By Carolina Benjumea Rúa
From beauty queen, to reality star, to the leading role in a soap opera, Stellah Nantumbwe, more known as Ellah, has made a name for herself and has made her way to stardom.
With a succesfull TV show that airs on NTV, the former Miss Uganda has trascended and left her beauty peagent days behind to become part of Uganda’s entertainment business. A normal day in her life is on set filming her tv series, Second Chance, that has been running for the last seven months and where she plays the role of Isabel, “it’s been an amazing opportunity and it’s such a high energy environment… I’m so happy to say we have overwhelming support from the viewers and are currently the most watched show on prime time”, she said.
A big show and big success bring along a public image that sometimes is hard to control, even for herself, and is a problem that most of celebrities have to deal with, scandals and most of all, lies and false rumors, what’s her way to stay away from it? Like Ellah said, she prefers keeping her private life in private, but that doesn’t keep people away from making up all kind of crazy stories about her, “I’m always dating, engaged or married to people without my knowledge… I try not to let it bother me too much”. But what about Seya’s son? The latest gossip is that she is dating him, is that rumor truth? According to Ellah it is totally false “I’m not dating Seya’s son. If I ever truly feel the need to share that part of my life with the public, I’d do it on my social media platforms or through my management team”.
However that much popularity comes also with big responsabilites, not everyone has the chance to be in the media everyday, and not everyone has been able to create a strong and powerful voice like celebrities do. Recently we have seen many celebrities involved in organizations and movements that promotes good causes, whether is political, environmental, feminism or other matters, they are using their voice to make a change in the world. When it comes to Ellah she believes that celebrities are obligated to stand for something, “when you’re in the public eye people look up to you, sometimes your opinion can inspire movements. I think if you have been blessed enough to lead, lead with a purpose”.
Ellah assures that the reality of her life might be a little too different than what she has to project in her job or to the public, saying that normally she is very shy, even if it doesn’t seem like she is, and she prefers having a close circle of friends around her, and has no intentions to change that, and with a really loud laugh she also admitted she likes to dance in her free time. In entertainment business might be a little bit tricky to find a balance in life, what’s her key to do that? “a strong support system to keep you levelled”she answered, her mom as her number one fan and her family that have always supported her through her career.
Her childhood dream became truth in 2013 when she was crowned Miss Uganda, and this was also the beginning of her promising career. Beauty pageants have been criticized over the years and have been scrutinized by several organizations claiming that these contests have created false stereotypes for women. An article called “Beauty pageants are embarrassing – even if you name the right winner” written by Jessica Valenti and published by www.theguardian.com says: “The pageants themselves – in addition to the explicitly vacuous swimsuit competition – have policies and rules that make clear women’s worth is very much dependent on her sexuality and ability to perform a narrow model of proper femininity”.
But Ellah, as a former contestant and as someone who lived in her own skin this experience, has a different point of view about it stating “I don’t think beauty pageants only focus on looks; brains and intellect are just as important, that´s why a winner is chosen solely on their ability to answer a question. Beauty with a purpose is the slogan… is a platform to help others”. Being crowned beauty queen comes with a really big responsabilites , specially because they become the international representation of the country, so is also a way to show all the wonders and good things their country has. As the face of Uganda she claims that she would love showing to the world the people of her country, their happiness and adventurous spirit. The diverse eco system and the wildlife the country has, “Uganda is truly the Pearl of África”.
When it comes to goals, she hasn’t stopped dreaming yet, she is still working everyday on new projects and new purposes; we might see her in the future with her own clothing brand, or experiencing new opportunities in other countries. One thing she is sure about is that right now she feels genuinly happy to be doing what she loves.