How Cherdah Republic Ltd is fighting body shaming among Nigerian fat ladies through pageantry

By Victor Akuma

Body shaming — the practice of bullying people because of their physical shape or size which can result in severe emotional trauma or even suicide — is a serious issue in the society, particularly among youths.

But organisations like Cherdah Republic Limited are taking up the gauntlet to fight the practice in Africa’s most populated nation through pageantry.

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In this interview with CRISPNG, Obasi Uchechukwu, the project manager of Cherdah Republic Limited, narrates how it all started, the company’s drive to impact the society among other issues.

Tell us about yourself?

My name is Obasi Uchechukwu Godian, a psychology graduate of the University of Nigeria Nsukka.  An avid entrepreneur and the project Manager, Cherdah Republic Limited, Trademark owners of the Miss Bold and Beautiful Nigeria Plus Size Pageant. Unarguably the biggest plus size pageant in Nigeria presently.

Body-shaming among ladies has been a topical issue in the contemporary times, and having an organisation like yours fighting against it especially among ‘fat ladies’ through pageantry is something commendable.  What sparked this idea in you?

What sparked the idea is contained in the question, we believe very much that every human was created beautifully by God. The same way we are fighting against racism globally because white people are as beautiful and equally gifted as black people is the same way the Miss Bold and Beautiful Nigeria Pageant was created to show the world that thick women, are equally talented and gifted in every sphere of life as slim women. The pageant is for ladies size 12 above. So it can accommodate not just very fat women, but young ladies that are on the lower rungs of the plus size category.

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We learnt you’ve had two editions of the pageantry before, with the third expected to come this year. How has it been so far?

The first edition, the “Kick out Body Shaming edition” had 28 finalists, wasn’t an easy thing at all given the fact that many brands refused to work with us given the fact they are not used to seeing stuff like this before, but we pulled it off on our own. The second edition “the NAIJA IS THICK edition” had a few brands key in, seeing promise in what we do and accepting to key into the vision. The second edition was held in Asaba, Delta State with 20 finalists and about 700 persons in attendance. It was equally successful by God’s grace. The first had Miss Eneokwe Calista as the Winner while the second had  Miss Odinaka Chioma Sandra as the winner. We are still making heavy plans with regards to the 2020 “UNAPOLOGETHICK” edition. Baring the pandemic, form sales would have officially opened, but we hope on God things clear up sooner.

Nigeria is actually in a very sorry state, but I believe we all can continue to contribute our tiny best to make things better. Our efforts might be very small but the more we individually become better persons and contribute our individual best to the polity, gradually things will be fine.

To what end do you think such events have tackled body-shaming among youths?

We always make it a point of duty to get Testimonials, video and Text from our ex finalists and the feedback we’ve been getting have Been massive, profits aside, we derive joy in the fact that the major aim with which we founded the Pageant is been actualised. They always leave the pageant with a much higher self confidence in their body than they came with, and that’s something we pride in.

What are some of the challenges you have encountered in organizing the pageantry shows?

Every startup in a country like ours always battle with one thing, Funding. And ours haven’t been any different, especially given the fact big brands are not used to partnering with events of the nature we came with but we believe with time, Things will fall in place.

As a youth who has found his passion and is happy about it, what advice do you have for other youths out there who are yet to find what they are good at?

Experiment, keep experimenting and failing!! Till you find that particular thing you have to try and even if you fail at the first try, you still have joy in going again. That’s your niche there, give it more focus and attention, you will see better results.

Let’s look at youths and the Nigerian situation, what can you say about calls for youths to fix the country?

Nigeria is actually in a very sorry state, but I believe we all can continue to contribute our tiny best to make things better. Our efforts might be very small but the more we individually become better persons and contribute our individual best to the polity, gradually things will be fine.

Thank you very much.

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