A few months ago, Stacie Aamito Lagum left Uganda for the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, carrying a couple of bags on her back, and the country’s hopes and dreams on her shoulders, to audition for Africa’s Next Top Model (ANTM), a reality modeling contest.
For more than the 10-hour road journey to Nairobi, Aamito, also known as Queen, might have thought of just what the future held for her.
Fast forward to Friday, Aamito returned to the country in a colourful fashion, aboard Air Uganda, and right into the warm embrace of her friends and family at Entebbe airport. The winner of the contest, which concluded last Sunday in the city of New York, had become an overnight sensation.
Aamito was later chauffeured to Sheraton hotel in a Toyota Secoya V8 accompanied by her mother Sidona Ayaa, Joram Muzira, Sheila Gashumba, family, friends and colleagues in the fashion fraternity. Aamito made history by becoming the first model to win the inaugural ANTM.
The show, similar to Tyra Banks’ America’s Next Top Model, is produced by Nigerian-born super model Oluchi Onweagba Orlandi. By winning the contest, Aamito got $50,000, a modelling contract with DNA Model Management, which is based in New York, plus endorsement deals with products like Snapp Nigeria and Etisalat Nigeria.
She plans to use her money to start a new life, and career, in New York, plus support a project to help fistula sufferers in her town of Kitgum. Aamito also has her eyes set on promoting fashion and modelling on the continent and Uganda in particular.
“We are going to maximize every bit of this opportunity to promote Uganda to the fullest and also to grow the fashion industry,” an emotional Aamito told the media at Sheraton.
“People still think this is just a hobby but it’s a profession,” she added. She was also optimistic that the next auditions of ANTM would come to Uganda.
Aamito revealed that she looks up to Oluchi who at 17, fresh off the suburbs of Lagos Nigeria and relatively ignorant about fashion, won the first ever continent-wide model competition in Face of Africa (now Nokia Face of Africa) in 1998.
Joram Model Management, Sarafina Events and other sponsors are organizing a party slated for Friday next week.