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Tomilayo Salami contested in the Most Beautiful Girl In Nigeria (MBGN) 2012 pageant as Miss Kwara State, where she earned herself a modelling deal— the ‘Face of SelectPro.’ The pretty and ebullient brand ambassador, in this interview, let LAWRENCE AMAKU into her world. Excerpt.
What’s it about ‘Face of SelectPro?’
Well, ‘Face of SelectPro’ is sponsored by SelectPro Cosmetics and Skincare, one of the sponsors of the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN) pageant. It is a cosmetic and skincare line owned by Ann Murray-Bruce. The winner of the MBGN eventually goes for the Miss World, that’s the first prize. There are other winners, like Miss Lacasera, among others.
How did you fare at the pageant?
I believe I fared well, for me to have been selected as a brand ambassador for SelectPro.
What was the experience like?
It was an interesting and exciting experience. I had a very wonderful time, and I believe I will do it a again if the opportunity presents itself again.
How did you prepare for it?
I never thought I would go for it, but I was convinced by a friend. I got the form and started preparing for the screening; after I came through I was so joyous and excited and I prepared for the pageant with all l had.
Were you modelling before going for the beauty pageant?
I actually love modelling and entertainment: the arts basically, but I wasn’t into modelling before going for the MBGN pageant. I went for the contest after leaving school. My passion is basically acting, modelling, presenting singing and dancing. Modelling is something I will love to dabble into.
You made an impressive showing at the MBGN, do you intend to go for another pageant.?
I really don’t know. But it hasn’t occurred to me to go for another pageant. I have no plans for that now. Everyone knows that MBGN is the biggest pageant in the country. So, it was really a huge step for me.
What next after this?
Yeah, I want to go full time into the entertainment industry. I consider myself as a bundle of talents of some sort; I like to dance, model and pose for pictures, that’s something I have always loved to do, right from a tender age. So, I see myself moving along that career line. I’m also a businesswoman (laughs). I find a way to match them all together.
What is it like now as a brand ambassador compared to then?
Well, before then I could say l wasn’t going for many events or activities as I do now. Since winning the ‘Face of SelectPro,’ I have had a lot of photo shoots and interviews. Those were things I never really got involved in then.
Your new status would have brought with it some attention and attractions, how do you cope with such fame?
I’m somewhat of a shy person. I have to come to term with the fact that I’m still the same person I was before the pageant. I understand that a lot of people, when they see me in public, especially on TV, will be like “Oh this is Tomi,” and call me to say “we saw you on TV, you are doing fine” and so on. I know I just have to get used to it because I know this is just the beginning and if I really want to go far with it I have to get used to it.
Were you anxious when going for the beauty pageant?
Yeah, I was really anxious and nervous because there were a lot of lovely ladies out there. I just made up my mind to do my best, to be the best that I could be. I was happy in the end because I didn’t leave empty-handed.
Did your parents lend their support to it?
They were quite sceptical, they weren’t really into me going for it; but I come from a family that understands and appreciates somebody, not for what you can do for them but for who you are and what they believe in. So, they respected my decision and ability to think rationally. I told them that I wouldn’t do anything that will be scandalous or bring shame to my family.
How did they receive the news of your performance?
They were actually happy when I won.
What is your fashion taste like?
My taste for fashion is simple, classy and comfortable. I don’t believe in a lady wearing something that will make her end up regretting laughs).
What are the fashion items you can’t step out of the house without?
Basically, I believe, as a woman, your makeup and your perfume are very important. You don’t necessarily have to wear jewellery as long as you are presentable makeup-wise and you smell good it’s okay,... your personality is the next thing that will (project) you.
What addition have you made to your makeup and wardrobe since the MBGN contest?
You know I was promised a supply of a collection of makeups. I surely have had a lot more makeups than I had in the past, that is before the pageant. I can say that it is the addition.
How do you keep fit and maintain your slim figure?
I have a slim figure naturally and I love swimming too. So, it keeps me healthy.
What other benefits have accrued to you on account of your present status?
The fact that I have met a lot of people that I would ordinarily would not have met. Also, there is so much to look forward to. I’m also looking at how I can make a positive impact on the society before my reign is over.
Have you been courted by some other sponsors apart from Select Product Company?
I’m looking forward to getting sponsorship from as many people as will be willing to support me.
What won’t you be caught wearing?
Definitely, I won’t be caught wearing a colour riot (laughs). Also, I won’t be caught wearing anything tacky and scandalous. I believe no descent woman should wear anything that does not cover the places that should be covered; to some extent there should be some decency and appropriateness. I mean, you shouldn’t wear a half top to an office just the same way you won’t wear iro and buba to club (laughs).
What are your favourite accessories?
I love earrings, I love rings, you can see a lot of them on my body. I also love shades too. Particularly, since I became the ‘Face of SelectPro’ I have been wearing a lot of these.
How has your present status affected your style?
I’ve always been a stylish and fashionable person. So, it just accentuated it. Perhaps, I have since sharpened it.
What traits or physical attributes do you think count as an advantage to a contestant?
It depends on the pageant, because there are also pageants that I can’t go for, like Mrs Endowed. For instance, in the MBGN, like other pageants, you have to be in good shape and fit to an extent, because they are considering the contestants with respect to an international stage. Right now, they are introducing a new rule. For height, you have to be a bit tall and slim. They aren’t that stringent about height, anyway. For instance, I’m just 5.7 and still fit.
Did your physical attributes work in your favour?
Well, God helped me. I put in my best, I know that to an extent I’m not bad-looking either (laughs).
You seem to be wearing more of brown stuffs. Is it your favourite colour?
Well, not exactly. I love brown actually but that’s not my favourite colour. I love pink, blue and also brown.
How do you handle advances from men?
I handle it very diplomatically. I know how to speak lto you in a very polite manner, if I’m not interested.
Are you in any relationship now?
I really won’t like to talk about that now. Maybe some other time.
Your advice for intending beauty pageant contestants
Give it all your best, don’t stop at anything. Be really what you want. If you are sure that this is really what you want go for it, go all out. Just give it your best and I’m sure you’re going to get the benefit of your hard work.
I’m from a humble background. My parents actually ensured that we got a good education and that we were well provided for. I have to thank them for that. I attended FGGC, Abuloma, in Port Harcourt, but I’m from Kwara State. I studied English.
What do you do for a living?
I just finished schooling after which I went for the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria pageant where I represented Kwara State and won the ‘Face of SelectPro.’
Your advice for the youth
I want to encourage everyone— in whatever you pursue in life, with the right goal, determination and hardwork there is nothing you can’t achieve. Stay right by it and just follow you heart.