The reigning Miss Ghana 2010, Stephanie Karikari, has said comments that came after her crowning that she didn’t have the looks to be crowned Miss Ghana made her feel like giving up.

Stephanie, 18, who hails from Atwima Nkakom in the Ashanti region was crowned Miss Ghana 2010 on October 30 at the Accra International Conference Centre after dazzling the judges and audience at the finale. There were sharp and sometimes harsh comments following her crowing as the country’s foremost beauty queen with many saying she was not beautiful enough for the crown.

But the queen, speaking in an interview with Thursday, said “comments that were made made me feel like giving up” and that the comments were unfair. She said the pictures used by the media to tell the story were hers alright but they were not a true reflection of who she really was. “The picture used for the story was my picture but not a nice picture of me,” she lamented.

Nevertheless, Stephanie said she did not think the comments were too harsh enough to bring her down. “I have always been strong…I am now stronger…People have their own perception of people.” Recounting her journey to winning the crown, the outspoken queen said it has always been a childhood dream to be a model not a beauty queen. That, she said, came in along the way. “I have been dreaming of being a model. It was an inborn dream to be a model and as the years went by, the beauty queen aspect came in.”

She revealed that she took a crazy gamble to audition for this year’s pageant, adding that she hardly believed she will end up wining the crown. “I wasn’t aware I could win.” That gamble, she recounted, came after persistent pressures from close relations that she could do it.

Stephanie who is based in Accra said due to busy schedules in school, she decided to be the early bird by auditioning in the Northern zone in Tamale which was the first stop of the auditions. In Tamale, Stephanie was faced with the daunting task of proving her worth, fighting her way through 40 equally good ladies who turned up for the audition.

Although she was scared, the zeal in her pushed her to be among the five selected finalists from that audition.

The road leading to the finale was a different story on its own but the now beauty queen revealed that she, together with another contestant, Debbie Owusu Bonsu, who ended up as the first runner up, nearly missed out on the final rehearsal on the morning of the finale as they were left behind at their hotel.

Things got emotional when she shed tears on the night before the finale, giving her the constant urge to pull out of the contest. “I cried before the show…I didn’t expect to win the crown…I nearly gave up at the last minute because I thought I will not win.”

She said after they, the finalists, answered their final questions and were at the backstage, she got shocked when she was told she was the winner of the coveted pageant. Stephanie owned her success at the end to her diversity and the fact that she gave her all at the finale.

Born in Accra some 18 years ago, Stephanie was taken to Botswana some months after birth. She lived in Botswana for 14 years, returning to Ghana in 2006. For now, the beauty queen said she is enjoying the stardom the crown holds but added she will be a queen with a difference as she prepares to embark on her Maternal Health and Sanitation project.

She revealed she took up that project after she experienced the challenges nursing mothers and nurses were going through at the Tarkwa Government Hospital. Stephanie said she hopes, together with Ministry of Health, to fight for better working conditions for nurses and also to help educate expectant and nursing mothers on child birth and care. She also hopes to help them improve on their well being.