Dera Offokaja is an undergraduate student at Idaho State University majoring in Music. She is an International Student from Nigeria and was nominated as 2017's Miss Africa Idaho. Learn more about her in this interview!
CEWT: First off, explain a little about yourself. Where you’re from, what brought you to Idaho, etc.
Dera: My name is Dera Offokaja, I am currently a junior here at ISU, pursuing a BA in Music, majoring in Voice. I came all the way from Nigeria to pursue this goal.
CEWT: What are some of your interests, hobbies, things you like to do in your free time?
Dera: I love painting, music, hanging out with friends and loved ones, or just relaxing to a good' ol episode of Friends... you know, the simple stuff.
CEWT: When you first moved to the United States, what surprised you the most?
Dera: For me, it was how casual people can be with individuals that are older. Back home, it's not part of our culture to call older people by their first names and all. You always had to say sir or ma, or Mr. or Mrs. So-and-so. It took me quite a while to adjust to that
CEWT: Are there any ways that life in Nigeria and life in Idaho are similar or different?
Dera: People like their food. Back home, people are about the food. It's nice being in a place with a healthy respect for food. Although the cuisines are different.
CEWT: What is Miss Africa Idaho’s mission?
Dera: Miss Africa Idaho is a platform to bring about more cultural and educational empowerment and enlightenment for both the African and American community here in Idaho.
CEWT: What does being Miss Africa Idaho mean for you?
Dera: My role as Miss Africa Idaho 2017 was a personal accomplishment for me. I always like to push myself past my comfort zone and that was what it did for me. I had to stand up and believe in myself and work towards it. I believe whether or not I won, it would still have been such an enlightening experience for me. It made me get out there and get involved in community. Get to know more about my African brothers and sisters as well as the community around me. It was a huge honor to be able to be a face representing the African community at ISU and in Idaho State. Even after my reign, I continue to do that. I am truly grateful.
CEWT: How has being Miss Africa Idaho helped you achieve your goals for the future? Also, what are those goals?
Dera: As Miss Africa Idaho 2017, I have had to get out there, get out of my shell, be a role model, be a source of strength to both myself and others. As I step out into the world to pursue an career in composition and performance, I believe this opportunity has given me tools and insight that transcend to various areas of life and the future... as both a member of society and a performer. Moving on from here, in all I do, I will continue to strive to be the spark that starts the fire that changes the world.