Sweet Mama: Congratulations on winning Ghana’s Most Beautiful Canada 2012. Please tell us a bit about yourself
Thank you. My name is Ataa Ama Boatemaa Otchere, I am 24 years of age, a proud mother of one Prince named Ameir (Arabic for Prince) I am also a Licenced Paralegal and 4th Year Legal Studies with a Specialization in Information Law Student at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. I keep to myself and would do almost anything to help a person in need.
Sweet Mama: How did you get involved with the GMB pageant?
I attended the pageant last year and when Vanessa last yearâ€™s winner won, I told myself â€œthat will be me next yearâ€. So when the advertisements were broadcasted, I phoned Constance, the organizer, and renewed my gym membership. This was the best cultural experience I have ever had. I have learnt so much from the other contestants and all those who were involved with the preparation process.
Sweet Mama: As a mother, what was some of the challenges that you faced during the competition? Do you think being a mom was a set back or more of a motivation for you?
First of all, as a mother I want to spend every minute of every day with my son. I take initiatives in his upbringing because I have vowed that regardless of how he turns out in life I want to be proud and supportive of his decisions. In order to reap the good that I am trying to sow; I have to teach him right from wrong and mold him into a gentlemen with great values and attributes to make his journey in life as a black man a little bit easier.
The pageant was very demanding and time consuming but I give thanks to my wonderful mother Agnes Tawiah, my sister Frederica Otchere and good friend Karen Asante for always helping when they could. Parenting takes a whole community. Being a mother has motivated me to do more than I have ever dreamt of because I have to set a trend and make a Legacy.
My parents were hard working and I started my first job at age 13. I hope my son will see my accomplishment and want more for himself. I am highly against abortions and have stood by many friends during emotional times, I advise them all as I would advise my sister hence I proudly have six god children.
I want to demonstrate to woman out there that children are blessings and not curses; there is nothing you canâ€™t do in life and if you have someone who is depending on you, there is nothing that you wonâ€™t do. My biggest setback was my car breaking down on the way to the first GHMBC 2012 appearance.
Sweet Mama: How did you prepare yourself, physically or mentally?
Physically I went to the gym, ate well and drank lots of water (laughing). Mentally, I told myself that I am in it to win it and if God has brought me this far then he wonâ€™t fail me. More importantly, I would ask my son every morning â€œwhoâ€™s Ghanaâ€™s most beautiful?â€ and he would reply â€œmy mommy and me tooâ€.
Sweet Mama: How did your son feel about the pageant? Did he know what was going on? Who was helping you out with his care (babysitting)while you were participating?
My son feeds off of my attitude. He was happy for me because he saw I was happy doing the pageant. At the age of 2 he was my biggest motivator. He would come to practice with me and sit and watch. He would sing the tunes we danced to and since the day I won, he follows me around my apartment with the sash and trophy saying â€œmommy is the winner!â€ My son always knows whatâ€™s going on because I speak to him intelligently and he responds intelligently. My family and friends helped me tremendously with his care.
He attends daycare during the day and the daycare was so supportive. The daycare attendants would understand when I came late to pick him up after my classes, yes throughout the pageant and even at this present day I still maintain my status as a full time student achieving Aâ€™s and Bâ€™s. The daycare had the children make me a congratulations card, how cute huh?.
Sweet Mama: What qualities do you think won you the Crown?
My ability to speak truthfully, my strive and dedication to accomplish great things. My determination to give my best and my sense of maturity are some of the qualities that I believe helped me win.
Sweet Mama: I saw a picture with your little man on stage with you when you won. How did that moment feel like?
I felt like I did what I was set out to do and I did it for him. When on stage, I seen him fussing and I said to myself â€œI couldnâ€™t have brought him all this way and taken so much time away from us not to succeedâ€.
I even blew him a kiss and that made he stopped fussing. So when I won, I just said thank you to God and wanted to hold my son. Nothing else mattered at that moment not the crown, trophies or sash; I just wanted my son to be there with me because heâ€™s been with me through it all.
I lost my father suddenly in 2008, and I feel God sent my son to replenish the hurt in my heart. My little boy is everything to me; my reason, my purpose, my past, my present, my future , my father, my brother, but most of all he is the best part of me; my best friend.
I plan to embark on as many projects as possible to help the vulnerable members of society. I visited the fundraising department in Sick Kids Hospital to initiate an event to raise some money to help the children who are hospitalized. I have also visited the Princess Margaret Hospital and will be starting correspondence soon with the volunteer department.
At Mount Sinai Hospital, I have started conversations with the volunteer department to start by recruiting a group of volunteers to do a fashion show once a week for 4 weeks in November.
My main goal is to start an organization called â€œMore Than A Motherâ€. This organization will be the haven for single mothers trying to do it all. Women will support fellow hardworking women.
The goal is to work towards womenâ€™s empowerment and the beginning of great alliances and support. I also want to start another organization called â€œYoung Motherâ€™s Unitedâ€ an organization that is more targeted to help manage the new pandemic of gun violence in our young men.
This organization will have a support system for children who may be in a way neglected by missing fathers and motherâ€™s working too hard to make ends meet.
Young Motherâ€™s United will help young momâ€™s find time to attend small events and make time with their children so that these children can look forwards to spending time with their motherâ€™s rather than in gangs.
The organization will create workshops to build life skills and teach youth great communication tools to help children express themselves in a respectful manner.
In Ghana, my main focus will be to help orphans because I feel that regardless of the reason a child has been neglected by their parent it doesnâ€™t mean that the community too must forget them. Orphans are angels, sent on this earth to take the selfishness out of us and make us selfless and fill us with love.
The advice that I will give young girls in general is that education is power! With education you can find yourself amongst the most successful and respectful people. With education the values you place on vanity are diminished and worthwhile joys are attainable.
Being a parent is a full time obligation, so donâ€™t plan to bring a child into this world prematurely if you are not ready mentally, emotionally, physically, financially and in a good healthy and supportive relationship with a spouse and a strong family dynamic as your foundation.
Remember if you are to be the next Messiahâ€™s mother you will be, whether itâ€™s today or in 10 years; there is no rush. Prepare yourself for the responsibility prior to engaging in a lifelong agreement.
Donâ€™t get me wrong, children are blessings and God wouldnâ€™t give you more than you can handle. I would never advise anyone to have an abortion. Iâ€™m just advising you to prevent putting yourself in a situation that may test your judgement. Always plan for the worst and prepare for the best!
Sweet Mama: Which people helped you out a lot throughout the ordeal?
My family and friends supported me throughout the process in every way they could, I can never thank them enough. However, I feel my relationship with God is what held me and brought me thus far.
I cannot forget the number of supports that I didnâ€™t even know who encouraged me throughout the process. Ghanaians from all regions, all age group and all types of profession motivated and supported me and I am so grateful for the love.
So many people told me that I couldnâ€™t fail them. So many people believed in me, it was beautiful to feel so needed in a community. Most of the girls in the pageant would tell me that I was their biggest competition, or they wouldnâ€™t mind if it came down to it and I won the crown and some even said to me that if they didnâ€™t win the title, that I should.
Now that I am crowned, I vow to make them proud and not let their support go in vain. To God be the glory!