By Kalungi Kabuye
THE dust over Stacy ‘Queen’ Aamito’s winning the first ever Africa’s Next Top Model has more or less settled, which is not necessarily a good thing.
Kampala was full of euphoria after the win and social media was awash with praise for the 21-year-old model from Pader district.
There was talk of how it was the biggest thing to happen to Uganda since Stephen Kiprotich won the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics.
Calls were made for the Government to start a fundraising drive for our ‘golden girl’, like it had done for Kiprotich and Dorcus Inzikuru before her.
A small group of Aamito’s friends started planning a homecoming for her, and looked around for help, especially corporate help.
By Wednesday that week they had tentative offers from DSTv, Vision Group, and Snapp. They organised a press conference for her at the Sheraton last Friday, and a dinner in her honour this week.
In the meantime the typically Ugandan negativity started, and the debate raged on Facebook whether Aamito should have won, after all she is not ‘beautiful’.
At a time when posts from other countries were full of congratulations and praise for Aamito, Ugandans seemed almost ashamed that she had won. Others were of the view that all those people posting congratulations wanted to ‘tie’ on her, and why hadn’t they ‘tied on her’ before she won?
One complained that we waited for others to ‘discover’ her, why didn’t we discover her for ourselves? Talk about raining on your own parade, duh!
It is difficult to even imagine where these kind of sentiments come from, or why an intelligent adult Ugandan would see only bad things and a lot of negativity following Aamito’s win.
For the record Aamito, while only 21 years, has been on the Uganda fashion scene for years, and has appeared at numerous fashion shows and done very many magazine editorials.
She has friends and colleagues and managers and plenty of fans, so the question of ‘tying on her’ does not arise.
And several photographers in Uganda discovered her long before she went for Africa’s Next Top Model, only we did not have $50,000 (about sh150m) to give her.
Also, for the record, she did a photo spread for Flair magazine in 2010.
And her win was not a fluke, nor was it rigged in her favour, as some very silly Ugandans have been posting on social media.
If they had watched the final episode last Sunday; even if they had missed all the others and had no idea what was going on, they would have realised just what a special person we have in Aamito.
In the words of some of the very top people in the fashion world, the people who can afford to pay $10,000 (sh25m) for a one-day shoot:
“Aamito has a very strong look and always sticks out,” Josie Borain, ex supermodel and now celebrity photographer.
“Her face is going to stop every designer in the world, but she has to work hard, New York is not for the weak,” Remi Adetiba, New York-based photographer.
“Aamito was the perfect choice because she is well rounded. She can do runway, she can do editorial photo shoots, and even commercial,” Butterfly Cayley, DNA Model Management.
“Aamito is a true representative of African beauty, and she has a warrior spirit in her. I know she can pull this off,” Oluchi, Nigerian supermodel and first ever Face of Africa winner.