Korto Momolu and other rambles

I've always loved Fridays on DSTV. For me that's when the series channel unveils the priceless jewels: reality shows of different types. My favourites are Top Chef, Shear Genius, Wife Swap, Janice Dickinson Modelling Academy, Trading Spouses, and now, Project Runway.

This will be the 2nd season of Project Runway I'm seeing on DSTV, but it's the first time I am actually paying full attention, all because of a girl called Korto Momolu. Korto was one of the contestants on Season 5 of Project Runway. She's a Liberian-American, but more the former than the latter. The first time I saw her I did not pay much attention to her, especially as I thought she was quite solemn and intense, but when they did a wide shot with her back to the camera , I did a double-take. Meeeeenn, that girl has got booooty! Not the South African version that makes it seem the lady stole it from someone twice her size, but the West African-meets- stripper type. She wore one of these pants where the waistband is as high as the stomach, on that she wore a singlet and over that a flimsy shrug. To me she was as gorgeous as - no, much more beautiful than- any super model. Seeing that lady was for me an epiphany, a testimony to all I secretly believed, but never dared to dream, about beauty and attitude. Now, I'm not gay, so to make you understand my dramatic reaction to Korto, I have to take you down memory lane. (Yeah,yeah)

I've always struggled with weight. All my life I was the big girl. As a teenager it was a huge problem for me, especially with the girls. I was the outcast, the one who could never do anything right (but I think I have spoken of all that before). With guys it wasn't so much a problem becasue facially I was, and still am, very pretty; but I noticed that it was much older guys - and some shameless older men- that were attracted to me. This bothered me a lot , then I went for youth service, and the grueling 3 or 4 weeks in ccamp, proved the tonic my body needed. I discovered I had legs, and a fantastic figure, girls wanted to be my friend. And the men did too. I was literally inundated with proposals and toasters and 'well-wishers', so much so that sometimes I would lock myself in the room, and pretend to have travelled. And it did not help that I served in a military base: military men cannot see a girl and walk past. Anyway, after service I got a job and met with the same reaction from men, until, gradually, due to a lack of exercise, the weight came slowly back, and (as far as I am concerned) the attention waned. ( I understand now that as much as weight does make one age, my self esteem was certainly very low, and I needed a lot of superficial aids to provide confidence.) Since then I had gone into a battle to bring back that attention and -maybe- the love. Now, although I would embark on a diet or an exercise regimen hoping for a dramatic drop from a size 14/16 to a 10, in my subconscious I always wanted to be a 14. i've never really liked skinny girls, I've always had a booty, and, as a testmony to the goodness of God in my life, my boobs developed in equal proportion to my sexiness. LOL. I didn't honestly think you needed to be skinny to be beautiful, but I also wasn't fully convinced that big could be beautiful .( Yes, I know: Monique and Jennifer Hudson and Queen Latifah, but I wasn't convinced. I didn't get it.)

Also, turning 32 (in June) has been hard for me. I feel old, really old. I know it is unreasonable but I just was so unhappy about coming to this age. I needed to know that it wasn't the end of the road for me or my achievements.

Now, I have this friend who exclaims whenever she sees me in my cleavage-baring or booty hugging clothes. She just goes 'hey! Na wa o. You want to give these men heart attack'? I used to just think she was exaggerating or being a prude, especially given the fact that she is a devout moslem. But when I saw Korto Momolu, I finally got it. Big can be sexy, really sexy. and confident. And attractive. And great!!! And all that at the age of 33 - at least as at when she was on the show. I thought it was only me that felt this way, but I googled the girl's name and found that people paid attention to that booty. Even this interview by E! online was a tribute to the booty.

Just because of how Korto affected me, I began to pay special attention to the Season 5 show. And I found that this lady, apart from being talented, modest, self-effacing and brilliantly creative, was a mother and a wife. I googled more about her and found that behind all that beauty and depth was a real story. Korto, as I said before is Liberian. She was born to Liberian parents. When she was a teenager, I think, her parents sent her and her siblings to Canada to school. A few years later, the war in Liberia broke out, and, because her father was a government official, he was a prime target for the rebels. Korto's parents had to pack up and leave the country, seeking assylum in the US. That was how she moved to the US and to tough times. Her parents had to buy a house with that last of what they had, because it's not as if they could liquidate their property before they fled the country, so you can imagine that it was a struggle for them to live at that time. The war lasted over 10 years, until the recent peace moves and new government it has witnessed. Then to crown it all, upon Korto's success in Project Runway - she came 2nd but was named fan favourite, and won $10000- the President of Liberia, Ellen Sirleaf- Johnson, invited her to Liberia to design a dress for her. Can you beat that?

So Korto Momolu is my new hero. If Project Runway is your thing she's still on for now, so we can all watch my new love. And when I go to the US I'm definitely looking for her. Talk about inspiration.



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