my life.
I think that a misconception that people have about beauty queens is that they do not possess anything aside from their beauty. The only way I can correct this wrong ideology is to be myself and show my strength. Beauty queens have so much than outward beauty. Beauty queens are stronger than we give them accolades for, and I think the best way to change a narrative is to show them what I’m preaching.
I will describe myself as a beautiful woman driven by passion and purpose. I am extremely God-fearing, and part of my purpose in this life includes spreading love and inspiring people which is something that I hope to do with the platform I have been given.
I plan to have an active reign and hope to succeed in the Miss World pageant by bringing home the blue crown. I want to tell the world that pageant girls are successful at the things that they do. We are the future leaders of our generation. We (beauty queens) are passionate and purpose-driven too.
With my platform, I would love to create awareness for blood cancer. After I lost my dad, this became my life’s mission. I would love to use the platform MBGN gave me to create that same awareness to bring about sustainable solutions to issues.
The biggest sacrifice I have ever made for my career was participating at MBGN 2021. I bought a one-way ticket here and moved out of my apartment in the US. I did not also renew my contract as a nurse, I simply took a leap of faith to come to Nigeria. It was a sacrifice to leave the life I had in the US to pursue this dream.
Wins and losses
Life is about wins and losses. I do not believe that anything is truly a loss; it is either a lesson or a blessing. If I have not won MBGN, I would have still pursued my passion and find other ways to bring about my advocacy. I would also understand that it wasn’t mine to win.
My mother was present the day I won MBGN; I saw a video of her running towards the stage with her friends when I was announced as the winner. Before she got to the stage, she knelt and said a prayer. I don’t think anything could have given more joy knowing that this was a dream come true for me and my late father. My brothers also believed in me from day one, and my extended family also supported me all the way. Many reached out to me via phone calls and text messages. It was certainly a joyous moment for my family.
My dad has been my greatest inspiration before and after his death. What inspires me about my dad is his attitude towards everything. He had a grateful attitude. He was a very hardworking and purpose-driven individual, and he is fondly remembered by all. His constant belief in me is also a great inspiration. He was my greatest cheerleader, and that motivates me to continue living.
I do not really keep a beauty or skincare routine. I know that people would imagine that I have.
My biggest fear is not achieving my God-given purpose. To me, that means failing in life.
I enjoy filming, editing videos, make-up and dancing. For fun, I love hanging out with people and playing games and karaoke. I simply love to surround myself with bubbly and energetic people.
The only person I cannot do without is God.
My friends often say that I am very picky and what I am looking for is not in the market. My mom also says this as well. I need to be with someone that complements me. He should be supportive, loving, courageous, and not afraid to be a leader. My list is really long; so I could go on. I actually have a prayer titled, ‘My husband’; it is in my notes.
I plan to be married by God’s grace but I don’t know how soon that will be.
My mom has been my greatest supporter since I opted for pageantry. She has been my rock and gives me everything I did. Once I give her my reasons for doing it, she will go all out for me. I love her so much.