Miss West Africa 2012 Finalists

The Miss West Africa UK 2012 final took place at the Mermaid Theatre in Blackfriars on Saturday night in front of an audience of fashionistas, West African dignitaries and fans of African beauty.

Guests at Miss West Africa UK 2012

The show was excellently hosted by James Sherwood and Kamilah McCalman, who kept the audience entertained while the stunning competitors changed from dance wear to traditional wear to evening wear.

The hosts of Miss West Africa UK 2012, James Sherwood and Kamilah McCalman

The judges were at the top of their game, firing quick questions at the contestants during the evening wear round and busily scribbling down notes about the poise, and appearance the contestants gave, as well as their answers.

The panel was made up fashion stylist Jason Boateng who has dressed some of my favourite celebrities from Lloyd to the very stylish lead singer of the Noisettes, Shingai Shoniwa. His brand, JB Styling, has styled shoots for publications as diverse as Pride and Elle Magazines.

Second on the panel was former beauty queen Tulla Morgan who has been a big supporter of the pageant and knows first hand how to be a successful model. Thirdly came former Miss West Africa UK Shireen Benjamin who was crowned in 2009 and since then has modelled for Dwight Edwards and Alasia Ballard from America’s Next Top Model.

The final panellist was John Farer who is a noted fashion photographer whose work has been published and exhibited worldwide, and who won the Photographer of the Year award in both 2010 and 2011.

Miss West Africa UK Judges John Farrar, Shireen Benjamin, Tulla Morgan and Jason Boateng

The musical talent was both diverse and extremely entertaining. Acts included Valentine, Loxie and Faye, Stephanie La May and The Drama Boys, all of whom warmed the crowd up before the contestants performed their opening dance.

Entertainers at Miss West Africa UK

Later on in the night we were entertained by the talented Sonnibali who taught us how to Amanda, British-Ghanian Skob and F4 Fashion Victims as well as DJ Fii Fii. And now for the stunning contestants…

Estelle Oyourou

Estelle Oyourou from Ivory Coast at Miss West Africa UK 2012

Age: 20

Representing: Ivory Coast

Occupation: Journalism and Communication student at Middlesex University

Fact: She wants to show Ivorian women can be strong minded and make something of themselves

Talent: Estelle performed a hilarious monologue in the role of a religious ancient Auntie

Adama Bari

Adama Bari from Guinea Bissau at Miss West Africa UK 2012

Age: 18

Representing: Guinea Bissau

Occupation: Travel and Tourism at student

Fact: She firmly believes that education is the the key to helping orphaned children

Talent: Performed a self-written poem entitled “I am an African”

Ramatoluaye Sow

Ramatoluaye Sow from Guinea at Miss West Africa UK 2012

Age: 26

Representing: Guinea

Occupation: Business and Management student

Fact: Volunteers at St. Johns as a first aider

Talent: Performed a poem entitled “I am that woman”

Catherine Ackam

Catherine Ackam of Ghana at Miss West Africa Uk 2012

Age: 20

Representing: Ghana

Occupation: Magazine publishing student at the University of the Arts

Fact: She is excited to get involved in more charity work

Talent: Catherine sang Redemption Song

Olivia Balou

Olivia Balou of Ivory Coast at Miss West Africa UK 2012

Age: 18

Representing: Ivory Coast

Occupation: Finance student

Fact: Works part time on her natural skin and hair care business

Talent: Olivia performed a contemporary dance to Give My Self Away

Felicity Boateng

Felicity Boateng of Ghana at Miss West Africa UK 2012

Age: 22

Representing: Ghana

Occupation: Politics and Economics student and sales and advertising manager at Afropulp magazine

Fact: Wants to challenge the stereotype in pageants  that beauty is more important than intelligence

Talent: Felicity performed a self-written poem entitled The Road to Recovery

Sarah Okereke

Sarah Okereke of Nigeria at Miss West Africa UK 2012

Age: 18

Representing: Nigeria

Occupation: Full-time college student

Fact: Wants to help those less fortunate than her, become a role model and inspire others

Talent: Sarah transformed herself as she performed her monologue acting as Callum from Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman which brought a tear to both her and my eye

Mercy Ukor

Mercy Ukor of Nigeria at Miss West Africa UK 2012

Age: 20

Representing: Nigeria

Occupation: Business and information systems student at the University of Hertfordshire

Fact: Entering Miss West Africa has helped her get closer to her African roots

Talent: Mercy performed a vibrant dance to a song by the Midnight Crew

Tonisha Tagoe

Tonisha Tagoe of Ghana at Miss West Africa UK 2012

Age: 26

Representing: Ghana

Occupation: Teacher, CEO of U Media Films and head of Film at Kids company  – Urban Academy

Fact: She is keen to support education charities in her home country of Ghana

Talent: Tonisha thought outside the box and got the audience on their feet by teaching the audience the Amanda dance performed earlier by Sonnibali

Samretta Greywoode

Samretta Greywoode of Sierra Leone at Miss West Africa UK 2012

Age: 23

Representing: Sierra Leone

Occupation: Youth worker

Fact: She feels there is nothing more fulfilling than helping those less fortunate than herself

Talent: Samretta gave a self written speech entitled My Socialisation

Ndey Oley Taal

Ndey Oley Taal of The Gambia at Miss West Africa UK 2012

Age: 24

Representing: The Gambia

Occupation: Model and fashion designer

Fact: She hopes to give something back to her home country

Talent: Oley did something different from the other contestants and performed a dance while painting onto a canvas

Ifeoluwa Ifonlaja

Ifeoluwa Ifonlaja from Nigeria at Miss West Africa UK 2012

Age: 23

Representing: Nigeria

Occupation: Mental health nursing student at Northampton University and a part time model

Fact: Miss World is her ultimate aim

Talent: Performed a short drama about orphaned children

And the winner is…

Nigerian Mercy Ukor is Miss West Africa 2012

Contestant number 8, Mercy Ukor who will go onto battle contestants world wide for the title of Miss West Africa! Runner up was Tonisha Tagoe, from Ghana and 3rd place went to Olivia Balou from the Ivory Coast with Estelle winning Miss Congeniality 2012!