Ex-beauty queen cum pastor, Uju Christian-Echewodo has to her credit, several beauty awards as a model. She represented Nigeria in the Miss Universe pageant for teenagers in Egypt and won. She also won Miss English beauty pageant at Madonna University in 2012/2013. Her other awards include; Best Female Model by the Nigerian Model Award in 2008, MissLagos; Best Smile and Charming Kid. Linda had once been auditioned for Face of Delta Soap.
In this interview with The Sun, the model who later became wife of General Overseer of God’s Firmament Covenant Ministry, Pastor Remigius Christian-Echewodo, and now a model for Christ speaks about her modeling career, future plans, how God arrested her through marriage and other issues.
Could you tell us about yourself?
Well, I am Mrs. Linda Uju Christian-Echewodo, wife of the General Overseer of God’s Firmament Covenant Ministry, Ambisy Christian Echewodo. I was born in Lagos and the fifth child in a family of six and the fourth female child of my parents. I studied English at the Madonna University, Okija, Anambra State. Currently, I am teaching in Nazareth School, FESTAC Town, Lagos, owned by the Catholic Church. At the same time, I assist my husband in his ministry work.
How did you meet your husband?
I would say that our marriage is ordained by God. I met him at the ministry. My mother was invited to my husband’s ministry by one of her friends. And, when she returned, she narrated her encounter with the man of God, telling us that he was so unique, and that the ministry was interdenominational. Thereafter, she said all of us must attend one of the programmes and that we would enjoy it. Really, the first day I attended, I loved it and felt that, it was the right place to be. Before then, I was not living in FESTAC Town, but my family moved there in 2007 and I started attending the ministry in 2009.
You said the ministry is the right place to be, why did you say so?
The system of praising God in the ministry is second to none. Could you believe that it holds seven days vigil at a stretch? Yet no one will feel bored because it is praises all through. Also, I saw the man of God as a genuine person who was doing everything as being led by God. These were what attracted me to the ministry and to my husband too.
How did you react when your husband approached you for marriage?
I would say that we were meant to be together, because when he came to me, I felt the same way he felt towards me. We were both emotionally attached to each other. And, because I was under his ministration and counseling, I had always liked him. Besides, as at then, my focus was how to gain admission into the university. I had different plans for my future, not knowing that God had a different plan for me.
You mean you were not ready for marriage at the time you got married?
Yes, as I said. Marriage was not something I planned for as at that time. But since God wished it to be so, I obliged because when he wants to fulfill what he has planned for you, it will be done in a short time. That was why when my husband arrived, I quickly accepted him, although we already had feelings for each other and both of us were attracted to each other.
Were there challenges you faced at the initial stage of your marriage?
Actually, we did our traditional wedding in 2010 but officially got married in 2011. But, as a man of God loved by many, there were antagonists. Some people felt he should not marry me. In fact, a lot of controversies trailed the announcement of our engagement. But at last, God proved himself during the trial that he had called both of us to be together. God revealed that ours was a marriage ordained by him, and because we are destined for each other, the wedding took place and here we are today five years later.
What were you into while you were seeking university admission?
I was into modeling, and I started that at the age of 12.
How did you get into modeling?
I was in a children’s club in Surulere, Lagos called Charming Kids’ Club The club was able to take me to a particular place of my dream. I did a lot of stuff then such as Miss Golven Academy, Charming Prince and Princess Beauty Pageant. I also participated in Miss Universe, which was for teenagers then. I represented Nigeria in Egypt and won Miss English beauty pageant at Madonna University in 2012/2013. I also won Miss NYSC in 2014 in Lagos, and was also the Commander for Seven Platoon. I won the Best Smiled and Charming Kid and featured in the MTV based Fashion Show at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
In 2008, I won the Best Female Model by the Nigerian Model Award when I was working for a modeling agency called Legendary Gold Ltd. I also auditioned for the Face of Delta Soap, but was not eventually picked.
How did you identify the talent in you?
Well, it was my elder brother Mr. John Paul Isike that saw that talent in me and decided to dig it out. Having looked at my stature; he said I would be a good model, so he trained me. I really planned to go into full modeling as a career before God arrested me through my husband.
How did your parents react to your choice to be a model even as early as age12?
I have the kind of parents that are supportive of their children’s talents and career because they believe that a child should be allowed to explore his or her talent. So, they supported me.
You said God arrested you, how did it happen?
Could you believe that it was when I got N30 million contract to represent Nigeria in New York for a beauty pageant, that we had our traditional wedding? So, I could not go since God had a better plan for me to be a model for Christ. Then, I was into pure fashion modeling, but now, I am a model for Christ and I thank God for my present status.
What do you think that would have happened if you were still into modeling?
I realized that I could have been intoxicated with fame and could have derailed. But now, I have seen that there is no better place than to be in the Lord.
How were you able to cope with your Christian life while modeling?
One thing about modeling is that you must have passion for it. You do not allow money to be your goal. I was just doing what I love to do in my best way without thinking of any other thing. Happiness lies in doing what you love doing, then it was more of a hobby for me. Modeling has its own advantages and disadvantages, but self-discipline plays a crucial role. It has its own distractions that can make someone sway, but one has to be decent. As for me, I love to wear the clothes for designers, walk the runway and the cameras focused on me, I was determined to do it and that was what gave me the fame and recognition I earned.