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From Miss Nigeria to professional photographer: The fascinating journey of Pamela Peter-Vigboro Lessi (Monseeka)

Pamela Peter-Vigboro Lessi popularly known by her brand name, Monseeka is a graduate of computer science from the University of Port Harcourt. She is a native of Ogoni in Rivers state, her hobbies are writing, singing, reading and creating visuals.

Hi Pamela, tell me about your childhood dreams. As a child, I always wanted to be a writer, I fell in love with fiction from a pretty young age and always carried that love for storytelling with me hoping to publish books of my own someday. Honestly, (laughing) I don’t know where that dream is at the moment.

What inspired your brand name monseeka? Monseeka is one of the pet names my mum called me growing up and it’s spelt ”Monsica” and it means ”you have seen the mother’s face”, which is a phrase to mean i look like my mum. I’ve always loved the moon and the idea of seeking truth and so the twist ”Monseeka” felt and looked better to me. I actually like the name because where I’m from (Ogoni), it’s not a popular name, i have only heard of one other person with the name. I love that it sounds exotic (laughing).

Tell me about your photography journey. I had toyed with the idea of going into photography during my third year at the university but didn’t have the funds to get a camera and truthfully, I didn’t just pursue the idea. In 2015 I was crowned miss Nigeria and after my one year reign, the question of what to do with my time and life came up.

At this point, I was already in love with conceptual images and had started learning Photoshop so I could create these fine images I saw and loved. I already bought a camera by then and was playing around with it but I realized I needed proper guidance and entry into the field, that was when I made the decision to go in fully. I went for a short course in Los Angeles, then came back to Nigeria to practice a full-time career in Photography in Lagos, Nigeria.

What/who inspires you. A lot of things actually, people who are creative and push themselves against all odds to do great things and succeed, also the idea of growth inspires me. When I look back on how far I’ve come and how much I’ve learned in the process, it inspires me to do more so i can grow my potential more and improve even more as a person.

What are the ups and downs that came with photography? well, photography has been both challenging and exciting. when I first started out, it was a challenge for me to adjust from life in front of the camera [as a model] to one behind it [as a photographer]. There was also the challenge of not feeling good enough with what I was putting out. truth is there are so many photographers in Lagos and the competition is quite high.

I am gradually beginning to crave a niche for myself, i’m much more confident in my skills than when i started out two years ago. the profession has made me grow so much as an individual and the constant practice of finding the beauty in the people, things and places i photograph has broadened my mindset even more. this is one journey i’m excited to see where it takes me.

by Monseeka

Have you had any regrets? i try to learn from my mistakes as opposed to dwelling on them or ”crying over spilt milk”, in that sense, i like to think that i don’t have any regrets.

what advice will you give to the youths? I feel like society puts so much pressure on us as individuals to meet certain expectations, and fit in existing stereotypes. thing is, who is society really? definitely not a tangible thing or human we account to. Which is why it is important for us to realize that we alone hold the permission to decide who and what we want to be and how we choose to experience our truth in this life. What I’m saying is, you have to love yourself enough to realize that you deserve all you desire, you deserve to be happy (however that feels to you) and you should definitely do what makes you feel alive.
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