Monday, March 20, 2017

From Mimi Mutesa In Michigan

Photo Courtesy Of Mimi Mutesa

“I was born in New York, U.S., but was raised in Uganda for the most part. I currently live in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the United States. I've only lived here for a year and a half. I have previously lived in Uganda, Kenya, Congo, and Zimbabwe. Grand Rapids, MI is a really friendly town. Everyone is always willing to help you out and support you. I had a photo exhibit recently that many people I didn't even know showed up to. That's my favorite thing about Grand Rapids. It also has a great downtown artsy vibe. My favorite thing about Uganda is the weather. I always miss the sun when I'm away from there.

I had very many aspirations growing up. At various points, I wanted to be a nun, a teacher, singer, all sorts of things. As I got further into my teenage years, my aspirations started leaning more consistently towards the arts. I wanted to be a singer for quite a while. I danced for fun, then photography came around. Photography felt like the most natural thing in the world to me. I could share the things I found beautiful with as many people as I wanted, and I decided that that's what I really wanted to do. I very recently expanded that aspiration to film and video as well. I want to be able to tell powerful stories using film.

Currently, I'm a student. I very soon hope to start acting professionally as a freelancer photographer and film director. Creativity has always flown through me. I can't pin point a particular time when I first recognized my love for fashion. But as I got more and more dedicated to photography (which was about two or three years ago) I realized that fashion was an important element that represented different cultures and I wanted to be able to share that beauty of diversity with the world.

I think I'd say I've influenced myself the most from all my past mistakes. A mantra I came up with for myself is 'the more mistakes you make, the less mistakes you make.' I chose to live by that because I realized how much more I learn if I simply step out on a limb and try something new to me, because more often than not, I've made mistakes that I've then learned so much from. And that drive, that probably came from the way I was raised, continues to influence me every time I start a new project.

I often try to promote inclusivity and diversity of all different body types, walks of life, cultures, you name it. And through that, I often want to evoke a sense of appreciation from the audience that views my art. I want them to recognize how beautiful everyone and everything can be. My aesthetic is very bold and vibrant, and I think it translates very vividly in my sense of fashion and the way I interact with people. I am often unaware of this because it's simply what I'm used to but people often tell me that their perception of my confidence is a lot higher than what I actually think, so my aesthetic must be translating more accurately than I think.

I actually don't swear by any beauty routine. Six days out of the week, I'll not be wearing anything more than face lotion and lip balm. Sometimes when I have the patience to do my make up, I go for a golden shimmery eyeshadow and a winged eyeliner with lip gloss. I haven't even caught up to the eyebrow craze, so I'm pretty basic when it comes to beauty routines. If I were to swear by one thing, it would be to drink lots of water and stay moisturized! As for keeping in shape, I was simply blessed with a high metabolism rate so as long as I eat healthy enough (which isn't even all that often) I feel just fine. I am also vegetarian. That has more to do with my simple distaste for how meat tastes than my wanting to stay in shape.

I'm my spare time I love to read a good novel or watch stand up comedy. As a college student, however, I really haven't read a novel for fun in a while because once I get a break from my books, I'm not immediately looking for another one.

The most effective way I keep focused and grounded is by thinking of the future I want for myself and knowing that it won't just be handed to me; I'll have to work hard for it.”

- As told to MBF, 
March 18, 2017.

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