|KADI WEARING ONE OF HER DESIGNS|
Hey lovelies, I am so honored to present to you this amazing lady Kadiatu Kamara.
Kadiatu is a British female model and a designer with a great personality, positive attitude towards life, enthusiastic and committed to her work. She has taken part in various fashion shows in the UK (London Fashion Week), Africa and the United States.
Kadiatu recently moved back to Freetown, Sierra Leone and already, she owns the best Boutique in Town called ‘Vivid Emporium’ and currently on the verge of opening her second one (congrats Kadi).
She sells both bespoke and ready to wear designs. Her pieces are unique and will definitely make you stand out where ever you go. I have some of her bespoke designs and I will do a blog post when I wear them :). I will post her contact details at the end of this post.
I had to interview this amazing woman because I felt that she has something in her to share with us that will inspire and change our lives. This is what I’m about ‘Inspiring, motivating and empowering others.’
Here are the questions I asked Kadiatu and the answers she gave in return:
1) Tell us about your background: where do you come from.
My name is Kadiatu Kamara and I am from Sierra Leone. My father is from the Temne tribe and my mother is Temne and part Fulah. So I guess that would make me Temne-Fulah. I grew up in Sierra Leone and moved to the UK to join my father when I was 15. While in the UK, I became a runway and editorial model and studying creative writing and journalism at Kingston University.
2) When was the 1st time you realised you had no limitations?
I was raised by a single mother who had no formal education, but was never limited. She knew her strengths and she capitalised on her strengths as a petty trader to raise me and two other kids she had adopted from her village while supporting her parents and adopted mum. She used her strengths to see her younger brother, my adopted sisters and me through school, all by herself.
Everything I had learnt from my mother about not having limitations was puT to the test when I moved to England and could barely speak good English and wanted to do a drama course.
I applied for the course and went for the audition. We were asked to improvise a play and perform in front of the course administrator. I sat back and watched the other students improvise the play… without me. That was the most intimidated I have ever been in my life.
The administrator came back and the others acted the play and I really enjoyed watching them. After the audition, I stayed back and spoke to the administrator. She advised me to take some English classes first. I did just that and the following year I was in the same audition room with the same administrator. I wasn’t terrible, but I was no Angela Bassett.
The administrator saw my passion and let me in the course. I don’t think I’ve ever been so committed and devoted to anything in my whole life. At the end of the course, a good friend of mine, Musa and I volunteered to write the end of year play… It was challenging, bit we did it and I had the second best result in the whole class.
Oh oh! Throughout the whole drama course, my father and step mother thought I was doing the nursing course they had enrolled me in… Me? Nursing? I was always so sick as a kid: in and out of hospital all the time. The last thing I wanted was to spend the rest of my life in a hospital.
Anyway, that’s how I knew I could really do whatever I wanted. Be whoever I wanted. The secret was to want it bad enough and work hard at it.
3) When was the moment that your big door/opportunity opens?
My big doors of opportunities started opening when I realised I had the courage to go for whatever I want.
My friends and boyfriend at the time suggested modelling to me. I actually didn’t know anything about modelling or what it took to be one. But whatever it was, my friends thought I had it and I barely say no to trying new things, so I took some professional photos and started perusing modelling.
I got signed by Mahogany Model Management and lawyer they started a campaign against racism in the fashion industry and my agent asked me to be the face and spokes model. Of course I jumped right at it. It was amazing using my face and voice for such a cause.
In 2008, I was asked to represent my country in the Miss West Africa UK beauty pageant. I was skeptical at first as I don’t really like pageants, but I was later told that the theme was to promote girls education in Africa. It was a great opportunity to use my voice and fave again to make a small change, so I did it.
However, before agreeing to do the pageant, I promised myself I would only do it if I was going to put all the work I needed to in order to win it. And so I did and became Miss West Africa UK 2008.
What a way to use my face and voice once again. For the first time in my life, I really felt proud myself. One of my prices was to tour a few West African countries and the last I visited was Sierra Leone. It was wonderful doing talk shows, radio shows and newspaper interviews talking to young girls and women about the importance of having an education. I really hope I got through to someone.
During my stay in Sierra Leone I realised I wanted to move back and open the best Boutique the country had ever had. I wanted to give people like myself who were moving back home access to the brands they were used to…Topshop, H&M, Aldo etc.
And about a couple of weeks to the opening of the boutique, I decided to buy two sewing machines and hired tailors to make some African pieces. On the opening, the African pieces I had made almost sold out. And that was it. People started coming to me asking me to make them clothes and I was so nervous because I didn’t know the first thing about making clothes. But I never said that. I would ask them what they like, how they’d like to feel etc and based on all the information I was given, I would make something and they would actually love it. So that’s how the clothes making thing stated.
Then I grew to understand it and fell in love with the craft. It took a while to accept that I am a designer because I don’t sketch like everyone else and never went to school or had the dream or desire to be a designer. So I didn’t feel worthy of calling myself a designer until I started working on the Kabasaloj Collection.
A friend of mine saw a few of the pieces I had made and said “wow Kadie you’re really good at this designing stuff”. I told him I wasn’t a designer and he ordered me to stop saying that and accept a God given gift, so I did. And to be honest, that changed so much in the way I approach my work now.
I take it seriously now. It’s great to be able to organise my own fashion shows, photoshoots and hire models now. So in all the career moves that I’ve made so far, I’ve had a great door of opportunity opened to me. I am thankful.
4) What inspires you?
I am inspired by a lot of things and people. The way I am as a person is very much inspired by my mother, my adopted grandmother and the way I was raised. My mother and grandmother raised me to be respectful and good to everyone.
Everybody is a good person until they prove themselves to be other Wise. Never sit back and watch someone struggle and not help when you know you are in a position to help. My work as a designer is inspired by all the designers I had the opportunity to work with.
My work is inspired by the Women I target. My work is highly inspired by my continent and its people. My drive to GO FOR IT is inspired by the great women who raised me. They didn’t let lack of ABCD…form of education, not having money or not coming from influential families stop them from achieving great things.
5) What are some of the obstacles you faced and how have you overcome them?
I live in a country where your family name, your connections the car you drive, the asses you kiss and the length to which you’re willing to compromise your moral values is what gets you recognition and a real break. I am none of the above. So I overcome all those obstacles by being myself, doing exactly what makes me happy and letting my work speak for itself
6) What have you learnt so far?
I’ve learnt that trying to be anything other than yourself makes you look stupid. I can’t please everyone so I don’t try to. I’ve learnt a lot about letting go. When one situation doesn’t work out, I see it as a chance to go for something even better. I’ve learnt to love myself, and boy, am I in love hahaha.
7) What makes you smile or how do you make you love ones smile :)?
When I see people smile, it makes me happy. A little bulb lights inside of me just from seeing someone else smiles genuinely. I can be really goofy so I’m constantly doing and saying stupid things to entertain my friends and family. My favorite thing to do in the whole word is to laugh. It relaxes me.
8) What advice have you got for the readers?
My advice to everyone reading this is to never be afraid to want more. Want as much as you want to allow yourself to want and work at it. You are guaranteed to get it. Oh, and smile more because God makes no mistakes and the universe works hand in hand with your needs and desires.
Whatever it is that makes you feel like you CAN’T do it, is just in your imagination because you allow it to be there!
I am very proud of you Kadiatu, I hope you continue to do what you are doing.
Here are some lovely pics of Kadiatu: enjoy these artistic pics:
|THIS IS PERFECTION|
|MOTHER NATURE’S BEAUTY|
|SEXY SHE GOT IT ALL|
Kadi’s website is coming up soon: www.kadiatufashion.com
Stay tuned for more interviews :).