•Tells CityPeople Her Experience
Though not many people knew much about the young, beautiful Princess Adedoja Adeyemi untill she emerged the winner of the annual Gotham City’s beauty pageant, Miss Oyo State. But the fact is that the highly intelligent Doja has always been on the scene. Even as an undergraduate, she was running a cultural blog called DojAfrica. Today the blog has become a growing brand, through which she is promoting Africa culture, tradition, history and heritage.
Another thing you can never take away from Doja is her intelligence. She has combined beauty with brains. In fact, she is a carbon copy of her father, the Alaafin of Oyo HIM Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi 111, in everything. She speaks so fluently and with so much confidence too.
Few days after she was crowned as the brand new Miss Oyo, however, City People Magazine Correspondent, ‘Dare Adeniran engaged this beautiful Oyo princess in a chat. It was quite revealing, as Doja takes us through her experience during the contest, what she has been up to before now and her plans for the office. How she duly contested and won the crown against the backdrop in some quarters that she was picked because she is Alaafin’s daughter. You can’t afford to miss the excerpts of this interview, during which Doja spoke extensively on how she won the crown as Miss Oyo, a brand new car and many other prizes. Read on.
Let me, first of all, congratulate you on your emergence as the new Miss Oyo, tell us about your experience of the whole contest?
It wasn’t that easy for me I must confess. I have never been to any beauty pageant. In fact, I never really liked being in one because most of the pageants that I have seen, they wear bikini and show their bodies and all, which is not my thing.
The preparation was rigorous, especially camping. I have also never stayed in the hostel. Not like it was difficult for me to relate with people because none of the contestants ever knew I was a princess until my name was announced as the winner. The camping, the practices, and all were hectic. Sometimes we slept for 2 or 4 hours within 48 hours. They teach you the dancing, the cat walking, you have to be perfect. Because most of us, especially someone like me, have never been to a pageant. So they want to prepare you in order for you to be able to showcase yourself very well.
So it was rigorous and I am very grateful to the organisers, they really did well. The experience was also inspiring for me and I learnt a lot.
How did you hear about Miss Oyo beauty pageant?
I have always been aware of the pageant. In fact, when I was UniOsun, one of our colleagues then won the contest but I wasn’t interested then.
So this year, former Miss Oyo 2018, Adeleye Adebanke who happens to be my friend encouraged me to try my luck. I also got a lot of encouragement from Arewa Folashade Adeyemi and my other sister, Adeteju Adeyemi. It was their support that made me decided to try my luck and thank God I won.
You’ve never been to a pageant and never liked it, what then motivated you to be part of this one?
Naturally, I am into humanitarian stuff. I like culture and all so doing what I love doing; culture, tradition and tourism was what gave me the push. I was like if I try this and win it would give me a better platform, through which I can showcase what I have been doing before now. Also, to positively impact on my community in my own way through the office of Miss Oyo.
What do you think stood you out from other contestants?
It wasn’t like I was better than others because everybody tried. We all gave it our best. So I don’t know what the judges saw that made them to pick me. But I am sure they did the right thing in their own way. Because when I saw the performance of others too, I was really impressed. All I can say is that I gave it my best and did my thing. Which the judges must have seen and acknowledged.
So now that you have a bigger platform as Miss Oyo, what are your plans?
I don’t really want to say much but without soothsaying, there are going to be a lot of things for me to do. Especially things that have to do with community, culture and humanitarian development. So you should watch out.
How does being Alaafin’s daughter make you feel?
To be honest, I don’t know. I have talked to some of my sisters before that I don’t really know what it feels like being a princess. It is not like we ain’t brought up like princesses or something. But I think it was the discipline that our parents, especially our father, instilled in us. He didn’t treat us like oh, you are a princess. He prepared us for what to come in the future, and that has really helped and still helping us in the reality of life.
He made us understand the fact that when he was growing up, he had to go through some things. In life you have to work hard for things. So it is not much of a big deal for me . To me, it’s normal.
Although there are some things that come with being a princess, you are to be respectful, the humility and some of those things they taught us. But it wasn’t something that got into my head. And I am very sure that was it for most of my siblings.
The institution itself comes with a lot of responsibilities. Being a princess, you have to be respectful and be respected, your dressing, the way you carry yourself and all that are very, very important.
You must have shared a bit of Alaafin’s brains, what inspires you the most about him?
Just like you said, the brains, the intelligence. Daddy is highly intelligent. He challenges everyone. Though I studied History, I can’t compare my intelligence to his own. So I am always wanting to do more. This part of my father really inspires me. If at his age, he knows a lot of things. My father would tell you that being a woman is not just about beauty, it also comes with the brain. So you have to read and read. It is his intelligence that inspires me the most about him.
Being a private and reserved person, how prepared are you for the paparazzi and challenges that come with the office of a beauty queen?
Well, it wouldn’t be so much of a big deal for me, even though I am a private person. Don’t forget that before becoming Miss Oyo I am a princess. And I have handled most of these things the way I could before now. So I will do what am suppose to do. My private life is still my private life while Miss Oyo is my office. I will do what is expected of me and keep the private part of my life private.
Will anything change about Doja now that she is Miss Oyo?
No. Nothing is going to change about me. I am not freak by the office. I am so grateful for the opportunity, for the privilege but nothing is really going to change. It is just what I have been doing, to contribute more to the community through this office.
What are the things you learnt in the whole contest?
There are So many things I learnt. The number one is confidence, no matter what you do or whatever you are going through, you must have confidence.
What we were prepared for was for each contestant to use 5-10 minutes for our presentation. Unfortunately on that day, there was no time. And they have been telling us that anything can happen on the D-DAY. So when we eventually got to the stage each contestant was given about 1 minute and for the questions 10 seconds. You have to be articulate, you have to be able to think fast, you have to be prepared and you got to have confidence. Because you can be asked anything and you are given 10 seconds.
Another thing I learnt was human relations because when we were in camp you have to relate with a lot of people and it really helped me. I related excellently well with everyone, so much that after the contest, many were saying ha, I didn’t even know that girl was a princess.
Apart from culture and tradition, what will be your major point of concentration as Miss Oyo?
Humanitarian projects that have to do with rape. Rape is very rampant nowadays, even in this COVID-19 lockdown, the country has recorded a high number of rape cases. I want to use this platform to fight against rape and also to look for organisations, individuals and even government so that we can rehabilitate those people who are rape victims.
We also have plans for those living with HIV, to encourage them that it is not the end of life. Also, other humanitarian projects that would directly benefit orphans, people with physical disabilities. The day after I was crowned as Miss Oyo, I was at a popular radio station in Ibadan here and I saw people with physical disabilities staging a protest. They were protesting that the slot they were given in the recently concluded TESCOM recruitment was not encouraging. We need a society that will give these people a chance. So, I am going to use this platform to also fight for people with physical disabilities. Though I have been on the course since 2017 when I was in 400L. But this should be a good opportunity to fight more for them.
How do you plan to achieve all these?
Like I said we are going to partner with organisations, individuals and government at all levels in Oyo State and even beyond. I also have an existing platform, DojAfrica though not as big as Miss Oyo. But we’ll partner with DojAfrica and many others in the society in order to achieve all the aforementioned projects.
What is DojAfrica all about?
DojAfrica is a cultural platform. It used to be a blog but now it is bigger than that. It is a cultural platform for promoting Africa culture, history and heritage. We are also going to add fashion brand to it very soon. Because when I started the brand I saw beyond the shores of Nigeria, that was why I called it DojAfrica. I saw something bigger. Also, you know the culture is very heterogeneous, there are so many things you can do. So taking our culture beyond our shores, that is the plan. That is what DojAfrica is all about, promoting Africa culture, tradition, history and heritage.
How would you have felt if you didn’t win the contest?
Well, to be honest, if I didn’t win the pageant I won’t be disappointed because this is my first time. I will be a bit sad, just like every other person would feel. But I will definitely get over it. Life doesn’t end there. And the things I said I want to use this platform for, I can always do them. I can even partner with the queen if I didn’t win. So not winning wouldn’t have changed anything about me. I can feel sad because of the time I have invested in the competition. But not winning is not going to make me bitter or extremely sad or disappointed in myself. No matter what, I know that I have tried my best and I am proud of myself either I win or not.
Now that Doja has gotten a bigger platform to promote culture and traditions, should we look forward to seeing you at a contest like Miss Nigeria?
Well, I can’t categorically say that anything can happen. But to be honest, I am very grateful to the organisers for giving me the chance, it is a great privilege and honour for me. I will forever be grateful for this opportunity. Right from the audition stage to the camping stage and making it to the final and then winning the crown, it was really an amazing moment for me. Because for my own kind of personality, I am a very reserved person. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have done something like this but when I told my sister, Arewa Folashade Adeyemi that I wanted to put in for the contest, she encouraged me to go for it. Today, I am so proud of myself and I know she is also proud of me for how far I have come.
So the crown was duly merited against the belief in some quarters that you probably was chosen because you are Alaafin’s daughter?
The thing is that people always got something to say, that is the truth. If you are going to listen to what people would say, you will never get anything done in life. Being a princess doesn’t stop me from chasing my dreams. My father is my father, he is a king and he is living his own life and his legacy and he is preparing us for the future. So you have to go out there and make a name for yourself. If you want something, that is what my father would say, you have to go out there. Let’s say for instance I am a princess, everybody knows you are a princess so? If I didn’t come for Miss Oyo contest are they going to hand me the car? If I didn’t try my hand in the Miss Oyo contest are they going to crown me?
You have to go out there and work for what you want. So, it has nothing to do with me being a princess. Even when I was in school I graduated top of my class, some people said I was this and that. The question is, when I was reading was my father there? I don’t know what the judges saw. Those judges didn’t know me, non of the other contestants even knew I was a princess. So, people that said I won because I am Alaafin’s daughter, I don’t know why they are saying that. I know people will always try to discredit your achievement.
Who is Doja Adeyemi, tell us what people don’t know about you?
I am a 24-year-old girl from Oyo town. I was born and raised in Oyo. I attended Osun State University and I graduated with a degree in History and International Studies. I am currently studying at the University of Lagos with, master’s degree. I am studying Africa and Diaspora Studies. I am also a humanitarian and CEO of DojAfrica. I like academics, so don’t be surprised to see me furthering my education even after my master’s degree.