Growing from what started as a photo contest in 1957, established by the Daily Times newspaper, Nigeria’s oldest and most reputable beauty pageant; Miss Nigeria is not slowing down in its quest to empower women beyond beauty. After canceling the 2020 edition of the beauty pageant due to the global pandemic, the organizer, (Folio Group) is back with the 44th edition of what is now recognized as Nigeria’s oldest and prestigious beauty pageant. In this article, we discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the beauty industry and how the organizers are leveraging technology for its 44th edition.
This year’s edition displays a growing connection between fashion and new technologies hailing the future of application, voting, social media ranking, and even live streaming events. Asides from the Miss Nigeria Pageant, several fashion shows, and beauty pageants heavily relied on the use of technology to organize the 2021 edition of their shows.
An example is the London Fashion Week (LFW), which relied on virtual showrooms, interactive videos, and podcasts in its new digital format to organize the 2021 edition of the fashion week. A show that would have witnessed well over 5,000 international press, buyers and VIPs, moved online where anyone could grab a front seat right from their device in the comfort of their homes. Noting the impact of technology in the beauty and fashion industry, Clara Mercer; spokesperson of the British Fashion Council, during a press briefing for the June edition of the LFW said, “we’re very much looking at this as a reset for not just fashion week but the whole industry and how we do business”.
Technology has stripped away the exclusivity that defines beauty pageants, but it’s interesting to see how the Miss Nigeria organization is taking advantage of the digital revolution. For them, the use of tech has created room for wider participation. Speaking about the ease of participation for the 2021 edition of Miss Nigeria, the organizers noted that this year, they worked very hard to eliminate the barriers to contesting, including the continued suspension of the registration fee and elimination of regional auditions. “While this is partly in response to the global public health crisis, it is also to ensure that contestants from all 36 states within the country are well represented,” said Ezinne Akudo, Creative Director for Miss Nigeria and 2013 queen. “And there is no better way to achieve this than leveraging the benefits that digital technology provides” she added
From the application process in October where more than 1000 applications were received, women within the ages of 18 – 25 were called to apply free at missnigeria.org by filling a form and uploading 2 pictures plus a 60 seconds video.
This virtual application process saw some people applying from outside Nigeria, a process that would have been impossible without the new model. The next stage was an elimination process where over 120 ladies were invited for a physical screening in Lagos, with applicants outside the country being screened virtually.
Right after the elimination stage was the selection of the top 37 contestants and 3 wild cards. The audition videos of the selected contestants were uploaded on the official Miss Nigeria Instagram page and the public was invited to vote for their favorite contestants by engaging their posts. The 37 Semi-finalists and 3 wild cards needed to get as many people as possible to repost, like, and comment on their posted videos. The video with the most engagement got the higher rank and boosted their chances of making it to the Bootcamp and grand finale. “The popular votes accounted for 20% of the total scores that got the contestants to qualify for the final round,” Akudo revealed.
Now, in the final stage with 18 finalists currently in the Miss Nigeria Bootcamp, the organizers have uploaded individual portraits of the contestants on its Instagram page inviting users to once again vote for their preferred contestant. This time, however, the votes will contribute to the total Bootcamp score of each participant. The Bootcamp scores will account for 60% of the overall pageant scores that will decide who becomes the 44th Miss Nigeria.
With statistics from Event Manager showing that 72% of live events fail to profitably pivot to virtual formats, it is commendable to see the Miss Nigeria organization leveraging new technologies amid the disruption and uncertainty that has plagued the last 20 months.
The grand finale of the 44th Miss Nigeria pageant will be held on December 17, 2021, at the Landmark Event Centre Lagos, with the winner walking away with N10 million, a brand new car, 1-year residency in a luxury apartment, and lucrative brand ambassadorship opportunities.