My chance to become Miss Guyana UK

Cindy Obiji hopes to bring beauty pageant to Tottenham

By Luchia Robinson

Cindy Obiji
Credit: Albert St Clair

Cindy Obiji is getting ready for the competition she’s waited the last eight years for.

This year, Mum of two, Cindy, will betaking part in the Miss Guyana UK Beauty Pageant – something she has previously been unable to do, having missed out because of surpassing the competition’s upper age bracket.

However, as of last year, the age limit was raised to 35, giving Cindy her chance for the crown.

Cindy, who lives in White Hart Lane ward, says that it’s not about the winning, because just having the opportunity to enter the pageant is all she wants.

Miss Guyana UK, which is now in its 26th year, receives support from the
Guyanese High Commission. It aims to promote the Guyanese culture and the heritage of the six different ethnic groups: Amerindian, African, Indian,
Chinese, Portuguese and European.

Cindy would like to bring the contest to Tottenham. She is calling on support from the local community to secure sponsorship, to make The Selby Centre the location for the event, which will take place in June.

To Cindy, there is no better venue than the Selby Centre. It’s the place she sees as her second home, having been made to feel welcome by the staff and community there, after her move to Tottenham in 2018.

Cindy regularly volunteers at Embrace UK Community Support Centre, a charity based at the Selby Centre, which offers advice and guidance to local disadvantaged groups. She also helps out weekly at the centre’s food bank, in addition to volunteering at Community Cook Up, a food initiative based in Northumberland Park, that provides meals to 80-100 people each Thursday.

“Growing up, I didn’t have a lot and it was a struggle,” said Cindy.

“When volunteering at the food bank I can see the struggle some parents face, so it means a lot to me to try and give back and help someone.”

Homelessness is a cause that Cindy is also spreading awareness of by connecting local organisations, and sourcing donations from businesses for events hosted within the community.

Cindy says her community work and entering Miss Guyana UK remind her of her Mum who was murdered when she was 15.

“My Mum was very much involved in the community and helping others, so doing this is representing Guyana, it’s representing my background, it’s representing my culture, it’s representing my family.

“This was a way of showcasing what I’m about and saying thank you. The work that I’m doing volunteering is carrying on my Mum’s legacy, and that’s why I’m very much involved in the Haringey community, doing as much as I can to support and help others like she did.”

Cindy will be showcasing the Indian cultural side of her Indian-African heritage in the contest (in memory of her Mum, who raised her within the Hindu culture), by wearing traditional Indian dress and performing a dance. She will also need to wear swimwear and an evening gown, which will be scored by the judging panel.

Challenges to Cindy’s journey to the pageant have come in the form of getting knock-backs when seeking sponsorship, and the years of emailing the competition organisers to raise the age limit.

Cindy says: “I’m the kind of person who knows that rejection will come, but if you want it, you have to go for it – I say that to a lot of young girls that I meet.

“I’m an example to them that you shouldn’t give up on your dreams. Sometimes people will get things easily, but not everyone does.

“There’s one man in particular who gave me a chance, and he is Mike Harrison, he runs a shipping company. He is my official sponsor for Miss Guyana UK, and he’s been a great support.

“Also, the Selby Centre Boxing Club are sponsoring my fitness. For me, this is community.

“It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worth it so far.”