Who is Ebele Enemchukwu? Tell us more about you? And what are you doing after being Mrs Tourism?
Ebele Enemchukwu is a wife, mother, a Learning and Development Expert/Trainer spanning over 17 years, a Beauty and Image Consultant, as well as an event host. I am Mrs. Nigeria United Nations, as well as Mrs. Tourism United Nations World 2015 – 2017. I am the CEO of WABIO International Limited, and Founder of WABIO Foundation. That’s me in a nutshell.
Before pageantry, I worked in one of Nigeria’s biggest Telecommunications companies as a Training Specialist, responsible for training new and existing members of Staff of the company. I resigned from the job in 2018, but have since continued with my training efforts, while expanding other efforts, including launching my Makeup Studio and School, called WABIO Place.
What motivated you to go into tourism fully.now. You were very visible at Akwaaba.
In 2015, I clinched the Mrs. Nigeria United Nations title in Abuja, Nigeria. That meant I had to represent Nigeria on the world stage in Kingston, Jamaica, where I won the Mrs. Tourism United Nations World title. My journey into tourism therefore came on the backdrop of this, and it has been an amazing journey ever since. I would credit my giant strides in the tourism industry and the milestones I have thus far attained, to a man who almost needs no introduction in the Tourism Industry. His name? Ambassador Ikechi Uko, the Convener of Akwaaba African Travel Market, the biggest travel expo in West Africa. That said, it was I who sought him out. I made a courtesy visit to his office. My motivation was the quest to make the most of my platform, and give positive visibility and promotion to the tourism industry in Nigeria, at a time when there was so much focus on a single product, oil. I wanted to be part of the success story of diversification, and therefore aligned with other like-minded people who saw tourism as a low-hanging fruit to help Nigeria rake in the much-needed foreign exchange. I am happy about the journey thus far.
What was the reaction of your family, friends, when you told them you are contesting for Mrs Tourism?
Hahaha! I contested as a married woman. As a young girl, my Mom never wanted me to partake in Pageantry or Modelling. She was of the opinion that Pageant girls were morally loose, and somehow that stuck, and I found myself declining such opportunities. She came from a place of love and care, clearly. However, I grew to know better. When the opportunity to contest while I was in my husband’s house came, the main person whose approval I needed was hubby’s. With a clear understanding of the grand vision, which I commucated effectively, he okayed it a 100%. I informed my parents later, and they gave their full support. My children were my biggest cheerleaders. So, the day came, I won Mrs. Nigeria. The day in Jamaica came, I won Mrs. Tourism.
What advice do you have for ladies who want to become Beauty Queens or Tourism Ambassadors?
Simple. Go for it! That said, it’s important to know why you wish to go into it. Solely for the fame, the money, the many juicy promises from the Organisers etc.? My darling, you may need to brace up for levels of disappointment. For something more sustainable, for the platform, and an expanded audience to share your ideas, to lend your voice to a cause, to positively inspire others, then you’d most likely remain relevant long after your one-year reign is done. You shall go on into greater things. Guess what, the icing by way of fame, money etc. will somehow begin to follow. Be patient. Be consistent. Be humble. Never let the cheering sound of the crown make your head grow beyond the circumference of your crown. Never forget God. In the end, as I always say, when the vision is clear, decisions become easier. Those are my words of counsel for now. For anything additional, I’d have to send my invoice. Hahaha!
You took a bold step going for the contest, would you encourage women to take that same bood step as you did?
Absolutely! However, seeing that I contested as a married woman, and since I’ve already provided general counsel, I shall direct this one to married women.
As I always say, please involve your husband. Get his support. You’d need it. What worked for me, may not work for you. Do not compare or expect express approval as I received. For most Pageant systems, what legitimises your participation in the “Mrs.” category, is the presence of a husband, otherwise, you’d have to contest under the “Miss/Ms.” category. On this journey, a solid support system will take you far.
What is your relationship with old friends now that you are a celebrity…do you still hang out with them?
I’ve never really been a ‘hang out’ kind of person. Yes, I am that boring. To answer your question, being queen has not done anything detrimental to my existing relationships. If anything, it has strengthened them, and has helped me forge new ones that I remain forever grateful to God for everyday.
Growing up did you envisage you would be a Queen someday?
No arrogance intended, but I believe I was born a Queen. After I got crowned, my friends would say things like, “all they did was to confirm what you’ve always been.” I always had a strong knack for elegance, for beauty from within, for treating people with respect, for being refined in words and action. On the more superficial side to things, I’ve always walked tall as though with an imaginary crown on my head and with a healthy dose of confidence, I’ve always walked in heels, so much so that there are people today who have never seen me in a pair of flats, I’ve always paid attention to personal grooming. That said, I didn’t imagine contesting, since my Mom made pageantry quite unattractive early on in life. I’m glad I did, and have since caused a paradigm shift in that stereotypical thinking of painting all Pageant women and girls with one brush.
Would you encourage your daughter to contest as a beauty queen…why?
I will provide guidance through whatever dream or interest they choose to pursue. If pageantry becomes one of them, then why not?
Knowing now that being a Beauty Queen empowers you to embrace your femininity, while using your voice to amplify those of others who would otherwise remain unheard, I would encourage them. It is a celebration of womanhood, it boosts one’s confidence, it improves your public-speaking skills, it provides a better understanding of backgrounds, other cultures and religious systems. I shall be there to handhold, but will frown at it, if it will interrupt their academic progress. Two of my children are girls. In the end, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to it. As parents, we know our children, their peculiarities (for want of a better word), and shall guide appropriately.