How I earned the title “Chief Driver” – 2015 Miss Ghana shares her story
Antoinette Delali Kemavor, Miss Ghana 2015 winner
Today I will share with you my Miss Ghana experience. On the 7th of November 2015 I won the Miss Ghana Beauty Pageant. During my year, myself and my runners up each had cars. I was given my car 2 days after the event. I was also given a driver, my first runner up had also received her car however my 2nd runner up (Rebecca) hadn’t received her car yet so she will either ride with me or the 1st runner up (Afua). I didn’t win a cash price even though it was advertised that a cash price will be present. I also did not receive a monthly salary. When I asked Inna, she told me that usually when a sponsor gives money as a cash price, it was to be divided and shared as monthly allowance, so since there wasn’t any cash price in my year, it automatically means no monthly allowance. She went on to say, that was the reason she was encouraging us to get more sponsorship in form of cash so we could benefit from the 10% she will give to us. So just to make this clear we had no prize money, and no monthly allowance.
After a while I started to drive myself everywhere I was required to go. I was not aware of what happened with the driver but to my knowledge, he one day just stopped working with us. I will usually drive Rebecca on her sponsorship rounds and also go on my sponsorship rounds. Rebecca and I will always pay for my fuel. Inna gave each of us a task to visit 10 companies individually each day, making 50 companies by the end of the week. This was getting unbearable eventually for us both, driving from company to company and fueling the vehicle ourselves. It was about time we mentioned it to Inna, and so we did. Her reply to us was she didn’t have money either, and she was also going on rounds so the best thing we could do or ourselves was to get a fuel company sponsor. We tried, but it seemed our proposal didn’t carry enough weight.
During that time Rebecca had started going for driving lessons and shortly after got her license. Even then, Inna requested she gets a driver with 10 years’ experience and other requirements I cannot remember. Each time Rebecca brought someone Inna will not approve so I was tasked to prove she was good enough to drive in order for us to be free to go about our 10 companies each day. So I will let Rebecca drive my car so Inna would see that she was ready and capable. After 5 months Rebecca’s car was given to her.
Each time we had an event to attend, we will have to use our own money to sort out or clothes, shoes, make-up, hair etc. How we were able to look “Queenly” for events was not of any Concern to Inna. She was more concerned about appearance. Always saying one day we will make it but that day never came.
We were all supposed to attend international competitions after winning Miss Ghana. Mine was Miss World, Afua Miss Naiades, and Rebecca Miss Africa. At about the time Afua had gone to Benin for her Pageant I was still preparing for Miss World. I however had to pause my preparation to attend the event. The night before the travel I was informed by Inna that the driver will not be able to make it and so I was tasked to drive from Ghana to Benin. I drove Inna to Benin and back. This was when I was given the name “Chief Driver”.
Now the struggle to Miss World finally hit me. As part of the Miss World requirements, I was asked to shoot a 2minute introductory video of myself and my country and a 5-minute video of my Beauty with a Purpose project. I contacted a videographer friend I met through the Miss Ghana competition. I pleaded with him to help me shoot the video as at that point I was hitting the broke level mark. He was a bit skeptical about shooting the video because, in 2015 after working with Inna he had still not been paid for his work and we were already in 2016. I spoke to Inna and she promised him she would pay after the video was shot and edited. Now, the video is ready but I still hadn’t received it because they still hadn’t been paid. It took a lot of back n forth till finally, he released to videos to me to be submitted.
Then the issue of the Miss World registration fee. I was supposed to pay 10,000usd as registration fee. Yes, this was in my contract, a contract signed without any legal representative. A contract that was given to us immediately after being chosen as top 20 in the competition. A contract given to us as about 11pm when all contestants where tired and elated to have been selected as final 20. I admit, this was a very strategic and thought out plan.
Anyways, I contacted a few African queens and I learned that the fee they were paying was 5,000 usd. So I was very confused when I heard this. I told Inna and she angrily said, those countries can’t be compared to Ghana because we had placed 2nd the Miss World competition and have been attending miss world long before the rest.
Luckily for me, I was only able to raise 5,000usd, and I told her, I honestly couldn’t raise anymore because men are beginning to try to take advantage and I wasn’t ready for that.
I remember how I’ll always go home crying to my family, that I never imagined it to be this hard, looking for sponsorship, enduring all this stress. I felt within that period I was no longer a 19 year old. I felt like a 25/ 26 year old dealing with these issues. I was devastated and still gathered the courage to represent Ghana on that World stage. Making it to top 20 amongst 118 contestants.
In my search to finding that 10,000usd, Inna spoke to me about a man that could help me out with the money. So the night we were to go see this man for dinner, Inna told me be sweet, and I should be friendly. Now, this is why I say Inna is very tactical and manipulative. She invited my runners up, and the Mr Ghana boys. Now they didn’t know the reason for the dinner, only Inna and I knew. So we went to this man’s house, had dinner, except I didn’t eat.
So it was getting late, this was after 10pm so I was telling him that, it’s getting late I’m sure he is tired so I think we should get going. And he said, but I thought you were going to sleep over. Now the question that keeps running into my head is, if there was no communication between this man and Inna what gave him the courage to tell me that? It’s either he has some guts or it was planned. Inna didn’t admit to it of course but I will always say, when the sun is shining it must as well be day time.
I had to pay for my own gowns to be sewn, get winter clothes, because it was being held during that season. At this point, my pocket had reached rock bottom and I still had more things to pay for.
I bought my own ticket as well. So after this whole struggle to get to Miss orld, when it was finally over, I decide to spend a week in the States with my family. I sent Inna a message informing her of my decision.
She refused to agree, she wanted me back in Ghana as soon as possible. Next thing I know she sends the American immigration after me. I wasn’t there illegally neither had my visa expired so why was she trying in all her capacity to get me back to Ghana? Then she called the United States Ambassador to Ghana reporting me. I still ignored her and came back a week after.
Now I’m in Ghana having a nice meal when I see a news feed about me missing. Stating that I was nowhere to be found after Miss World and organizers have no clue as to my whereabouts.
At this point, I was completely fed up and decided to quit. My term was over anyways and it wasn’t my fault Miss Ghana 2016 wasn’t held.
So I asked for assistance from a lawyer to help me firstly collect my car back since Inna had seized it because I had refused to return when she wanted me to and to help me resign. They asked me in the presence of my lawyer if I wished to continue until a new Queen was crown and of course, I said no. Next thing I know, my first runner up (Afua) has been picked as the new queen.
Now to my surprise, I find out from the Miss World organization that Inna told them that she was unable to pay the required amount, since she just recently took up as the franchise holder and so, Inna was giving a discount. The amount was supposed to be 3,000 or 4,000 usd says the CEO of Miss World.
Now Inna preaches about looking for the best interest of the brand. And she was able to lie to me asking for 10,000usd when it was so much cheaper. I am so disappointed and heartbroken and I will never wish this experience on anyone.