Miss Universe Nigeria – abbreviated as MUN – is an annual national pageant held to select a Miss Universe delegate. 2023 marks a revival of the original contest organized by Silverbird Productions, Nigeria’s Miss Universe franchise holder since 1983. The winner automatically becomes Nigeria’s Miss Universe delegate, while the 1st runner-up is the Miss Supranational representative.
The current titleholder is former MBGN winner Ugochi Ihezue, who represented Imo. MBGN’s rival pageant Miss Nigeria organisers – originally owned the country’s rights to Miss Universe, but ceased to send winners after their only representative Edna Park onstage ruckus at the semi-final. In 1983, following heavy publicity, Omololu Ojehomon won the newly established “Miss Universe Nigeria” competition, but this maiden edition was considered a failure as Ojehomon was ultimately dethroned before she could compete abroad. Fashion model Yemi Fawaz, who placed third, described the contest as “highly controversial” owing to the selection of two contestants as second-place winners, and the judges’ bias against mixed-race delegates. She also criticized Silverbird for ignoring contestants who had competed in the organization’s first-ever pageant. Three years later, Silverbird president Ben Murray-Bruce relaunched the pageant as Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, with Law student Lynda Chuba-Ikpeazu winning the contest and becoming the country’s first Miss Universe representative in 23 years.MBGN soon acquired more franchises including Miss World, Miss International, and later Miss Supranational, with MBGN titleholders automatically becoming representatives. Computer Science and Mathematics student Agbani Darego- who would later win Miss World – became the first Nigerian to place at Miss Universe in 2001.
In 2005, Silverbird created different titles for MBGN runners-up, including MBGN Universe, while MBGN’s overall winner was renamed “MBGN World” and sent to Miss World only. Human Science student Roseline Amusu became the first MBGN Universe, but Nigeria failed to place until 2019 when Health and Human Services student Olutosin Araromi reached the Miss Universe top 20 after an 18-year drought. In 2023, Silverbird revived Miss Universe Nigeria, with Murray-Bruce’s brother, Guy, stating that owing to Miss Universe’s evolving criteria, MUN would take on a new format from MBGN, making them two entirely different entities. Unlike the latter pageant which focused on mostly Westernised beauty standards, MUN is all-inclusive, irrespective of marital status, body type, shade, height, or weight.
Nigeria emerged as the first African country to win the “Best in National Costume” at the 70th Miss Universe pageant which was held at the Universe Dome in Eilat, Israel, on Sunday.
It was no doubt a night of firsts, as Harnaaz Sandhu, became the first winner from India in more than two decades, to be crowned Miss Universe.
Maristela Okpala, Nigeria’s representative at the beauty pageant, donned a creative African heritage costume that has got people talking.
Ms Okpala strutted the runway in a costume, which she said was inspired by a female masquerade from the southeastern part of Nigeria called Mmanwa.
The beauty queen also revealed that the colorful outfit was made from African beads, stones, and crafts. She said, “Before embarking on this journey, I told God I wanted my footprints to be left in the sand of time, to make history not only to Nigerians but one that touches the whole of Africa.” “The thought, the excitement, and the honor of representing My beloved country Nigeria, and coming back with such a prestigious, incredible award can’t be over-emphasized. Nigeria, Africa we made HISTORY.”
Mitchel Ihezue crowned Imo Lady as Miss Universe Nigeria 2023.
A young Nigerian lady, Mitchel Ihezue, who hails from Imo state has been crowned the winner of the Miss Universe Nigeria 2023 pageant. The pageant’s finale took place on Sunday at the convention center of Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island in Lagos.
Miss Imo, Ugochi Ihezue Mitchel Crowned Miss Universe Nigeria 2023.
The eligibility criteria allowed contestants who are single, married, single mothers, or divorced to participate.
This included slender or plus-size contestants between the ages of 18 and 28. A total of 37 contestants from all states and the FCT were selected to compete for the crown.
The top 5 contestants are Miss Imo, Miss Zamfara, Miss Ekiti, Miss Lagos, and Miss Anambra.
Chinaza Miracle (Borno) earned the ‘Miss Amity’, Nana Aisha Abubakar (Nasarawa) claimed ‘Miss Photogenic’ while Precious Marcus Chinah (Taraba) dazzled in the ‘Best Traditional Costume’ category. Ihezue, the 26-year-old visual artist, was presented the crown by Hannah Iribhogbe, the Miss Universe Nigeria 2022. She is also an advocate for women’s rights. She has a master’s degree in business administration from Lagos Business School.
In 2017, she was crowned the ‘Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria’ and represented Nigeria at the ‘Miss World’ beauty pageant in the same year. Ihezue was in the top 40 and also earned the title of ‘Miss World Top Model 2017’ in the global pageant.
She will represent Nigeria at the Miss Universe 2023 in El Salvador on November 18.