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One-on-one with Aamito

Aamitosuper model: Africa’s Next Top Model winner Stacie Aamito talked to Gloria Haguma  about her win and what it could mean for the Ugandan modelling industry.

Tell us about Aamito the child. What was life like growing up?
I grew up in Kampala with my mum. And even if we didn’t have much, we survived. I was a normal kid while growing up.

How easily did you get along with the other girls in the competition?
I am a very friendly person, so I associated with every one. Steffie Gabriella Reti (from Kenya) was like my best friend, but she left early.

Are there any lessons you picked, from the whole experience?
Definitely. First and foremost, professionalism is important. If you are to go far in your career as a model, you have to be very professional. Then you also have to have a lot of gratitude in you. It’s a harsh industry, so you will need these two, in order to survive.
I also learnt how to do my make-up. I was a bit tomboy-ish before, but I learnt to do my make-up well. I also learnt the different poses and positions, like the underwater photo shoot, which I had never done before.

What was your first impression of Oluchi?
I found her to be very intimidating.

And why is that?
She’s a super model… duh.

Who, or what did you miss the most while you were away?
I missed my mum, but I occasionally spoke to her on the phone. And the food! Oh, gosh, the food. I love Ugandan food.

Tell us about your high and low moments on the show.
I had no low moment. I am such a positive person that I don’t dwell on the low. I only look at the positives in my life. My highest moment was obviously when I won, hahaha.

There was a time when you cried prior to a photo shoot. Why?
It was winter in Cape Town. It was freezing cold to the bones. And then it was an underwater shoot and I have a phobia for big water bodies. So, I saw my death coming during the shoot, that’s why I cried. But it’s the surprisingly the shoot I enjoyed the most, because once I entered the water, it stopped being cold.  I really enjoyed it and had fun.  It was quiet addictive.  I actually wanted to do it over and over again.  And I felt silly afterward, and I asked myself, “Why did I cry in the first place?”

Had you been watching the America’s Next Top Model, prior to your entry into Africa’s version of the show?
Yah, of course. I did watch a few of the shows. And from these I learnt that professionalism was very important. And also from the photo shoots, I learnt that creativity is key. In modelling, being creative is very important. It’s not the work of the photographer or the stylist to tell you each and everything. So creativity is good for you if you are to come up with great shoots.

So what plans do you have after winning this competition?
What next? I am going to New York, and will keep working hard, and raising the Uganda flag high. For God and my country.

What would you like to say to those people that didn’t believe in you, take for instance that designer from Brazil, that said you were fat and ugly?
One thing is that I have won Africa’s Next Top Model, his comments don’t really matter now. The fashion industry has a lot of criticism, so I have to be ready as a model to sieve all that out. I don’t dwell on it. I move forward. Different people will like you, others won’t. At the end of the day, it’s all about tastes and preferences.

If you hadn’t been a model, what career path would you have taken?
If I hadn’t been a model, I would have been a teacher, hahahaha I am kidding. I think I would have been a PR practitioner.

You have been to South Africa, and New York, and had a feel of both these places, in terms of the modelling and the fashion industry. What would be you comparison of the industry there with Uganda?
What I can say is that is if we as Ugandans are willing to learn, and work hard at it, we will get there. I have hope. I mean there are more designers, stylists, photographers, and make-up artistes in these two places. Their strongest point is the level of professionalism in these places. Here in Uganda, you find a make-up artist that has another job alongside this. But in New York, one will do make-up to put food on their tables. It’s a profession.  Plus models in New York and South Africa are held in high regard and very respected, which is not the case here.

So you don’t think someone can live entirely off modelling here in Uganda?
Not at the moment, at least. Life as a model in Uganda is not quite good. The industry is yet to be stable, and grow, and because of this, it becomes hard for someone to survive on modelling alone. You need another job to supplement your income so that you are  able to put food on your table.

Would you pose nude? Say maybe if Play Boy offered you $100,000?
(Sighs)… It’s not about the money, but we will see when I get there!

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