CHASING CROWNS: THE PAGEANT DIARIES—ORIENTATION ORDEAL

Mayen

15/8/15

I can’t even begin to describe this day, Diary. One of the worst I’ve ever experienced. The day started so well too, and everything seemed to go my way, and suddenly the organisers deliver this huge blow. First day of orientation camp, and I’m beginning to wonder if I should carry on with a typical pageant smile, or go home. 36 girls, and this happens to me?

Mum and Dad wished me good luck before driving back home. I’m grateful for their loving support. I told them I can make my own way here at Casa Grande’s Ikoyi branch where the contestants are lodging for the orientation, but they insisted on escorting me. I’m lucky to have parents like them though. Of course Dad would prefer if I paid sole attention to my studies at university, but he still encouraged me when I competed for the campus crown. My siblings swear they’ll kill me if I return home without the Naija Girl title. As if they have the nerve! I’m going to do my best, but with thirty-five other girls in the running this could be anyone’s game.

May the best girl win.

Suzi and I ran into each other’s arms, excited to see each other after a month’s preparation. She’s glowing positively and looks terrific. Something to do with her shorter hairdo? Mary and I waved at each other when we spotted each other, and I chatted with Arit who shared more rib-cracking jokes with us. The snooty royal family girl who only smiled on demand sat in a corner reading a magazine, showing no interest in mingling. God know what sort of titleholder she’ll make if indeed she gets that far. I don’t really care who wins to be honest. As long as it’s not that queue-jumping rich snob. I sat in a corner of the lobby with Suzi, Mary, and Arit, chatting away and laughing. Arit mention Annie, the girl from screening who failed to reach the top 36, and we all agreed she was robbed, not expecting an uninvited intruder to butt in on our conversation with an unwanted opinion.

Sapphire insulted Annie. Yes, Annie lived in a common part of Lagos. Yes, her father had been retired early. Yes, she attended catering college instead of university. Yes, that navy blue dotted bikini was second-hand. Did that make her a bad person? No. Sapphire is nothing but a spoilt rude brat who pays her way through everything without a thought for others. Diamond World must have received a seven-figure check from Mrs. Adeyemi-Smith if they could allow a 24-year-old cellulite bitch to reach the final 36.

My friends agreed with me. Suzi gave her a real tongue-lashing, telling her she had no right to talk about other people that way. Sapphire just laughed and told Suzi she had no right to talk to her that way. Arit and Mary backed our petite pal, but I couldn’t let this horrible snob get away with her rudeness. I got right in Sapphire’s face and told her she’d wasted Annie’s spot in the contest because the latter had more potential. Sapphire fought back, screaming at the top of her lungs I didn’t deserve my place in the final 36 because I’m mixed, not Nigerian, and told me to go back to where I came from.

Oh no she didn’t.

Naija Girl just turned into America’s Next Top Model complete with the all-important bitch fights…

A pageant official wedged himself between Sapphire and myself, and Royal Family Girl pulled my enemy away from the scene. This wasn’t how I’d picture my first day at orientation camp, but that behaviour had disgusted me, and I hate snobs. I was still fuming when the Diamond World Organisation president Gertrude Kalu made her entrance. A former Naija Girl winner herself, he carried herself with poise and elegance, balancing herself remarkably well for someone wearing six-inch heels. She waved at the girls when we greeted her, and her only reply was a small nod. Couldn’t she smile? Maybe she’s related to the royal family girl who learned from her. Maybe the president is a massive botox fan? She still manage to mould her facial muscles into a grin when Sapphire waved at her though.

I was right all along, Diary. Favouritism ruled Naija Girl.

Mrs. Kalu welcomed us to the venue and briefed us on the pageant’s history and the achievements of past winners. Someone had informed her of the commotion between Sapphire and myself earlier, and Mrs. Kalu reprimanded the two of us, although I seemed to receive the most disapproval. Come on, I didn’t start the whole thing.

I just want to forget the whole incident, move on, and concentrate on the pageant. Easier said that done since I have no other choice than to put up with Sapphire for nearly two weeks. God help us all. The pageant officials allocated us to our rooms in the hotel, each girl paired with another girl. Thank God Sapphire and I aren’t roomies here. That’s the good news.

The bad news? I’ve been paired with Miss Royal Family. Sapphire only friend here.

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