I Wish My Tenure Won’t End… ‘Face Of Peace Africa’ Queen Speaks

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Face of Peace Africa beauty pageant made its debut with a successful show and Zimuzo Benson Iloani won the crown to become the maiden queen in 2012. Zimuzo Benson as she is fondly called started modeling professionally in 2011, by contesting for Miss Nigeria pageant where she made the top finalist and by the following year 2012, she became Face of Peace Africa queen. An opportunity many models have worked hard for in years.

Benson, who hails from Anambra State, has a Bsc in psychology from the University of Nigeria; Nsukka (UNN) heard about Face of Peace from a friend and later saw the advert on the Internet and decided to give it a shot.

Speaking on her reign so far, she said: “As the maiden queen, it’s a lot of challenge because I’ve to set the pace of operation for subsequent queens. I have been working on a pet project called SHE Initiative (Save, Heal and Empower). It’s a girl empowerment campaign targeted towards empowering teenage underprivileged girls on the streets (hawking, wandering and so on) by ensuring that they stay off the streets, get education, acquire skills, which they would be taught to translate into wealth and improve on their self-confidence.”

When asked about how she feels on passing the crown to the coming queen soon, the model said it’s a mixed feelings for her because she wishes her tenure wouldn’t end, because she already has a platform that helps her make an impact in the society, making impact comes with a lot of respect from people because of the title, which anyone could probably have ignored due to the pressure from day to day existence.  I have had teenagers walk up to me excited and want to be like me. I have also gotten away with a lot of things simply because I am queen, but there are some disadvantages which I wouldn’t write them off totally as pain but slightly discomforting because I am your regular girl on the street and I love to be comfortable in whatever I wear, but because I am a queen, comfort is not all there is to it. I have to dress with the consciousness of the office I presently occupy, though I default sometimes. You may catch me with flat shoes, snickers, jeans but even in those queen-forbidden outfits, I try to depict elegance while wearing them. But I‘m happy that I’m going to have a successor who will embark on various peace initiatives following my footsteps.

Benson explained that her prize that came with a car, $10,000 and a trip to Gambia has not changed her taste in fashion. “I still love my Makeup, Ankara fabric, shoes, earrings and they must not necessarily be overly expensive,” she said.

On what we should expect of her after her reign, she said: “I will continue with my NGO, the SHE Initiative, after my reign. Psychology is in everything I do because you need to understand people to be able to reach them but I plan to get masters in Industrial Psychology”

Registration form for 2013 is still selling. Intending contestants can pay the sum of 5000 naira to any branch of Access bank Nationwide, with the Account Name: Face of Peace Africa, Account Number: 0060566128 and log on to www.faceofpeaceafrica.com to fill the registration form. An acknowledgement will be communicated to the contestant and will be notified of the venue and time of auditions.

The organizer of the pageant disclosed that the stakes are higher this year, the winner will go home with a whopping sum of $15,000 as against the $10,000 which the winner got last year and get a movie contract, a trip abroad and wardrobe overhaul. First runner up will also walk away with $5,000, 42 inches Plasma TV, a movie contract, a year beauty routine and a trip to Ghana. The second runner up will also get 27 inches Plasma TV, a movie contract, a year beauty routine and a trip to Obudu Ranch.

Organisers of the pageant endorsed by the Nigeria Police Force and Friends of the Global Fund Africa says beauty will not be the major criteria for the winner.

Twitter: @fopaafrica

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