Eighteen-year-old Shatu Garko made history on Friday when she was crowned the 2021 Miss Nigeria.
Garko made history as the first Hijab-wearing model to win the competition.
Garko hails from Kano State. She was the youngest contestant in this year’s competition and, according to Channel STV, represented the North West region of Nigeria. She was crowned the 44th queen of the competition during the ceremony held at Landmark Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Garko says the honor has been a lifelong dream.
“Winning this competition means a lot to me. I have always wanted to be a Miss Nigeria. I’d like to thank Miss Nigeria and its sponsors. I would also like to thank my mum for supporting and loving me,” she told Punch.
It was a tough competition. Nicole Ikot placed the first runner-up closely, followed by Kasarachi Okoro.
As well as a national beauty queen, the teen is a budding equestrian. She entered the competition to prove that religion and culture are not barriers to following one’s dream.
Garko was awarded the cash prize of N10million, a luxury apartment, a car and ambassadorship.
“This has always been about empowerment. Miss Nigeria platform is beyond the beauty pageant. We are very committed to empowering women, girls and providing opportunities for women to grow,” Miss Nigeria Organisation Manager Chioma Nwigwe told The Guardian. “Miss Nigeria is a full-time job. It’s a nine-five job. That is what a lot of people don’t know. It’s beyond the fun, the glamour and Miss Nigeria is always looking for someone who is committed to doing that.”