In Conversation with: Cecilia Kupera
Meet the talented, stunning, former Miss Zimbabwe UK and founder of Effuse magazine, Cecilia.
What drives everything you do in life?
I wouldn’t say I have a specific drive for everything I do in my life but I always put God first in everything that I do and just get Him to guide me through each step. Most of the time I find myself doing the unusual and going for the most daring opportunities, that even I would question myself “What am I doing and how did I get to do this?” Some opportunities are very different to what I would go for but other than that my life is simply driven by God.
What's your life story, in a nutshell?
I was born and raised in Zimbabwe, which is where I did my primary school and form one at Roosevelt before I moved to the UK to live with my mother. In Zimbabwe I lived with my grandparents.
Describe how it felt being crowned Miss Zimbabwe UK 2015.
Till this day I’m still in shock because I did not expect or imagined winning the competition. I thought one of the other contestants was going to take home the crown. I cried tears of joy because it was really unexpected moment for me and the perfect song played as well by Sarkodie ft Castro Adonai and it just made everything worth the hard work. In 2013 I entered Miss Zimbabwe UK at the age of 18 but unfortunately I only made it into the top 5. I personally think that from the 2013 till when I entered Miss Zimbabwe UK 2015, I felt that I had matured and was ready to share my knowledge and help with my fellow Zimbabwean community in the UK.
Unfortunately, even though I was crowned Miss Zimbabwe UK, the list of things I was hoping to achieve and change have not been accomplished. This is not because of me not wanting to work but the management for Miss Zimbabwe UK hasn’t been there to support me throughout the journey or even giving us the prizes that we were promised to have won. It is just unfortunate because not only has the brand for the Miss Zimbabwe UK has been ruined and at the same time I am not holding on to the crown for two years’ now, which is something that is unusual in the pageant world.
Given the choice what would you pursue beauty pageant or journalism?
When it comes to beauty pageants I think my days for that have come to an end and I would rather mentor someone who want to pursue that kind of field than me being pursuing it at the moment. When I started beauty pageants it was because I was going through a tough time in my life and I needed something that could help me rebuild my confidence and build myself up again. Surprisingly I was doing very well and I took advantage of the opportunity and use the platform to inspire other young people my age, keeping myself strong at the same time.
When it comes to journalism, I don’t want to restrict myself to think that I will be a journalist for the rest of my life or be stuck in an office or working for BBC because I don’t see that happening for myself. I see myself as a creative individual and I really want to explore where my imagination will take me, whether it be cinematography or interior designing. I want to be that person that can be able to different things and not wait on people to do it for me. Yes, journalism is part of me just like how beauty pageants are but I wouldn’t say I want that to be my last bus stop or restrict myself from what God has planned for me.
What are your proudest achievements to date?
Founding my own magazine has to be one my proudest achievements so far in because it brings joy and warmth into my heart knowing that lots of people across the world read it or have come across it online. I am single but that’s my baby, my investment that will go far one day.
How did Effuse come to be, what was the inspiration behind it?
Effuse started when I was in year 11 at the age of 15/16 years. At first I was blogging and just posting stories and my outfits after going to church. Surprisingly the blog was getting a lot of attention so I decided to find a way that I could expand the blog. The blog was called ‘Effusive Creation’ so I decided to change it to ‘Effuse’ for the magazine.
Creating Effuse was also inspired by my own struggles I was going through when I didn’t have any one to support me, so I thought to myself maybe there are other people out there who might be going through the same struggles as me. The platform is there to help other people showcase their work and be celebrated by Effuse readers and also getting more opportunities to expand their work. Effuse has been running for 2 years now with 7 issues and looking back from when it started to where it is now, it’s a blessing to me and those I have worked with in the past.
What is your long term goal, career wise where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
In 10 years I see myself running my own successful international media firm, and it’s something that I have been building up on since I started involving myself in the media and events industry. Looking to be the next Oprah Winfrey or Tyra Banks of my generation.
How do you keep yourself motivated during your low moments?
I tend to exclude myself from people, well to be honest that’s me most of the time but during my low moments, I hide myself even more to work on the parts that need fixing. I am not much of a talker so no one would ever know that I am not myself or if anything is going on around me.
Hiding away most of the time, will help me boost myself spiritually and maybe talk to one or two people but it’s very rare. No matter what I will always continue to do my work regardless of any situation I will be going through and fixing myself at the same time.
What characteristics do you think one needs to be a successful entrepreneur?
Personally I would say one has to be daring and a go getter! Don’t be scared or limit yourself to something you want to achieve in life and never restrict yourself from obtaining that end goal in life. Being a successful entrepreneur people around you especially family have to understand that sometimes you won’t be able to make time for them because of the achievements that you have to accomplish. For an entrepreneur time is very important and wasted time is not acceptable.
For yourself, what would you say has been the key to your success?
God has been the key to my success because without him I wouldn’t be where I am today and my mother’s bank account. My mother has been my supporter and I do benefit a lot from her, which has helped me work on my brand and the places I go too. I would say without my family and God I wouldn’t be where I am today.
But other than that I also have other business mentors around me who always motivate me to be a better person and linking me to the right direction. I do try to read a few books to keep me motivated but other than that I do try to keep myself in the right circles and social balance.
Who are the rocks in your life?
My mother and my family are my main rocks in my life.
What's a typical day in your life like?
Right now, it’s mostly university and assignments but I do host some events. I recently hosted Takura’s Birthday at a club called Prisma in Birmingham. I tend to go out a lot during the weekends but what people don’t know is that, I get paid for most of the events. Possibly because I will be hosting or I would’ve promoted the event, so it’s not I just love to go out but it’s also a job on its own. My mother always asks me to visit most of the time so I have to balance that in too. Most of my friends call me a vampire because I tend to do most of my work at night and also I barely sleep.
Other than pageants and journalism, what else are you passionate about?
At the moment, I have been getting myself involved in events, not just any ordinary events but those that African household artist will be performing at for example Burna Boy, Takura, Kiss Daniel etc. I think in the long run I might find myself getting much more involved in events especially in the year of 2017.
What is the one thing you cannot live without?
My phone because I can easily access a lot of apps from my phone and it’s just essential to use.
What is the biggest lesson you have learnt in life, that you wish you knew sooner?
I say dating, because sometimes I wish I had an older brother or sister who could have possibly direct me into the right guidance when it comes to dating boys. The dos and don’ts! Possibly if I knew sooner I would know exactly what I want and who not to be involved with. I think with our generation dating is possibly one of the biggest lessons that we have to look into and be aware of and not just do things for social media.
If you could what would you change about your life, if at anything at all, what would it be?
If I had a choice, I would change being popular lol!
People say I love the attention I receive, but I feel like these days I don’t have the freedom to express myself because there are eyes everywhere watching my movements especially on a night out. At the end of the day it is something I have to live with for now.
What advice would you give to other young women, like yourself who are working hard in pursuit of their dreams?
The most important thing for us young women, we should work together and no compete with other because at the end of the day we are all working to make it and be successful. Let’s put the hate, jealousy and competitive minds aside and ask each other about how we can better ourselves rather than throw each other under the bus. God gave us great minds, we should use these to better ourselves and those around us to our great potential.
Let’s continue working hard despite what situations we might be going through in life and let’s remove the negative energy, and focus on the positivity!
Always remember that your dreams are achievable as long as you put your mind into it!
How can people get in touch with you?