Maristella Okpala, ex Nigerian beauty queen takes up philanthropy work (Photos)

Maristella Okpala, ex Nigerian beauty queen takes up philanthropy work

Propelled by a favourite childhood obsession with selfies, Maristella Okpala, popularly known as Mariselle is transforming into a fan favourite in the Nigerian modelling industry. And with her rising popularity grows her confidence to fulfil her big dream of becoming an internationally celebrated model. If, perhaps she hasn’t achieved that already.

From the rustic city of Enugu where she grew up, the 29-year-old beautiful model has clarity about what she wants for herself. According to her, her adventurous move into the modeling niche started from a young age, around a time she finished her senior secondary school and got fully involved upon gaining admission into federal school of dental technology and therapy, Enugu state.

“I have always had strong passion for modelling, i had it all in me”, Maristella recalled during a close chat.

“As with every child with a dream, i knew quite honestly that i am built for greater path and was hellbent on discovering and trying to improve on my inherent skillset”.

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A local modelling agency, Anne’s Couture gave Okpala her first opportunity in modelling and she’s gone on to build a luxurious and multi-million-dollar fortune from it.

A collection of Maristella’s pageant records and involvement.Maristella Okpala, ex Nigerian beauty queen takes up philanthropy work

Maristella’s bright career has seen her took part in several pageant competitions, from local to international, enduring challenges while also making significant history and filling her cabinet with litany of colourful awards.

Maristella won her first pageant title “Miss style Nigeria 2012”.

On January 1, 2015, she represented Nigeria at Supermodel International 2014 held in Bangkok, Thailand where she emerged top 10 and won best bikini body title.Maristella Okpala, ex Nigerian beauty queen takes up philanthropy work

In 2017, she won the Miss photogenic award at Nigeria’s biggest pageant competition, Most beautiful girl in Nigeria (MBGN) and was among the top 15 grand finalists.

She auditioned for the Miss Earth Nigeria 2018 and went on to claim the title. She represented Nigeria at the international edition of the pageant held in Manila, Philippines, competing with several delegates from across Nations. She was unplaced in any of the categories.

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Maristella’s quest for the ultimate prize and international recognition pushed her to audition for the 2020 edition of Most beautiful girl in Nigeria, finishing as MBGN Universe and slotting in as Nigeria’s representative at the most prestigious pageant competition, Miss Universe (2021).

Recalling her experience during the preparation for the pageant, Maristella fondly noted: “I feel somewhat nervous though extremely motivated to make the greatest impact for my country. I had several training from coaches in Nigeria and few others across Europe”

Sharing her thought on competing with delegates from pageant rooted countries like Philippine, Thailand and those from top countries in Europe, she said: “Miss Universe is by far the most rated pageant in the world. There’s this sincere happiness and curiosity i had, of course, knowing its a world pageant where lots of known models and experts will all assemble. I had to double my preparation and trust my gut”.

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Maris, though, made the biggest impact as an African and particularly Nigerian in the pageant, winning the award for the National costume, donning the “Mmanwa,” an outfit inspired by the famous traditional masquerade of the southeastern Nigeria tribe.

On her Instagram page, the model shared the inspiration behind the award-winning constume, captioning the post .

“I picked this particular costume because I see a self-reflection of my cause in this Mmanwa who protects children and women against any form of abuse”

“Mmanwa is a female masquerade costume that’s designed for ceremonial and festive purposes to celebrate the rich Nigerian cultural heritage paying closer attention to the strength women possess. The 3ft tribal mask with the colourful ancient back cape With Mmanwa’s Face boldly crested on the mask and cape”.

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