27-year old, London-born Nigerian, Ganiyat Alli is the real queen of the show, after overcoming life-changing obstacles and debilitating depression to realise her dream of creating the annual Mr & Miss Nigeria UK pageant.
In 2013, Ganiyat had a successful career in the African events scene, but was forced to reassess what was important to her after almost losing her mother to a sudden head injury. Ganiyat became disillusioned by the entertainment and events industry and fell into depression. In the depths of what she calls “the dark place” and struggling to find a focus for her creativity, she thankfully had an “A Ha moment”. Always proud of her Nigerian heritage, Ganiyat had birthed the idea of creating a joint male and female cultural pageant specifically for the Nigerian community as a way to unite the diaspora. The Mr & Miss Nigeria UK pageant was born.
“Being born in London was not my choice and whilst I love being British I did not want to forget my Nigerian heritage. I love the rich culture of Nigeria and I also wanted to learn more about where I came from. I love making people happy and giving young people a platform to better themselves, particularly young black men and women who rarely see themselves in the mainstream media.”
The pageant aims to bring together and celebrate young men and women of Nigerian descent, both living in the UK and in Nigeria and harness the meaning of what it is to be Nigerian.
“We want everyone involved to feel like they have achieved something great and encourage young people to work hard and succeed in their hopes and dreams.”
The pageant which takes place in September 2016 encourages contestants to embrace their heritage and learn what it means to truly represent their country of origin. By encouraging the contestants to work together and build each other’s character the pageant promotes unity and positivity, a powerful force in the diaspora community.
Mr & Miss Nigeria takes place in London on September 25th 2016 at Islington Assembly Hall in London from 6pm to 11.30pm. Tickets are available here.
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