She and a close friend started a singing group known as The Trinity Gospel School Choir, and she even won the ‘Len Claisse’ award for music in 2008 when she was only 16. A Graduate of Media and cultural studies, she is now trying to establish herself in the very competitive media industry in the UK.
Meet Janet Naa Othobia Afia Djan 21, newly crowned Miss Ghana UK. She beat 19 other equally beautiful Ghanain contestants to win the coveted crown and for the next one year, will have to devote time, energy and resources to defend the interests and aspirations of struggling young Ghanaian women in the UK and in Ghana.
She has been speaking to Chi Mbangsi
Q What was the first thought that came to your mind soon after you were voted Miss Ghana UK last Sunday morning?
My life has been a journey. In just 21 years, I have seen the best and the absolute worst that life has to offer. Sunday morning was the first time it all seemed to fall into place. You know when they say ‘my life flashed before my eyes’? I understand that now. My time had come and I was, and still am, extremely grateful to God that it happened.
Q Contestant no 3 suddenly became Miss Ghana Uk 2013 with a crown to boot. What will you say has changed in your life since that coronation?
All of a sudden, you are thrust into the public eye, and everything changes. All the attention, all the love, it’s amazing! For people to come up and actually recognize me in the street, it’s baffling! But the key thing is that all the change has occurred on the outside. I’m still the same Jane who turned up at the Troxy hall for the competition on Saturday afternoon.
Q The organizers said Miss Ghana UK is more than a beauty pageant. You also need to be resourceful, intelligent, know a lot about Ghanaian culture/traditions etc. Will you say you fit that bill?
I can’t say that for myself, I think you would have to ask the organizers/judges if I fit the bill! But I can say that I have always agreed with the sentiment that Miss Ghana UK should be more than a name, more than a pretty face. Many congratulations to the organisers for the way they have structured Miss Ghana UK to cover these bases – I can speak for all the girls; taking part in the competition has made us all stronger and better Ghanaian women.
Q Very briefly, explain what people don’t know about beauty pageants, the training, late nights etc.
It requires dedication. Dedication like you wouldn’t believe. They get a bit hard sometimes. The training, the late nights, the revising, the planning, everything – it’s hard work! But I must say it is fulfilling all the same.
Q. Now, what are you going to do in the next year you will be Miss Ghana UK?
Everything I said in my speech. I didn’t write a speech just to win Miss Ghana UK. At the Grand Finals of Miss Ghana UK, I delivered my manifesto for the year I will reign as Miss Ghana UK. I was serious about being a voice for struggling young women, for becoming a public speaker, for being involved in charity work and empowering young women. I didn’t say all that just to win. I wanted the public and the judges to know what they were getting. Every single word, by the Grace of God, I will achieve.
Q In six sentences, tell us why Ghana matters in Africa
I see Ghana as the lighthouse of Africa. It is a Land rich with gold, we are the jewel in the continent’s crown. A model of a peaceful, humble, yet powerful democracy. We as a country are beginning to come out of the shadows of our neighbours and our troubled past to stand great and strong with the giants. Ghana is an African country that works!
Q Do beauty crowns like the one you are wearing now really matter?
They matter only because people will identify you by them, but they do not define who I am. I could have a crown, and yet be the most spiteful, hateful person on earth – rendering my diamond crown like rusted iron. The beauty of the soul of the wearer shines through the crown.
Q Will Janet be a different person by this time next year when you have to hand over the crown to the next Miss Ghana UK?
I will be different in that I will have grown so much. The experiences which will come my way, dealing with all sorts of people, being constantly in the spotlight, it will mature me. But as I said earlier, Jane will still be Jane. Those who are close to me will attest to that!
Fun facts about Janet
Naughty Habit; I love chocolate
Musical Adventure; I play the drums, guitar and keyboard
Best Moments; I love BBQs and family gatherings
Most Endearing Habit: I am always smiling
Secret Ambition; I wanted to be a superstar when I grew up
Best Food; I love banku and okro stew
Public Interests: I am always helping others
Secret Name; I am also known as Brianna Cullen
Adventure Spirit; I love to try out new things