The world’s first and longest running international male model contest, Manhunt International held its 21st edition in Philippines recently. At the event, Lam Chris Chidubem became the first Nigerian ever to place top 16. He tells ENIOLA OYEMOLADE how the achievement makes him feel and his experience during the competition.
What would you say influenced your love for pageantries/modelling?
Growing up, I loved fashion a lot and also watched lots of fashion shows on television. In fact, I was the family’s stylist as I was always called upon to select outfits for occasions.
You emerged the first Nigerian to place top 16 out of contestants from over 50 countries in the Manhunt International 2022. What do you think you did differently that set you aside and made you part of the top?
I won’t say there was something exceptional I did because all the boys were amazing, but I’m sure my confidence, hard work, determination and never-give-up spirit placed me in the top 16 spot.
How did this feat make you feel? Did you envisage it?
Yes I envisaged it, because I put in a lot of work, and I believe the reward for hard work as they say is success.
You had won the national manhunt contest in Nigeria last year. Do you think your experience during the 2021 competition helped in the manhunt international?
Of course. I learnt a lot during the national competition which helped me become a better person. The 2021 national competition boosted my confidence and also introduced me to great people who in one way or the other assisted me during the international competition.
What would you say was the most rigorous training you had to do before or during the competition?
I will say the workout session. I am not a fan of the gym, but I had to break all odds and hit the gym to get ready for the Manhunt International.
You mentioned how you would love to put Nigeria on the map in one of your videos online. Even without winning, do you think you were still able to achieve that?
To me, winning is not necessarily being the first position always. Winning is being happy with yourself and attaining a certain height. The world felt the presence of Nigeria at the event and I believe with my performance, and being the first Nigeria to place Top 16 after many years, I achieved my aim of placing our country on the worlds map.
Do you think it is difficult for other Nigerians to reach that global competition stage such as this?
It’s usually not easy for Nigerians especially when it comes to visa, support and others. That is why I count myself lucky and blessed to reach the finals.
For one to be a successful model, what qualities do you think they must possess?
The major quality one who wants to be a model should possess is self confidence. You have to be yourself and be unapologetic about it. Also, you put your mind to it and you work hard, never give up and not listening to the rejection or setback that can happen.
How do you combine being a model and a student together? How easy is it?
It has never been easy. Most times, I miss classes or lose out on some jobs and even get stressed and tired. At some point, I felt like leaving one and focusing on the other, but then, I remembered my goals and all I had to do was to plan.
As regards models getting support from the Nigerian government, do you think it has improved?
It hasn’t improved at all and it is our everyday prayers to get the support of the government because we raise the country’s flag high. This support will assist our representatives and also encourage us to do better. I call on the government to also focus on pageantry as a very good part of entertainment that showcases the country’s heritage.
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Tell us a little bit about your background
I’m from Mbieri in Mbaitoli Local Government Area in Imo State. I’m the third child in a family of four and the only one who loves entertainment. I’m also lucky to have a family that supports me irrespective of their personal thoughts about pageants and entertainment. I’m a model, linguist, on air personality, creative content creator and one who is very passionate about the environment.
Are there are any models you look up to in Nigeria?
Oh yes. I look up to the likes of Victor Ndigwe, Emmanuel Somto and Matthew Olobo.
What advice would you give to upcoming models who also wish to contest in a global competition someday?
To all models who wish to contest in global stage, do not feel less of yourself; you are enough and you are good. So, go forth and be a good representation of our great country Nigeria.