Fashion Model Imat Akelo-Opio

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I see myself breaking barriers and opening doors for others in places in an industry, entertainment-acting, that people have thought to be impossible.

[Profile: Black Star Model]

In Her Own Words: Imat Akelo-Opio

Q:
Tell us a little about where you were born and where you were raised and the most important things you learned from your parent:
A: I was born in Africa iand grew up around the globe from Africa, Pacific and Australasia. The most important things I learnt from my mother and father were not said, nor were they taught. The most important things I learnt were from their actions. My mother especially being a woman, I learnt integrity, discipline, faith, hard-work and perseverance. My maternal grandmother taught me nothing is impossible through faith.

Q: Where did you go to school and when did you launch your career?
A: I went to International Schools in Africa and on the Island nation of Papua New Guinea. Then we moved to Australia where I studied at tertiary level and I then moved to USA, New York City, to study performing arts with a major in acting at Herbert Bergoff Studios. My career I believe launched when I was appointed a co-choreographer for the 2000 Olympics and performed as one of two lead dancers for the Opening Ceremony. I also recorded the official Olympics African Arrivals track with Pee-Wee Ferris in Sydney for the Olympics 2000 Compilation CD.

Q: What stage do you consider your career to be at now?
A: I believe that I am still growing, I am still learning because with acting one can never know it all, one is self discovering everyday with every word and through every moment.

Q: Where do you see it going and what’re your aspirations?
A: I see myself going to where only I can go as an individual and unique actress. I see myself breaking barriers and opening doors for others in places in an industry,  entertainment-acting, that people have thought to be impossible. My aspirations are to be the best me, the most honest and true me first of all and to live a Great life of color that inspires and changes all people’s lives for the better through my gift of acting of performing--people of all backgrounds, ages, creed and color.

Q: Talk about some challenges and how you conquer them?
A: There are many challenges in life and more-so with entertainment. In order to conquer any challenge, I believe you need to know who you are first; because once you get that revelation, that job that didn’t come through or that role that you didn’t get won’t knock your self-esteem.

Q: List some of the professional -modeling, acting, business, entrepreneurship--accomplishments you're most proud of?
A: I am most proud of Otino-International, my medical non-profit organization, because I know that there is nothing more precious and more fulfilling than helping another and seeing them grow to excel, there is no monetary value on the gift of life. Modeling and beauty-for me to be chosen as one of Africa’s most beautiful women in the Diaspora through Miss Africa USA and voted in the top five and doing magazine interviews has really been blessing. I have just finished shooting a small role for a new TV series coming out in Australia. Every play that I have been cast in from the Leader --Off Broadway-- Get Smart, to Wole Soyinka’s Death of a King Horseman (Premier production in Australia) to Chrysalis (which is available in all drama book-stores), TV series (Newstopia), MTV and features in block buster movies (Matrix II and III, Kangaroo Jack and Stealth) have been great achievements for me.

Q: Talk about brainpower and beauty?
A: This is a must because it’s like having a beautiful BMW, Bentley or Ferrari and the engine doesn’t work, it doesn’t move, it’s useless as it cannot do anything and cannot fulfill its potential. A beautiful unique being that is more exquisite than the world’s most luxurious cars, as we all are, that does not use his or her brain is doing him or herself injustice and is only existing and not living, for to live requires you to exert energy to fulfill your potential and destiny and empower others.

My Philosophy: Enjoy your journey and know that when you stay true to who you are, though you fall and stumble when you have faith it will come to pass--that which you were sent to accomplish. Though remember there are many wolves in sheep’s clothes so guard your dreams and purpose with your life and only share with one or two that you know who will always be for you. Also education is the key- it opens so many doors and knowledge is power, the more you know the higher you will achieve.

Social work, community and public service: I have set up my Non-Profit Otino-International that is a non-profit providing medical assistance to displaced innocents who have returned back to their ancestral lands after conflict. We are staring in the nation of Uganda and look to expand to other countries around the globe. I also contribute as a full member UNIFEM, United Nations Development Fund for Women and IAS, International AIDS Society.

My Wardrobe: I don’t believe in brands- My motto is “I wear the clothes, the clothes don’t wear me”. So for me I wear what looks good, it can be a brand label like Zara or an un-known brand from China town but if you work it, what use is the brand. Lotions for my skin, I am a big advocate of Palmers Cocoa Butter and Nivea –Blue for deep replenishing because they always make my skin glow and keep it from being dry and it doesn’t hurt they have a yummy aroma. Make-up, Bobby-Brown for my foundation and lip gloss, eyes- nothing but Diorshow my sister told me use it once and I have never looked back, Diorshow Mascara lengthens your eyelashes so well that most people ask if they are real, Diorshow always for stunning eyes. Mac for clear lip-glass, lip gloss and Blush. Perfume, my favourites are Angel (Thierry Mugler), Burberry Brit (Burberry) and Tresor. Shoes are my weakness, again for me I wear the shoes, they don’t wear me; but having said this I find that Australian Designer Tony Bianco’s shoes always make my feet that little bit more elegant and feminine, they never let me down.

Words of wisdom: Always listen to your soul, when it's quiet and you are alone especially in the midst of trial is when you learn who you truly are and what you are capable of achieving, so always listen to your soul.
Secrets of success: I think that success is a state of mind. As a man thinks so is he. I have learnt to believe in myself despite what the world may think and decided to enjoy my journey on my road traveled. Believe and work, for you shall receive.
Favorite all time 3 movies: The Passion of the Christ, Gone with the Wind, and Anything with Sidney Poitier.
Favorite all time 3 books: The Bible, All Og Mandino’s books and The Richest Man in Babylon

Three leaders that inspire me the most:
All Mothers- My Mother- These are the true leaders of nations for Mothers birth the leaders of our nations. My mother is exceptional, she has risen from a young girl from a background of poverty to one of the most powerful women in the United Nations today, but she is the most humble person I have known in my life. Yaa Asantawe- Ghanian Female Warrior who stopped the British from taking over Ashanti land. Nelson Mandela-Because he forgave, that is truly divine. To forgive and move on from being oppressed for 27 years is amazing.

Five favorite musicians/entertainers and their songs: Whitney Houston- All her songs. Janet Jackson – because as a child she was the very first artist’s album that I bought- All her music. India Arie- because this is a woman; her music is the very essence of life, she is so real.

Favorite websites: www.Otino-International.org, www.UN.org, and www.UNIFEM.org

Photo credit: Aureo Photography (Melbourne Australia)- www.aureophoto.com  


"Speaking Truth To Empower."


 

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