As a child, Amelia Lola’s friends and family members in the Democratic Republic of the Congo never thought she would be a model. They were in fact convinced that she was too tall to be one. They used to call her “Molayi” which in Lingala means the tall one.
“I hated that name because it made me feel insecure and less confident until my grandmother who raised me advised me to accept it. She helped build my confidence,” Amelia says. From that moment she started ignoring them. Whenever they called her “Molayi”, Amelia told them: “My grand mum says I’m her Miss Congo. I can also be a model or an air hostess.”
When she was 13 years old, Amelia’s school organised a fashion show and they were looking for students to model. Amelia got involved and since then her interest in modelling has been growing.
Amelia, who has always believed that there is room for her in the fashion industry, has now won her ticket to the finals of Top Model of Colour 2012.
The care home worker joined her family in London at the age of 14. When she revealed her modelling dream to her mother, she wasn’t amused.
But the young girl didn’t let that discourage her. She bought herself a camera and started taking herself pictures, secretly calling herself a top model.
Amelia learnt more about modelling by watching fashion shows on YouTube and imitating how to pose.
One lucky day, in 2007, while shopping, she met a designer called Rose Mbayo. Attracted by her beauty, Rose stopped Amelia and asked her if she was a model. Amelia remembers telling Rose that she wasn’t a model, but was aspiring to be one.
To her surprise, Rose told her she was planning to showcase a dress and Amelia was the best model to wear it. That’s how Amelia ended up taking part in the Waltham Forest Fashion Show.
She has since been taking part in different fashion shows including Camer Couture, Congo Fashion Week, Elite Fashion Show, Runway Diva Fashion Show, etc.
Modelling, Amelia says, is fun but hard. “You need to be very determined and very passionate. What I’ve realised in the fashion industry is, don’t put money first,” she says, adding that initially one needs to get more modelling jobs in order to be known.
Amelia who was Miss Congo UK 2010 is convinced she deserves to be the Female Top Model of Colour UK 2012.
She is eying the crown because she doesn’t believe in failure. She believes in setting objectives and working hard towards achieving them. Amelia listens to her heart and seeks God’s guidance in everything she does.
She loves taking risks once she feels she should do something. “When you have confidence and believe in yourself you are already a winner,” she says. Amelia is however, not afraid of failing to get what she wants.
Whether she gets it or not, Amelia says, what matters most is having worked hard for it and the experience she gets along the way.
Should Amelia succeed in becoming the Female Top Model of Colour UK 2012, she’ll use the title to support charities helping African children in different countries.
Asked what she’d like to say to those who organise fashion events in the UK but deny models of colour a chance of taking part, Amelia says: “I think racism should stop in the fashion industry. You can’t judge someone by his or her colour.”
Amelia is very proud of her black skin colour. While she likes every part of her body, she is quick to point out that she likes most her “eyes, legs, lips and especially my skin colour.”
She loves music so much that she goes to bed with music and wakes up with music. Amelia enjoys listening to RnB, Nigerian music, Zouk, and Congolese music.
Her favourite book is the Bible.
Asked what she likes most about herself, Amelia says: “I like the fact that I believe I’m unique.”
Apart from modelling, Amelia also likes designing. She has just created her new label called A.L Couture and she is keen to come up with unique designs.
“My ambition is not only to be a model, but to also be a designer,” Amelia says.
She has a dream of travelling to many African countries to do some modelling jobs there.
“As a finalist of Top Model of Colour all I need is to focus on this competition and God will take care of the rest,” she says.
Amelia’s ideal man is one who loves her for who she is, not because of how she looks. He must be mature, respect Amelia and her family, career and friends.
“No matter how long it will take don’t ever give up on your dream and always be yourself,” Amelia advises young people.
Full Name: Amelia Lola
Date of birth: 16th November 1990
Place of birth: DRC
Dress Size: 10
Shoe Size: 8
Hair Colour: Black
By Stephen Ogongo Ongong’a