Safiya Mahmud aka Yasmin was born and raised in Kano. The 24-year-old who loves travelling, reading and surfing the net is the current Miss Heart Nigeria (International). In this interview with ANTHONY ADA ABRAHAM, she speaks on how she wants to use her crown to help the needy.
Tell us about your background?
I attended Air Force Primary School Kano and from there I went to Kings College Kano. Presently, I am a graduate of Food Science and Technology at Kano State University of Science and Technology. I am from a well-respected family in Kano. My father is from Kano while my mother is from Kaduna. I have five siblings and I am the third child of the family. I am a quick learner, great organiser and I like making new friends.
How does it feel to be the winner of Miss Heart of Nigeria (International)?
Well I don’t think one can really express how it feels; it was like a bolt from the blue. It is like saying you’ve been recognised by the entire community or state which is overwhelming and exciting at the same time.
Were you expecting it?
Nobody knew who the winner was going to be. It came as a big surprise because I never expected it.
What is your definition of beauty?
Beauty they say its skin deep, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To me, we are all attractive in our own ways it just takes the right person to hold the mirror and convince us of what others already see. Real beauty is what we carry with us, our good deeds. To me, beauty also goes hand in hand with decency. The fact is when someone is decent looking it makes him/her look absolutely stunning and beautiful no matter what the odds might be. Beauty also goes with the strength of one’s personality.
What is your essence of being a woman?
A wise beauty queen once said that being a woman is God’s gift that we must all appreciate, I have always been inspired and empowered by strong women who stood up for themselves and others. To be a woman is much more than clothing, jewelry, makeup, and bags, femininity has many different faces and not all of them are pretty but they are all beautiful. There is nothing more rare, or more beautiful than a woman being unapologetically herself: comfortable in her perfect imperfections, the essence of a woman would be to shed light, bring hope, put smiles on people face and give other women the zeal to know that tomorrow will always be different despite the situation many women are found in.
How do you see pageantry in Nigeria and what would be your major focus now that you’ve been crowned queen?
Pageantry in Nigeria has given many young ladies the opportunity to be optimistic; it has instilled self confidence in them. It has also shown that you can achieve more, do more when it comes to setting your goal in life. I live in a community where early marriage is practiced, is rampant and cannot be avoided due to several reasons.Miss Heart of Nigeria has provided a platform for me to focus more on our female folk who have fallen victim to the effects of early marriage as much as keep sensitising and creating awareness about such effects pertaining these young girls.
Who are your targets?
My targets are young internally displaced kids especially teenage girls who have fallen victims to several stages of abuse, orphans included.
Were your parents in support of your ambition?
Yes! Of course they were. My parents and siblings are my biggest supporters. I would not partake if I hadn’t the upper hand of my family first, I had all the love and affection from them before any other person.
Who is your role model?
My mother has always been my inspiration and my mentor as there has been many challenging moments but she made me pass through them with her unending love and support.
Your favourite colour?
My favorite colours are pink and brown.
How do you relax?
What relaxes me the most is when I am reading our holy book but aside from that, I am a big fan of watching movies so that also relaxes me.
The north has a number of almajiri roaming the streets, as a queen, how do you intend to collaborate with organisations or individuals to address this situation?
The issue of almajiri is not an issue that will be left to government alone to tackle because the problem has been relegating the region and the nations image. And I belief that most of the almajiri schools are now integrate with normal schools, as such making it a suitable condition for them. As a queen I intend to keep creating awareness for these young individual that both Islamic and western education can be achieved both at once and are very important for their well-being that would include distributing and supplying of school and writing material. I also tend to organize and assist in skill acquisition training for most of these youngsters who can and are ready to empower themselves.
What would be your advice to youngsters?
My advice to youngsters is to make efficient use of the time and opportunity given to you by setting good examples for others behind you and elsewhere.
How would you describe the Buhari administration as it marks one year in office?
I believe change is not easy and has not been easy. It is difficult to endure most times but this administration has clearly shown that change is possible and achievable in the country. There are countless numbers of achievements that has occurred during his one year in office. He is even recognised and applauded by the international communities. I have watched the direction and pace of developments in our country and it points to the direction that Buhari’s administration consists of visionary and determined minds who will transform our country with innovative and people oriented projects and refined services to improve the well being of Nigerians. This administration has achieved a lot within one year and we are still praying for more changes in this great country of ours.
Considering your muslim background, what informed your joining the pageant?
For me as a Muslim, the best word I could ever hear and I heard it in Miss Heart Of Nigeria contest was the word “DECENCY”. When I first heard about the contest and that it was going to be decent enough I felt safe, secured and then I was given the chance to represent one of the states in Nigeria where decency is highly valued. I felt honoured and I said to myself this is the time to show our community, our youth especially my female sisters that you can look absolutely stunning, beautiful and decent all at once and Miss Heart Of Nigeria helped me in expressing myself.