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Free yourself, be unique — Sabina Umeh-Akamune

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Free yourself, be unique — Sabina Umeh-Akamune

By Nkarenyi Ukonu

In 1989, she was crowned the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria. To say that she still looks like another beauty pageant contestant, 22 years after, is an understatement.

Sabinah Umeh-Akamune is simply gorgeous! She is 42 years old, got married 12 years ago and now a mother of four. The former beauty queen, whose crown was handed over to then Miss Nike Osinowo, has this to say:

“It is all about God’s grace. I try to always stay cool, relaxed, have a good time and just be myself. It is always a party with me. I have an easy life and I am just myself all the time. I believe children keep you younger as well because when you are around them, you are happy all the time. I drink lots of water and try to go to the gym, although not as often as I should. But truly it is mostly in the mind.

“If you are at peace with yourself, you will look younger but if you are troubled by any little fly that buzzes around you, you will age. I do get upset but now with the benefit of getting older, I know how to control it and channel it into something positive.”

Of course, she talks about beauty pageants and the ‘explosion’ in the showbiz industry.

“It still just promotes the Nigerian woman and I think the quality of queens has improved. Nigerians have to support organisers of pageants because the queens are our ambassadors. If we see beauty pageants as an all-comers affair, the beautiful girls won’t come out and it will become a vicious cycle,” she opines.

Recalling how she emerged, Sabinah says she didn’t think of her looks when she obtained the form.

“With my stint in the show business and having studied theatre arts at the University of Benin, I just wanted a platform to help my career. I wanted to go for the Miss Universe pageant, which I did and not because I thought I was so beautiful. So, signing up for the contest was a virtual progression after being crowned Miss UNIBEN, besides I wanted an international exposure. I always say that the person that wins at any pageant is the most beautiful girl that bothered to show up that night.”

With her reign over and getting married to her long-time boyfriend, Kesse Jabari, Sabina abruptly put an end to her budding singing career and relocated out of the country.

“I got busy making babies, discovering myself and recording my album, which will be due for release in a few weeks,” she enthuses.

“I took my music with me and was still singing, writing songs for a few bands and even for myself. I was doing vocal instructions with Janson studios but I wasn’t performing because I had my babies within a space of six years.”

Growing up, Anambra born Sabina reminisces, was simple and beautiful.

“My parents loved us and allowed us do what we dreamt. My father is a professor and also a playwright and my first taste of the stage was in his production when I was only three years old. My father is made up of funky stuffs and I took after him in everything. They never made demands on me like stopping me from participating in a beauty pageant or studying theatre arts.”

Wondering how she met her fashion designer husband? She reveals that they were together for 26 years (12 of which they are married)

“We were together at the University of Benin and he is cool, charming and easy going. The comfort level around him is high — he lets you be what you want to be. He is nice, accommodating and respects women,” she says of the brain behind Kesse Jabari Fashions.

Quite unlike most celebrity’ marriages, she says theirs is built on tolerance and respect.

“I always advise women to always be with the guy who lets you be yourself. That is the only way you can remain happy. But above all, I believe it is the grace of God and when the chemistry is right, that helps too.”

But she would not erase challenges in certain aspects of her life, especially on the long term absence from the limelight.

“When you have a calling, it keeps calling you. It is like being a caged animal. It isn’t for fame or money, it is simply what I love to do. Now that I am done with babies, whatever I do now must work because there is no pressure anywhere. Not that I am desperate for acceptance, I remain myself.”

Quite stylish as ever, she refuses to be a slave to fashion. “I just wear what I want,” she says.

“I determine what looks good on me. I am comfortable wearing figure-hugging clothes and like to be seen in them. I like being unique in my appearance. Even though my husband is a designer and like my stylist, I still do not believe in the trends.

“The moment anyone is wearing a particular kind of hair, I am not going to wear it just to prove a point. I was told that in Nigeria, you have to wear certain clothes and accessories to belong and I was disappointed. It’s so hot here and I see women walking the streets, sweating in hair extensions. I think we need to free ourselves and be unique with doing our own thing.”

Now back to her singing career. “The world is a global village and what is happening in the world of entertainment, you can’t just be in one place. I am coming back no doubt, but I am also looking at releasing my record in Nigeria. I am still recording but I have some singles which will soon be out, one of which is I like, where I featured Tuface,” she concludes. - Nigerian news, Lifestyle news, naija, Nigeria, West Africa

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Updated 7 Years ago

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