Steve Harvey, a TV host in the United States spoke with the model representing Nigeria at the 70th Miss Universe beauty pageant in the southern Red Sea city of Eilat in Isreal.
Miss Maristella Okpala ( Miss Nigeria) wore her national costume on stage on December 13, 2021.
Nigeria’s representative, Miss Maristella Okpala won the award for Best National Costume at the Miss Universe pageant 2021.
After Miss Nigeria strutted the costume that was influenced by “Mmanwa” a masquerade from the southeastern part of Nigeria, the award was declared.
The female masquerade costume, Mmanwa is purposely curated for ceremonial and festive reasons to honor the versatility of the Nigerian cultural heritage and also pay close attention to the power possessed by women.
According to Miss Nigeria, she chose the costume because she could see herself in the Mmanwa masquerade, which protects women and children from abuse.
“This costume pays attention to the strong will of women in attaining whatever height they want to attain, no matter the challenges faced while reaching their desired goals.
“My costume is a representation of hard work, perseverance resilience, and consistency and it embodies one of the major aspects of my @missuniverse preparation,” an ecstatic Maristella wrote in a post on Instagram.
She also made it known that the costume designer was Filipino, Kennedy Jhon Gasper
“I feel so ecstatic and without words to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who made this dream come through. Most especially to my costume designer @kennedy_gasper thank you for giving me exactly what I have envisioned in my head for so long,” 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 across the whole of Africa.
“I went in with an open heart, taking on every stride as they came, need I know that there was a special gift he has kept aside for me.
“I wanted the universe to connect and feel the rich African cultural heritage. I’m also very glad I passed a message through my costume and made a huge impact on the universe stage”.