13 March 2017

Uganda: Fashion Blog Star Haguma On Ugandan Style

At 26, most women are gambling with what exactly to do in life, but Gloria Haguma seems set as a fashion blogger, writer, and social media manager.

Haguna who works with designers, cloths store owners, stylists, makeup artistes, hair stylists, models, fashionistas, and investors in the line of fashion, last year won the East African Fashion Journalist of the Year award at Swahili Fashion Week Awards 2016 in Tanzania. She had been nominated the previous three years. She was also awarded with the 'Best fashion Blogger' award at the Abryanz fashion and Style Awards 2014 in Kampala.

"It's simply an affirmation that anything is possible as long as you put your mind to it," she says of the awards.

Haguna's presence in Uganda's fashion world has a funny beginning. While at Uganda Christian University (UCU) Mukono where she pursued a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communication, Haguma and a colleague made a habit of critiquing how fellow students dressed. For everyone who had something 'going wrong', Haguma always had an opinion about how they could be made better. She was also a good reader of fashion blogs, magazines, and write-ups which informed her analysis.

When she secured an internship at the Daily Monitor newspaper in Kampala, she chose to specialise writing in fashion for a section called 'Sqoop'. She has never stopped.

She says she dallied to go into blogging because it requires what she calls "legit work" yet she always eyed a personal style blog. Since she made the foray, however, it has created numerous opportunities for her; including being a social media content creator first for Abryanz and now Beryl Couture.

Haguma attributes her go-getter attitude to her father, Ezra Hagum Imana, who despite losing his job ensured Haguma and her six siblings did not lack for much.

"My father was an amazing father though extremely strict and taught us that there is time for everything," says Haguma, "It is not surprising that up to this time, it has stuck in me not to loiter around doing nothing."

Haguma was born in Kisoro district although the family spent the better part in Kampala and until recently Mukono. She attended St. Steven Primary School, Seeta High, and Mpoma Girls. She graduated from UCU in 2014.

Haguma says Uganda's fashion industry is more developed today than 10 years ago; it is more demanding to set up an event, more Ugandans appreciate and can afford styling up, and Ugandan models are going places - including the first ever Uganda male model being signed to an agency in South Africa.

"You can actually get a red carpet event in Uganda and scale it to those in Nigeria and South Africa. Makeup artistes are also a big deal now," Haguna says.

Gloria Haguma's Liteside

Any three things we don't know about you?

I actually didn't major in writing but got there somehow. I am a staunch Catholic but last year I removed my rosary because I thought God had let me down somehow. I never allow fame to cloud me even when my work involves working around famous people especially in the fashion world. I wanted to be a lawyer but feared being in school for so many years. I chose to take a shorter path into mass communication.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Happiness comes from within or self satisfaction of being very content with yourself after learning to appreciate the little you have.

What is your greatest fear?

It's dying before accomplishing at least 50 percent of the things I set out to do.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

I am a short-tempered person to the extent that the smallest of things will switch me off - which I don't like but what to do?

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

That thing about making comments about people's appearance especially weight are a form of bullying; but also being very judgmental with very funny comments that are not even needed or gainful.

Which living person do you most admire?

It is definitely my father because he strove to get us through top quality schools. I don't know how he did it but I will forever be grateful to him for such a big endeavor to get us the basics of life.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Home stuff just to make my house look prettier and more appealing.

What is your current state of mind?

Everything is just in place.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Having senseless opinions about others because sometimes they don't even matter; How about if we find something else to do and focus more on things that matter.

What does being powerful mean to you?

Being in charge of oneself without being under anyone's control.

On what occasion do you lie?

I am quick to tell lies because, for some reason, I have an answer to everything.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

I don't like my upper arms and belly area because of the too much flesh.

Which living person do you most despise?

I don't despise anyone because in just a blink of an eye, things can flip.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Respect for others, hard working, and sense of humour .

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Self drive to take herself places.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

It would be my mother but she has since passed on. For now it is my little sister Nshuti Haguma whom I grew up with and share a lot in common.

When and where were you happiest?

In 2016 when I finally won the East African Journalist of the Year for Swahili Fashion Week, 2016 after three nominations.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I think I am not cut for TV but I feel like it gives one the command.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Working hard and getting myself to achieve whatever I have is very satisfying and fulfils me knowing I have done something good for my life.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

A human being specifically Bonang Matheba (South African business woman, television & radio personality); she is talented, pretty, and has a fabulous life.

Where would you most like to live?

Living in the Maldives or near the beach in Zanzibar would be the best.

What is your most treasured possession?

I treasure opportunities that have got me somewhere.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Losing a parent because the whole purpose of working hard was to make my parents happy and try to give them what they didn't have in their early years. My mother passed on at a time when my life had certainly started falling in place.

What is your favourite occupation?

Being a writer because I like what I do .

What do you most value in your friends?

The connection that bonds us and being at the same pace.

Who are your favorite writers?

I don't focus on people but their writings and I will go with anything that pushes me to the next level.

Who is your hero of fiction?

The Ant-man has the ability to get into every space and disappear anywhere.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Michael Jackson is a true legend; he made many decisions and many times society was not very receptive of them but he kept on and remains very phenomenal in the industry.

What are your favorite names?

There are names that sound so old fashioned but have spiritual attachments. Names like Grace, Destiny and Immaculate still work for me.

What is your greatest regret?

Regret changes nothing so it is pointless to dwell on something that has already happened. It is better to learn a few lessons and move on.

How would you like to die?

I prefer painless death in my sleep.

What is your motto?

'Always be better than I was yesterday' and 'Life is too short, do something meaningful with it'

****

editor@independent.co.ug

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