Meet Paula Lumumba, Siaya’s runway princess
Paula Lumumba is only five years old and has already made her mark in the fashion market. She has bagged three titles in a span of one year. Her father, Fredrick Lumumba tells us more about her bubbly daughter
Milliam Murigi @millymur1
How did she get into modelling at such a tender age?
There was this particular children’s programme that used to be aired on one of the mainstream TV stations.
She was barely three years old then, but she would imitate those child models that appeared on the show and she went on and on.
Paula would see a camera and she would strike endless poses much to our entertainment.
She always created a presence in front of the camera. Soon enough, we discovered that modelling came easy to her.
She jumped onto it like a fish into water and it was a delight for both of us her parents. We then enrolled her into modelling classes.
Take us through her modelling journey?
Paula started her modelling journey professionally in 2019. There’s a talent agency that nurtures talented children in Kisumu known as Angels of Sunset.
They organised a franchise pageant called The Little Miss Kenya Pageant, Siaya County Chapter and in July she was called in to participate.
She passed all the preliminaries and the nominees were trained for the main pageant.
Surprisingly, she did so well, as if she was born for it. She bagged two crowns; Little Miss Popularity Siaya county and Tiny Miss Kenya Siaya county.
This qualified her to go for the overall country event where all contestants came to represent their counties in a final catwalk to win the ultimate title.
There, she emerged as the winner of Little Miss Popularity Kenya title. After seeing how much she enjoyed modelling, we decided to enrol her for Little Miss Universe Kenya 2020 and that’s where we are currently.
We have sought the help of a more specialised modelling professional that will help her sharpen her skill and manage her affairs.
How does she balance school and this venture?
Paula loves school and her favourite subject is mathematics. She is disciplined and will always finish her assignments before going to sleep.
She is in Grade One and enjoys extra curriculum activities a lot. Paula has a strict schedule that she follows during the week and she mostly does most of her modelling work on the weekends.
In what ways have you compromised as parents to nurture her talent?
We support her emotionally and provide her with whatever she may need to grow as an all-round child.
We attend all her activities to give her the much needed moral support. We have brought her up with a lot of freedom and have taught her to ask questions when she doesn’t understand something.
So, she is pretty independent in her thinking and will make most decisions herself. She is currently at the stage of dressing herself and pretty much do everything for herself.
We just sit back and give guidance. We discipline her where necessary, but she is usually such a joy to be around.
What are some of the challenges she face?
Paula is very competitive and loves to win. She will work very hard to be the best. She doesn’t take losing well.
The biggest challenge she faces is modelling practice always takes a lot of her play time.
What are her other hobbies?
She is an overly passionate person and will pursue something with laser like focus.
Apart from modelling, her other hobbies are skating, swimming, dancing and doing photo-shoots.Currently trying out her hand at taekwondo (laughs).
Her likes and dislikes?
She loves chicken and chips and dislikes noise.
Do you have a family member who is into modelling?
No, but her godmother, Glenda Otieno is into modelling.
What don’t people know about her?
Because of her status most people think that she is different from other children, but she is just like any other child.
She gets dirty playing with soil, cries when hungry and throws tantrums to get her way.
Tell us about her next competition, Little Miss Universe Kenya.
We come from Siaya Township; the exposure here in the field of modelling is little.
So we joined miss universe to give her a chance to experience new horizons in the hope that she will learn more about other cultures around the world.
We want her to be all that she can be, and the best way is to expose her to new ideas and experiences.
If she is crowned Little Miss Universe Kenya, what is she planning to do to help others?
Her project on environment was to sensitise young children of her age to help parent’s water kitchen gardens using drip irrigation.
I would say that food security was her top agenda. With the crown, there will be a slightly bigger audience than just Siaya, Paula will be able to champion her projects on a bigger scale and we are hoping that we can attract interest in some of her projects.
She also runs a project called, The Pencil of Hope through which she gives pencils to children in schools around Siaya County so that she can help write as many futures as possible.
The project has so far visited three schools in Siaya County. To start off, she mobilised her classmate’s, teachers, parents and friends to donate pencils.
On top of that she received exercise books from a supermarket in Siaya to give out together with her pencils so she gives out pencils and books.
She does all this with the support from friends, church and well-wishers. We are looking forward to one day being financed by corporates to reach more schools.
Finally, tell us more about you.
I am a teacher by profession. I believe in building talents and that is why I have nurtured my daughter’s talent.
I know that talent can make you dine with kings and that’s my primary focus with children.