While speaking in an exclusive interview with The Sun, the 2013 Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN), Anna Banner Ebiere, who shot into the limelight after she emerged winner of Nigeria beauty pageant, opens up on career and the joy of motherhood.
Here are excerpts from the chat;
Let us go back to the young girl who grew up in Port Harcourt. Did you ever believe that you were going to be a beauty queen and go on to date a super star?
Nope, but what do you mean, ‘go on to date a super star?’ Really, is this what this interview is all about, dating a super star? (Laughter). Anyway, growing up in Port Harcourt, I never believed I was going to be a beauty queen, but as a young girl, I always dreamed. You know, a princess will always dream and then it becomes a reality. You can’t imagine what happened after I won! The first few months were like hell. I was like ‘am I really dreaming? Could somebody pinch me so I could wake up from this dream? Is this really happening?’ In fact, it was an amazing feeling and I never knew I was going to be here today.
What challenges do you face on a daily basis, being a queen?
Hmmm… people look up to you a lot and try to mimic what you do. They tell you they want to be like you. They want to snap pictures with you and you are always careful about what you say, what you do, what you wear and all of that. But despite all this, I try to be myself all the time. I always tell people ‘don’t say you want to be like me. I am not sure you will want to be Anna Banner with all her baggages. In fact, I am even looking for someone to dash Anna Banner. So, the baseline is: be yourself, try to look for the best part of you and be that, and try to aim high’. You see, I have flaws, so if you want to be like Anna Banner, you also have to accept my flaws. If you insist you must be like me, explore the brighter side of me and mimic it instead of saying ‘I just want to be like Anna’. Rather say ‘I want to be better than Anna’. For my role models, I always say I want to be like them, but I also want to be better than them, because if I do that they would be happy for me.
Tell us about motherhood.
It has been amazing! It has been an eventful journey. You get to shout a lot and get upset a lot and frustrated, but you get the joy of your life when your daughter hurdles close to you and says ‘mummy, I love you’. That is the most amazing feeling ever!
How do you combine showbiz and motherhood?
Being myself, living my life one day at a time. At school, I try not to pile pressure on myself, because if I do that, I am going to crash. I try not to do too much at once. I do not believe in overworking myself.
Not many women are able to maintain their shapes after childbirth but you look great. How did you pull it off?
Hmmm… do you know how to suck in your tummy, right? (Laughter) Anyway, I have always been super-slim and I think stress also helps you reduce though, it is not a healthy option. But when I am stressed, I lose a lot of weight. I don’t know why my face is a bit chubby, but for my tummy, I tried working out but then I got tired and just stopped. I have a problem with being consistent with routine, so I just dumped the gym.
Is there anything you abstain from?
Nope, I eat everything. I love food a lot. I love to cook and I am sure you know that when you are cooking, you take a lot of it and that gets you fat (laugher).
What project are you working on currently?
My Foundation is about to come on stream. It is called the Anna Banner Empowerment Foundation. It is going to come on stream before the end of September. It will empower young girls who have lost hope. Because they have a child, life has come to an end. Mostly in the rural areas, you see young girls who have potentials and talents, but because they got pregnant early, they lost it all and develop low self-esteem and think they can’t make it anymore. I just want to give them hope and tell them my story, and see how I can help them out, because you see, when you are happy, your child is happy.