This Plaque sits in my room reminding me of that night.
Growing up was fun because I was left in the care of my grandmother (God bless her soul). She loved and spoiled me to bits. I could do no wrong in her eyes and she would sacrifice everything to give me what I wanted. I was therefore shocked to find out later in life that the reason why my grandmother was nicked named ‘’De Gaulle’’ (she was nick named after General De Gaulle of France) was because she was a disciplinarian and very strict. Well, either she loved me too much to show me that side of her or something just changed at her old age (I think people do really soften up with age).
All this pampering did give me a happy childhood but it had its disadvantages, I could do nothing for myself and I became timid and extremely shy because I hardly left the sight of my grandmother to mingle with other kids my age.
Well, well, well, how time flies because I became an adult too quickly and was soon on my way to the university. For the first time in my adult life I was going to be in charge of my life. This means managing everything from time, money, relationships and studies. This was way too difficult for me because I was still timid. When I say timid I mean that girl that will not approach you until you do and the one who will walk right to her room after lectures without saying a word to anyone. That is not to say I had no friends, I had quite a number of friends with whom I could be myself. I had amazing roommates who made life on campus a joyous one.
Then one day the spotlight was on me and I was one of the popular girls on campus. My name was wide spread and people I did not know would meet me and call me by name and say how proud they are of me. How did this timid girl gain the recognition of a whole region and the whole school? People meet me and say ‘’how did this happen’’? My own father asked me how I did this. This is because even at home I hardly say anything apart from answering YES and NO to my dad’s questions.
I am sure you are eager to know what the entire spotlight is about. Well I became a beauty queen by accident. Some of you reading this know me personally but never knew how I got into this. Remember I said it was by accident. Need an explanation? Here we go; I was a freshman or a fresher as we say here in Ghana in the university of Cape Coast (the central region of Ghana). One fine morning I was on my way back from lectures when a lady approached me and complimented me saying ‘’you are really pretty and tall, have you thought of taking part in a pageant?’’ I told her point blank it was something I would never even consider because my dad is really strict and will not be please to know I have left my studies to take part in a pageant. I know some of you would be thinking please you are an adult but in Africa or Ghana you are still under the control of your parents once you live under their roof and you are being taken care of by them. I think once I told the lady in question that she left without a word.
It would be about three weeks later before I saw this lady again. She asked if I had changed my mind and my answer was still a NO (a big N and a small o). She again disappeared just as she came. I had totally forgotten about this lady when two weeks later she meets me in my hall of residence in the evening around 7:00pm. She told me that the Miss Central pageant was going on as we speak and she could still arrange for me to take part but I was still adamant. She then agreed that she would not force me to do anything against my will but she would be happy if I could just dress up in my evening gown and go with her to watch the programme and if along the line I have a change of mind she could still get me to take part if I wanted. At this point I said to myself why not just go with her and watch this beauty contest and have fun. A few minutes later we were at the venue for the programme and what I did not realize was that I was backstage with this lady. She quickly introduced me to a group of women as one of the contestants. I was so shocked I could not really say much at this point and a part of me wanted to have fun that evening. After all I have never done anything exciting. But wait, I had no experience in modeling and I had no speech to be able to take part. This lady said to me ‘’I know you are eloquent enough to do this’’. Nobody has ever believed in me this way so I decided to throw caution to the wind and at this point take part.
Soon I was on stage introducing myself and giving a speech. I answered questions the best I could and the shouts and applauses I heard made me realize I was not doing bad for someone who has not be trained in any way. After I left the stage I told myself all this was over. Just as I was about to leave backstage I heard my name being mentioned as a first runner up. Two of us were selected winners to take part in the national Miss Ghana pageant.
Right there my life changed, I would not be the same girl again. I did not know the magnitude of change that was to ‘’hit’’ me but soon I would found out when my face was all over the newspapers and campus radios were discussing my performance. I was soon granting interviews all over the place. I was then supported with grooming by this lady to enable me take part in the Miss Ghana beauty pageant.
The national pageant soon took place and because the winner redrew, I was soon crowned Miss Central and went on to represent the region in the Miss Ghana pageant. I did not win the crown but I made it to the final five.
That one night changed my whole life, I came out of my shell and my perspective on life changed. Today I am a woman full of confidence who is able to hold conversations and make presentations without being shy. I am now recognized for public speaking and once in a while a colleague at work would approach me to be an MC at their events. Today I can look people in the eyes and speak without flinching. All thanks to this woman and this one night choice I made.
I know there are perceptions about beauty pageants and how they are a waste of money and the girls who take part are pretty faces but not intelligent. I very much beg to differ because, I am a beauty with brains and the world is mine to conquer.