Hackney teen bags runner up at Mr and Miss Teen Nigeria UK

Taiwo Oloajo. Picture: jodzenayfilm

Taiwo Oloajo. Picture: jodzenayfilm - Credit: Archant

A Hackney teenager overcame self doubt to come runner-up in a nationwide pageant.

Taiwo Oloajo. Picture: jodzenayfilm

Taiwo Oloajo. Picture: jodzenayfilm - Credit: Archant

Taiwo Oloajo, a 17-year-old Homerton resident, won first princess (second place) in the second annual Mr and Miss Teen Nigeria UK pageant.

The competition, which took place on October 17, is a non-profit organisation showcasing Nigerian culture and talents of Nigerian youth.

Taiwo said: “I was happy because throughout the competition I had a lot of self doubt.

READ MORE: Hackney woman vying for Miss Caribbean UK 2020 crown“Even in wanting to apply, there was a lot of self doubt, but when I got second place it kind of confirmed that I was deserving and all those doubts – they were there for no reason.”

She added: “Winning second place showed me that although there are ups and downs in the whole process, I could do a lot more than I realised and I should have more faith in myself.”

Taiwo hopes other young women, in Hackney and beyond, can find the confidence to challenge themselves.

She said: “Just focus on yourself and go at your own pace.

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“Sometimes you can find things really stressful and overwhelming when people are trying to rush you to do something.

“But I think as long as you have your own vision, it doesn’t need to be as good as someone else’s, you don’t need to compare, so focus on yourself and realise what you want to be and actually start to take steps to do that.”

For the talent round, Taiwo performed an original spoken word piece called Blackberries, which examined the lack of attention and care devoted to the deaths of Black women.

She said: “I was tired of seeing it all around me and upset about the fact that no one really cared as much for the deaths of Black women.

“I listed the names of some victims during my piece and I think that really drove home the fact that I was talking about something real and wasn’t just saying a poem for no reason.

“I put a lot of work into it and I really wanted it to have an impact and I feel like it did.

“It was very important to me that I got the message across that it’s time to care about Black women and protect Black women.”

Contestants also competed in a culture round, in which they were asked to research and present a performance on a Nigerian tribe.

Taiwo performed a short piece about the Calabar tribe, wearing traditional clothing and performing a dance.

She said: “I was really scared in this round but I did my best to just bring my all and I’m so grateful to God that I was able to get it done in a way that pleased the audience and the judges.”

In the final category, the evening round, contestants had to display their business or charity idea and explain what they would do if they won.

Winners received £100 to help launch this idea, as part of a prize which included a crystallised crown, a sash and support for a charity trip to an African country.

Taiwo’s proposal was a website, BlackFemmeRock, which would provide a space to educate young Black girls, break down negative stereotypes and give them an opportunity to share their stories and voice their concerns.

Despite missing out on the prize, Taiwo has set up an Instagram page for BlackFemmeRock and hopes to launch a website.

This year’s Mr and Miss Teen Nigeria UK winners were Tobi Oke, 17, and Theresa Enemua, 15, who will be using their years as king and queen to protest police brutality in Nigeria and support victims of rape.

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