Nigerian- born International Super Model Oluchi Onweagba, this morning stormed The Pepper Publications Limited, the publishers of four successful tabloids in Uganda, in what remains a historic courtesy call on Uganda’s only indigenously owned daily.
Accompanied by the winner of the first ever ‘Africa’s Next Top Model’ Season One, Uganda’s Aamito Stacy Lagum, and a host of their minders, Oluchi made the courtesy call on her way to Uganda’s source of the Nile, in the Eastern Region. Red Pepper is located along the highway to the Eastern town of Jinja where the world’s longest river starts its trek to the Mediterranean sea.
“I am happy to be here. This place is very beautiful,” Oluchi, who had only lasted 24 hours in the country and was slated to travel to New York later in the evening, told this reporter as he ushered her into the paper’s ‘Oval’ office.
Oluchi jetted into Uganda to personally attend a welcome dinner that was hosted for Ugandan Model Aamito at Kampala Serena Hotel on Friday night.
Aamito who won the top prize worth $50,000 early this month, is moving to join Oluchi in New York to start work at DNA Model Management, a modeling agency managed by the Super Model. Oluchi spotted Aamito during the early stages of the reality TV show ‘Africa’s Next Top Model’ which is the African version of ‘America’s Next Top Model’ run by Super Model Tyra Banks.
Oluchi is all praises for Uganda and predicts our very own Aamito has a bright future ahead of her.
“Aamito is beautiful. Her natural beauty is what strikes me. To me she’s a strange human being. She doesn’t have this common artificial look. Her look is unique and different. You have to study her to appreciate it,” said Ouluchi before going philosophical.
“The look of a woman is one thing. But the thing about what that woman is, is another. She (Aamito) comes across as a very confident young woman. She’s smart and represents a true 21st Century beautiful woman.”
Ouluchi adds that our latest Africa’s top model has a lot in store for her and her nation.
“She’s done. She’s been trained as a local model here. The rest will be my support. My moral support as her big sister, to see her work hard for Uganda and the rest of the continent,” she pledges.
Already, a host of modeling agencies are lining up in New York waiting for Aamito to sign them on and make a kill out of her work, although, DNA Model Management will be her main manager.
Although Aamito beat 12 girls from 8 African countries to win the top prize, Ouluchi who managed it on behalf of Tyra Banks is confident it will bring out the best of Africa and help nature talent and create jobs on the continent.
“The show gives regular and raw young African girls who have no knowledge of the dynamics in the fashion industry a chance. A chance to make it out there. A chance to tell the African story to the world. our idea is to say raw Africans can also make it on the international fashion scene,” Ouluchi stresses.
She adds: “We looked all over the entire continent to find the most beautiful girl with raw talent, originality, creativity, passion and humor! Aamito is confident, and the amount of talent the show managed to spot will help inspire many young girls on the continent to storm the international fashion stage and make Africa proud.”
She says the reality show is aimed at helping to identify a new generation of household names.
“Aamito is now a household name in Uganda. It’s nice to have a winner from your country, one who will keep carrying your flag out there. It inspires a lot of young people. When you have people to look up to, the journey to prosperity and transformation begins.”
Does Oluchi feel Africa should start focussing more on talent than mere formal education to bring out the best out of young people? I ask.
“This is one of he ways in which jobs are created. Aamito is $50,000 rich. Her money has immediately created a difference. The other girls who lost to her can decide to do lots of things like become make up artists, designers etc. I believe that education doesn’t have to mean you must get a formal qualification. This show has helped girls from different background learn from each other. Going through this experience is an education itself. The amount of talent out there shows something has to definitely change. This is not like that Big Brother Africa show where people are closed in a room and they just eat and drink. This is different for Africa,” she says.
As she hits to the road to visit the Nile, Oluchi has something about Uganda;
“Very beautiful country. It looks like abit of West Africa although here the people are well behaved but not very aggressive.
Oluchi is married to Italian designer Luca Orlandi and the coupe has a three year old son. She has been in the business for over fifteen years after winning the first ever ‘M-Net Face of Africa model competing in 1998. She has graced runways for designers like Victoria Secret, Christian Dior, and Giorgio Armani, and snagging covers for publications like Italian Vogue, i-D, Elle, and Surface.