Gina Onyejiaka: Lady who was refused Miss World sponsorship for being ‘too ugly’

  • Beauty pageant queen, Gina Onyejiaka, popped on the radar of many Nigerians after she was celebrated on IWD
  • Onyejiaka was remembered for her audacity and courage in sponsoring herself to the 1963 Miss World Pageant in London after she was turned down by Nigerian beauty judges
  • A video of Onyekiaka at the pageant show surfaced on social media with many young Nigerians hailing her

The 2023 International Women’s Day (IWD) went down on Wednesday, March 8, and it saw the celebration of Nigerian women all over the world, both alive and of the great beyond.

Among those that popped up on the radar of Nigerians is beauty pageant queen, Gina Onyejiaka, and her story inspired many young ones.

Meet Nigerian beauty pageant queen Gina Onyejiaka.
Photo: @nostalgicsound_ng
Source: Instagram

Onjejiaka represented Nigeria in the 1963 Miss World Pageant that took place in London, and it was indeed an experience that tested her even though she came out victorious in her own way.

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According to a recent feature by, Nostalgicsound_ng, Onyejiaka made history as the first Nigerian woman to fly the country’s flag at an international pageant.

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However, the feat wasn’t without its challenge as she had to sponsor her trip down to London all by herself.

Onyejiaka was said to have been turned down by beauty judges in Nigeria for being ‘too ugly’, causing her to self-fund the trip since the judges refused to send a delegate.

According to a report by journalist, Julio Rodríguez, there was a contest in Nigeria where eight finalists emerged, with Onyejiaka coming up as the first runner-up.

The contest would have seen the emergence of one of the ladies as the ‘Most Beautiful’, who would then proceed to represent the country in the international pageantry show.

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However, Rodríguez reported that one Martha Bassey (16) emerged as ‘Miss World Nigeria 1963’ but was eventually disqualified for not having the required minimum age that was 17 years, hence leaving an opportunity for Onyejiaka.

Since Onyejiaka’s emergence didn’t augur well with judges, she was left to cater for the trip down to London while officials were still in the process of finding a prettier lady to represent the country.

Check out a video of Onyejiaka at the Miss World pageant below:

Nigerians react to Onyejiaka’s story

realellenekanem said:

“She’s from my hometown. She later became a presenter on NTA Aba, and an Imo State government aide.”

harikeh_horlah said:

“If this beautiful woman is called ugly back then, I wonder what beautiful meant to the officials then.”

keena._a said:

“And she’s soo pretty.”

teinyeboyle said:

“One thing is sure, in that era… any lady bold enough to go for a beauty contest is either a REBEL ‘big girl’ or was from an affluent family. The era we had queens with Pedigree.”

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solum_x said:

“This woman is stunning. Ugly where? Look at her body and her smile. Na wa.”

shadesofoma said:

“Look at that million-dollar smile! “You don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart…” (Scars To Your Beautiful – Alessia)”

Visually-impaired lady wins Miss Port-Harcourt beauty pageant

Meanwhile, reported that a visually impaired lady defeated 18 other contestants to win the 2022 Miss Port Harcourt City Beauty Pageant.

Favour Rufus is completely blind in one eye and partially blind in the other and needs constant treatment so as to see.

Her victory shocked many people as she became a reference point used by many to draw courage in adversity.


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