Lola started her pageant career in an early age. She first competed in a modeling pageant at the age of 12. She then won the title ”Teen Model 1989” in her hometown of Turku. After the title she started working as a model in local fashion shows.
After a few years in 1995 she entered her official home city pageant Miss Turku. She was crowned the second runner up at the age of 17.
Soon after that she turned 18 and entered Suomen Neito (The Maiden of Finland), a pageant where in those days the winner represented Finland in Miss World. She was crowned the first runner up.
Suomen Neito was Lola´s first national pageant, and it was a live tv show. After the pageant there were many speculations and stories about Lola´s skin color, and whether it had made a difference in choosing the winner.
It was not Lola´s time yet, but the press was already interested in writing about her different life and childhood. Not winning the title allowed her to participate in the upcoming Miss Finland pageant the following year- something she then started to consider.
In that very same year Lola won a national pageant for one of the pageants owned by Donald Trump: American Dream Calendar Girl Model Challenge. In January 1996 she represented Finland in the Bahamas with dozens of other international candidates.
She was crowned as one of the winners, ”Miss February”, and stayed in the Bahamas to shoot the pageants official calendar.
In February 1996 Lola earned her spot in Miss Finland final and after 2 weeks and numerous headlines and articles Lola was crowned the first half black Miss Finland. She won the title of Miss Finland 1996. and was also the favourite of both press and audience. She won all the titles there was to win. For the first time she felt like she was truly accepted as a Finn – something she had been since birth.
She made history by being the first half black winner in Finnish pageants, and media and the crowd got wild about her. Lola was everywhere. It wasn`t all just positive and a fairytale for her, the racism and the hate were there too.
In May 1996 she competed in Miss Universe in Las Vegas with 78 contestants from all over the world. She won the title of second runner up as Venezuela`s Alicia Machado took the crown. That title changed the people`s attitudes in Finland, and it changed Lola´s life even more then the title of Miss Finland had.
Miss Finland was to represent Finland in the Miss Scandinavia in the following autumn. She competed with 9 other contestants, and was crowned Miss Scandinavia 1997.
Lola has secured her name in the history books on several occasions. She started and finished her unique pageant career with wins, and is still very often seen in different articles because of her journey and achievements. She is still big name in the pageant world.