Dec 27th, 2018(Nyamilepedia) -The look in her face reveals hope, courage and love for what she does. A calm girl commanding a physical structure of a beauty fashion queen. Amokua Telar, in her 20s, is not afraid of dreaming big. Inspired by international models like Alek Wek and Tyra Banks, Amokua is not shy to walk the same path her role models pioneered.
8 years ago, in 2010, Telar joined the model industry at a very young age knowing nothing about the fashion industry and without a good management team to push her career to the international level, just like her idols, she knew pretty well that her journey would be more than a typical journey. But then she never gives up. Opposed by relatives to join the modeling business, Telar never gave a chance to the naysayers. She pursued her not only modeling but also paid keen interests to her studies. Next year she will be graduating with a Bachelor Degree in Accounting from the Kenya College of Accountancy(KCA) University in Nairobi, Kenya.
While studying, Telar has showcased with international fashion brand like OdAomo, which is based in the USA with their branch in Kenya three times. Amakou believes she is just a step away from becoming the darling of the international catwalk.
Pictured in the GIKOSH project as ones of the character, Telar said,
“It was such a great honor being a part of the project. I got to work with one of the best well known Photographer in Africa called Osborne Macharia, he has done really amazing projects. U can check out his work on his website, Facebook and Instagram.”
GIKOSH was a group in the Jua Kali section of Nairobi’s Gikomba market comprising of a group of 5 retired post-colonial aeronautic engineers namely; SOLO- the welder, SHOSHO- the Sander, SUDI- the engineer, SONI- the scout and, SIMO- the carpenter. These craftsmen salvage parts from crashed, abandoned airplanes and modify them into beautiful pieces of Furniture Art. And Amakou acted as SONI.
This week we get hold of Amakou Telar and interviewed her, and here is what she had to say:
Nyamilepedia: It is nice to have you today and welcome to Nyamilepedia. First of all, we believe it is important to hear your perspectives on matters concerning the fashion industry and how your initiative can benefit the industry and the people of South Sudan.
To begin, Nyamilepedia is pleased to present the following questions in regards to your newly established fashion training center which you just opened in Nairobi, Kenya to help young and upcoming models to be educated and trained on modeling and fashion.
Nyamilepedia: First thing first, please briefly introduce yourself to our audience by telling us your full name and where you are currently residing?
Telar: My name is Amakou Telar, am a South Sudanese model and an upcoming actress currently based in Nairobi.
Nyamilepedia: Tell us more about your fashion training center:
Telar: About my model training classes, I’ve always been so passionate about modeling and been doing it for quite some time now. Then one day I thought to myself “why not pass my experience on to the others?” So I started training models. I love to teach, guide and mentor the young generation about modeling, how the fashion world works and what to expect. That’s why I decided to start up this modeling training for upcoming and aspiring models that don’t have much knowledge about the catwalk and modeling world in general. At times it’s not easy for beginners to cope with this industry hence it is good to have someone teach, guide and walk you through it at the beginning, and am glad to be there and give lessons to anyone that needs it.
Nyamilepedia: What age groups and nationalities do you target for recruitment and training? Why are you interested in this career?
Telar: I give training to all nationalities and people of all ages from kids to adults, I don’t target a specific kind of people. You see, modeling is very wide and there are different things to learn apart from the catwalk. Aside from the runway modeling that most people know, there are different types of modeling that accept all kinds of ages. So everyone is welcome.
Nyamilepedia: Why do you want to work as a model or for models?
Telar: The reason I came up with the training classes is to prepare people not only physically but mentally before they face things out there. The thing is, most people blindly venture into the modeling industry without any knowledge of it at all. They have no guidance or good training about it and when faced with disappointments they easily give up on their talent/career.
Nyamilepedia: Who are your role models?
Telar: Alek Wek and Tyra Banks are my role models in the modeling industry.
Nyamilepedia: When did you start the modeling and how long have you been in the fashion industry?
Telar: I started modeling in 2010… about 8 yrs ago.
Nyamilepedia: What are your goals as a model?
Telar: My goals: I want to go internationally soon both in my modeling and acting career. I want to speak up and fight for the rights of models/actors. I want to see people respect models and their work like any other work. Modeling is so underrated and misunderstood… many people have a really bad mentality about it especially our South Sudanese people. People need to know and understand that modeling is a good thing and it is a career of its own that should be respected.
Nyamilepedia: How do you see yourself in five years from now?
Telar: In five years I see myself in the international modeling industry and in Hollywood by the grace of God. I also see myself running my own modeling and movie production company in South Sudan.
Nyamilepedia: What are some of the challenges you have faced or still facing in this journey?
Telar: There are many challenges in this industry, there is a lack of jobs for models and the few are a big hustle. There is discrimination, corruption/favoritism, and exploitation. It’s not really about talent anymore, it is about who you know…your friend, your relative, family, partner etc.
Nyamilepedia: When did you open this training initiative?
Telar: I started the training program back in March 2015 but I wasn’t so serious about it. I only got to train when interested individuals contacted me for training, but then 4 months ago I thought to myself and said why not really train people in a serious way? So in Oct, I decided to restart the program again.
Nyamilepedia: What motivated you to give these young upcoming models an opportunity to train them?
Telar: I decided to train the models because I’ve seen many of them struggling and in need of training. They need to be taught the advantages and challenges they should expect in the industry and not think it is all “heaven”.
Nyamilepedia: What aspect of training are you giving them?
Telar: I give training on quite a number of things: the catwalk, poses, model etiquettes, how to have confidence on camera and on stage, talk about challenges models face and how to go about them, dealing with clients etc.
Nyamilepedia: Are you seeing any progress among these young models that you are training?
Telar: Oh yes! I’ve seen some progress in a few models I’ve trained and I see some of them going places someday, and that makes me happy.
Nyamilepedia: Are you doing this alone or do you have volunteers assisting you?
Telar: I am the only one doing the training for now.
Nyamilepedia: What do you want to achieve through these training?
Telar: Although I charge for training, I am not really doing it for the money but mainly to help. I want to make an impact in their careers. I want to pass on what I know to others and give them an understanding of the industry so that they don’t end up getting exploited like some of us did. When I ventured into the industry, no one taught me or told me much about the industry hence I went through many disappointments and got exploited a couple of times which made me learn my lesson.
Nyamilepedia: What other opportunities are available out there for your students apart from training them?
Telar: At the moment there are not many opportunities for my models but I try my best to connect them with a few clients I know that would love to work with them. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do more for them when I get connected internationally.
Nyamilepedia: Is there any progress in South Sudan modeling industry? What would you recommend should be done differently to achieve more progress in South Sudan models’ industry?
Telar: Hmmm… To be honest, there’s no progress in our South Sudan modeling industry. Almost everyone is just doing anything they think or like, there are no rules, no ethics, no rights, no nothing…most people are just there for the sake of being there which is WRONG. An industry can never progress when the people don’t know what should be done and what shouldn’t be done. Most people don’t even know much about modeling there, all that many knows is the obvious pageant modeling (Miss South Sudan, Miss world, Miss this, Miss that)… that’s all people know, many don’t know High fashion modeling and other different great types of modeling.
The sad part is that models don’t even earn much/anything from the few shows that are held which is crazy. A model needs to be paid for a job/show they do, and I mean good pay, not peanuts.
Nyamilepedia: What are the challenges facing South Sudan modeling industry? How can it be improved?
Telar: Challenges facing South Sudan modeling industry are very many but to just mention a few. First, the industry is corrupted and full of amateurs that don’t know anything about modeling, people that can’t even define what the word MODELLING is and those are the people holding down the industry from growing.
Second, lack of payment- models are being too exploited in an annoying way. Event organizers do not pay models as they should. They just come up with events, collect funds from different organizations/sponsors using the name of models but never have a budget for the models, WHY? That is not fair to the models, it is annoying.
Third, most models do not know their rights or the reason they are even in the industry. Only a few models are in the industry for the love/passion of it but most of them are just in for the FAME, which is so absurd. You can not achieve anything positive or rewarding in this industry if you are in it for fame. We got a lot to do to bring change in our industry otherwise we won’t go anywhere. And for change to happen, we all need to sit down, make rules that govern the industry and implement them with seriousness.
South Sudanese model, Amakou Telar is currently in Nairobi, Kenya and she can be reached through the following contact;
Facebook: Amakou Telar