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Anna Banner: How I became the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (30 Days, 30 Voices)

by Anna Banner

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”When it was my turn to go down the catwalk in a bikini, I swallowed hard; I couldn’t stop feeling that everyone was staring at my butt”

There were so many hot girls- Dark, Light-skinned, Tall, Hot legs, Flat tummies, you name it; they were everywhere. I could hear all sorts of accents- British, American, gosh! This was definitely going to be harrd. I walked across the room and took a seat in the hall, it was the MBGN 2013 final auditions in Lagos. “ Be yourself, put your best into what you do’’, I chanted. Pep-talk was all I could do at that point.

When it was my turn to go down the catwalk in a bikini, I swallowed hard; I couldn’t stop feeling that everyone was staring at my butt. Fortunately, I went through the bikini session without fainting. After the rigorous screening exercise, it was time to announce the names of the girls who had made it to the MBGN 2013 pageant. Yipee! My name was called and I was among the finalists. I was so delighted. Some friends of mine didn’t make it though, and I felt bad for them, but I told them that everything happens for a reason and that I would do my best to represent us well.

Throughout the camp, I worked really hard. We would wake up by 5am to jog, after a long night of rehearsals. Sometimes, we even slept with our makeup on- it was that demanding. As Miss Bayelsa- the host queen, I had to ensure that I was always at the front row because the pageant organizers insisted that I should be very visible. It wasn’t easy but somehow I had to make it work.

On the final day, there was so much tension. ‘’Breathe in, breathe out’’, everyone was trying to bring on their A-game. When I was selected amongst the top 10, I felt great because I had come really far. The competition continued and when it was time for the overall winner and runners-up to be announced, I just kept on saying ‘’Oooh, this people should announce the results joor. At least I know I’m not a loser. They should just announce it fast.’’ When my name was called and I was crowned MBGN World, I felt on top of the world. I knew my family and (true) friends would be so proud. It was a very high point for me.

After winning the pageant, I’ve improved a lot. I’ve gotten the opportunity to represent Nigeria at the Miss World pageant, I’ve had new experiences and I’ve become a better person. Even though I’m still a playful child, like sometimes I like to run around and throw food on my friends (insert laugh). I’m also still the simple Anna I’ve always been, like when I’m going shopping and I’m just casually dressed, my friends say ‘’No Anna, put on something else’’ or sometimes we’re going to hangout and they say, ‘’No, don’t wear flat shoes to this outing, don’t you know you’re a queen?’’ and then my response is ‘’Yes, but I’m a simple queen’’.

If there is one thing I’ve learnt from my experience as the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, it’s never to give up. Work hard, be persistent.

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Anna Banner is the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria World 2013.

30 Days 30 Voices series is an opportunity for young Nigerians from across the world to share their stories and experiences – creating a meeting point where our common humanity is explored.

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

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