Working with young women inspire me – Ohumotu Cecilia Bissong
From winning the 2003 edition of Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, Ohumotu Cecilia Bissong has become a front line model, television presenter and actress.
A native of Yala, Cross River State, Bissong started her modelling career when she was a child and attended Nigerian Navy Primary school and Nigerian Navy Secondary school both in Calabar, the latter she completed at the age the fourteen. She would later enroll as a student of the University of Calabar where she studied Economics.
Because she was raised to listen, to be sympathetic, to be humble and to have a voice, pageantry for Ohumotu presented an opportunity to independently experiment with and validate everything that her parents taught her. Pageantry enabled her use her voice with grace. It also gave her a wider medium.
In this interview, she shed more light on her journey and why she loves working with young women.
Journey into pageantry
I think people just had a misconception about pageantry; some parents feel it’s a distraction as opposed to celebrating beauty with brains. But for the most part, I believe that has all fizzled out.
I remember when I wanted to contest for Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MGBN); I called my sister up and asked her to get the form for me, which she did.
We submitted the form and it was time for the auditions; the audition was on a Sunday and my sister was taking me, but I hadn’t told my mum.
She noticed we weren’t getting ready for church and so she asked why, I then told her we got the form for MBGN and that day was the audition.
She asked, ‘you want to compete for the pageant,’ and I answered ‘yes.’ She said, ‘okay, you have my blessing, the same with my dad.
Whatever I needed, they were there for me. So, I’m super-grateful for that. I guess I was fortunate; my parents were supportive but a lot of parents are today.
Lessons learnt from competing for the MBGN crown
I think that what opportunities like that do for you is to allow you explore the values that your background has instilled in you.
People engage in pageantry and go away with different lessons, so, what I think is that it just opens a vista for you to actualise your personality.
For me, I was raised to listen, to be sympathetic, to be humble and to have a voice. Pageantry was a phase in which I was able to independently experiment with and validate everything that my parents thought me; my core belief shaped me. Pageantry made me use my voice with grace and gave me a wider medium.
Passion for humanity
My passion for humanitarian work is engraved in me, so, I still do that. Looking at society today and not being judgmental, we are gradually losing our cultural roots and foundation. Yes, everything evolves.
Change, they say, is the most constant thing, but that can happen while still embracing who we are as a people; our culture, language, and so many other thing because that teaches us how to be well rounded human beings.
Working with young women inspires me and I would definitely be doing more of that.