When this reporter met Queen in a bus going to Oshodi from Mile 2, in Lagos some months ago, passengers were starring at her embarrassingly. As the lady tried to hide her face, more eyes were on her, thus arousing much interest from co-passengers.
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Queen eventually opened up to this reporter, maintaining that she was not using the story to beg for money or as a form of publicity stunt, but only to draw the attention of NGOs to fight for women with such rare disability as hers. Queen believes that she is a normal person with unwanted recognition from the society.
She told Sunday Sun:
“My name is Queen Nonyerem Okafor. I am from Anambra State. We are five children from our parents, three girls and two boys. I inherited the hairs from my mum and it runs in the family. Once you get to 21 to 23 years in our family, you start experiencing hair growth. I am 26 years old now, when I was in secondary school, much hairs were not on my body. It started when I finished my secondary school. I am not granting you this interview as if I need help or money, no! I want to tell my story and what it means to be a hairy woman. All I need is for an NGO to take up my case as a woman with abnormal conditions and also to act in the movie industry.”
She revealed to Sunday Sun that the change on her skin initially made her uncomfortable, but following advice from good people, her confidence was boosted. In her words:
“The first time it started to grow on my body, I was ashamed, but someone advised me that I shouldn’t bother, that it is a blessing not a curse. The person told me that I am unique, besides, wherever I go, I would be recognised. She advised me that I shouldn’t be ashamed, rather that I should be proud of myself. It was her that gave me strength and boosted my self esteem. Some people think that I am a man. Some think I fixed my breast to deceive people. Men especially find it difficult to believe that I am a woman. It was when we interact that most men are reassured that I am a woman. It has made me to be very popular and recognised in public. It has boosted my confidence to socialize. People want to identify with me to know the stuff I am made of. Some want to find out where this girl is coming from. People call and dash me money because of my hairy nature, but I don’t beg for money.”
Queen said she tried to stop the work of nature by applying all sorts of cosmetics and native substances, all to no avail but it turned out to cause more harm than good.
“Before the advice came, I was asking God why all these now? I was thinking of what to rub to clear the hair from my skin. I rubbed tortoise faeces and a lot of things people recommend for me to use, but it didn’t remove them, rather it caused more harm than good as I started growing bumps and sores while the hair was still coming out. So, I stopped rubbing those things. I suffered those lumps trying to stop the growth,” she narrated.
She revealed that her worst time comes when the weather is too hot and during the dry season.
“When there is much heat, I feel terrible, it doesn’t itch but it really inconveniences me most times. That`s why I have to wear or put on light cloths because sweat soaks my dress when I go out. Once you see me, you know that heat is dealing with me as a result of my hairy skin. I used to shave it off but if I want to shave all, it will cause me lumps all over my body. She said she had not taken the medical option seriously. “I have not gone to hospital. I don’t care anymore because it is from within my blood and it is hereditary. I don’t need it because I can`t be using my money on something that refuses to free me. A doctor had advised that surgery can remove it, but not in Nigeria. Maybe outside the country, but I am not interested.”
Queen revealed that her hair has not changed anything in her love life, neither does it stop men from admiring her, rather it has turned many heads to look at her.
“A man that is meant for me will come when the time comes. It is not a problem. I will get married, after all, there are other disabled people that are married despite their condition. When I was 18 or 19 years old, I was supposed to have married, but it was just that the man was a hot tempered person. He was my suitor and we ended it there. He was seeing the hair coming little by little. People are appreciating me and a lot of people are still coming for my hand in marriage.
I have been seeing many men coming to ask me for relationship, even one claimed he is from a European country that he came back to Nigeria to look for a woman to marry. But most men just want a fling, they don’t want serious relationship. I was doubting if he was real or not. I have admirers just like every other girl. Most times, I have admires more than normal girls. But most men are not sincere, my mother would say that love is not by lip service. I have been hearing things like, I want to marry you, but after sleeping with you, the man will end up dumping you for another woman. My boyfriend likes me the way I look and I have not been dumped because I am hairy.
Men don’t break my heart. I don’t trust men easily because I wouldn’t allow myself to have emotional breakdown. I can`t wait for my heart to be broken. In my village, an old woman has advised that she knows that I am not yet married, but I should believe that my own person is coming. She said that when my husband will come, I will find it difficult to believe that the man is my own. She told me that is how her own daughter looks. But now I have come to appreciate how I am created,” she said.
Narrating her most embarrassing moment in high density locations like market places, she disclosed that people crave to see her face.
“I came to Lagos last year to see whether I can stay in Lagos or not. Other times I have been coming and going. But the truth is that I have been enjoying my stay in Lagos now because something good is happening. Anytime I go out, people will notice my presence and look at me. For instance, the first time I went to Ladipo Market, people besieged me, both traders and touts snapping me with their phones and video. You would be shocked how they gathered and caused chaotic situation that day, you would have written it as big news, to the extent that I went to a shopping complex and they started clapping for me, calling me Eze Nwanyi, which means Queen. They were hailing me so much. It was the most embarrassing day of my life. The traders and touts left what they were doing to follow me around and saying all sorts of things, if not for one man that offered to give us a lift, we wouldn’t have escaped those boys. There was a time I went to Alaba International Market with a sister and traders were peeping through the window to see my face and they were saying, ‘she is all hairs oh!’ Someone has stepped down from a bus because of me, a lady. Both of us were entering a bus at Mile 2 and immediately she glanced at me she changed her mind and immediately alighted from the bus despite that the bus conductor was urging her to enter, that was the only time someone refused to ride in the same bus with me.
Queen whose dream is to become an actress, said she was forced to resign because of sexual harassment from her employer.
“If I have the opportunity of becoming an actress, I can do that but it is to get the right person to help me. I need somebody to help me because I am perfect in everything I do. I need someone to put me through but people tell me that for some producers or directors, all they are after is to sleep with you. I have not encountered that yet, but people have been telling me to be careful. People get easily attracted to me.
The dark complexioned Queen shocked the reporter with her revelation on how homosexuals plead to take her to bed. She also explained why she pierced her nose.
“Why I pieced my nose was because it is fashionable, though I know I look weird already, I don’t give a hoot. It is my body, I accept the fact that I am strange. A woman has toasted me at Elegushi Beach while I was there with my friends. On that day, she called me and gave me her complimentary card and begged me to hop into her car, but I refused. She insisted and begged to be my friend, but my mind told me that she is a lesbian and she was inviting me to Ajah. I turned her offer down because I know that most lesbians are into cultism. Some women will see me and extol my qualities, saying that they see women with hairs but that my own is the highest. In fact, one said I am the queen of hairy women. I met a guy at a supermarket and he was obsessed about me, before you knew it, he started telling me that he liked me, that I am beautiful and all that. Normal toasting, I thought he was like every other man as usual, but after the toasting, he went straight to the point, to tell me that he would like to have sex with me through my anus, promising to give me half a million naira.
But I rejected it immediately, God forbid! I can`t tamper with my anus. I stopped seeing him and refused to pick his calls. I can`t do that. Another man begged me to bear him a child that will look like me, also promising to reward me handsomely. When I am praying, I plea with God to help me overcome them. Nobody can rape me because I am fearful, but men see me and get sexually aroused because I look special because of the hairy skin, but I have not been embarrassed or raped. Being hairy gives me protection as people see me and get afraid of me. Those guys who attack people see me and hail me. They will not like to do anything bad to me.