By ELI CHEP
In a country where modelling wasn’t considered an all that worthy profession, Aamito Lagum’s future wasn’t set to be one in the dreamy, faraway world of fashion. That all changed when her mum unwillingly (she’d rather Aamito became a lawyer) gave her transport fare to Nairobi, where the casting for the first season of Africa’s Next Top Model was taking place.
In a remarkable twist, Aamito came out on top 100%, winning the contest out of twelve girls. Now at 23 years old, Aamito struts down high fashion runways & featuring in exclusive fashion editorials, her career has only gotten better and it’s no hard thing to see why and develop a crush on the East African stunner.
Aamito’s catlike stare, glowing skin and pillowy lips have gone on to grace not only the Marc Jacobs campaign (yes, the one that features Willow Smith), but also Hermes, Paul Smith, Alexander Wang and KENZO among others.
I caught up with the beaut while at Kampala Fashion Week. Here are extracts from the interview.
Who is Aamito?
I am an only child, raised by a single mother. However my dad and I have a strong bond; it’s kind of psychic – I don’t have to tell him that I need his help, he just knows. It’s that strong. I started modelling back in 2008 with an agency called Arapapa. But of course my breakthrough was winning Africa’s Next Top Model.
What inspired you to compete for Africa’s Next Top Model?
Some friends sent me texts urging me to go for the auditions in Nairobi but I didn’t make up my mind until two days prior to audition. I was inspired by the fact that my friends had deep faith in me and told me I could go far in the contest.
You’re only 23, an African beauty & the world is your Oyster. How does that feel?
Obviously, I’m thrilled with the achievements so far but well, still giving life my greatest shot because the best is yet to come.
Besides being beautiful, you’ve also got a warm personality to match. Do you think this works in your favour?
Thank you. I think so. You know sometimes you never know who comes your way and who you get to work with. But I think it works in my favour.
What does being a model mean to you?
Being a model was not something I chose. It chose me. I was and I am more than happy to be modelling because the satisfaction that comes with doing what you are meant to be doing is priceless.
Your thoughts on racial profiling in the modelling & fashion industry?
I believe that models back in the 80s and 90s faced this problem the most. Thanks to all those that paved way and made it better for this generation’s modelling career, I believe it’s getting better and better.
Your everyday beauty routine & keeping in shape?
Beauty wise – cleansing, toning and moisturizing is my vibe. With pro-modelling, one has to keep in shape. I try to run as much as possible (giggles) and attend yoga classes. On the nutritional side, I watch what I eat and make smart choices. I used to hate vegetables but now they’re my friend.
Your style in four words…
Conservative, Hip, Retro and Chic.
Any model crushes?
Hmmhh!! Let’s see, I have a crush on Joan Smalls. I think she’s absolutely stunning. I also have a crush on Karlie Kloss, and I’m totally jealous of her friendship with Taylor Swift, because I really love Taylor.
Some epic designer you strut for while in NYC?
I showcased Michael Kors which happens to be my all-time favourite fashion label. I also featured other brands like Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton at some instances.
Any awkward moments you ever had on the runway?
Yes, my outfit from Prada that had been clipped on me fell off.
What do you do to get hyped for runways or shoot appearances?
For me it’s a quiet environment that determines my performance. Probably with a soft tune playing in the background. It’s good for meditation.
Which social media personality would you fall under? Foodie, Selfie Queen, Philosopher, InstaQuoteQueen or the Aspiring Stylista?
I’m a bit of everything. But mostly the Philosopher (Maybe).
What don’t we know about Aamito?
I’m quite a good cook.
What we don’t know about the modelling industry?
It is a jungle where only the strong survive.
Your five sources of inspiration?
My family, faith, hope, God and successful people.
Designers you’re looking forward to working with?
Karl Lagerfeld is one of those on my bucket list. However working with different designers is a unique experience that offers creative variation. It would be such a great honour working with variety.
Image Credit: rtvgames, superselected, whynotmodels, listal, kenzo