Nineteen year-old Valentine Nekesa, a part-time designer and model, was on Sunday crowned the winner of the BLAZE BYOB TV show.
She walked away with a grand prize of Sh5 million that includes Sh3 million in capital, and Sh2 million in the form of mentorship, financial advice and business support.
But the niece to the powerful Central Organization of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary General Francis Atwoli still has plans to design the colourful shirts that his uncle dons.
She spoke to Nairobi News on how her fortunes have changed since winning the competition.
How did you feel when you got the call to be one of the contestants of Blaze BYOB?
I can say it was an over whelming moment because when I auditioned, I did not think I will be called. It took a long time for them to contact me and tell me I was that I was one of the contestants. First I thought it was one of those prank calls you get from Kamiti prison, but still deep down I was really happy.
What has changed since you participated in the completion?
I can say the show made me move out of my comfort zone and taught me a lot with things that I thought I could not accomplish in a certain duration. After being crowned the winner, I keep saying, my life is no longer mine, it’s bigger.
What was the most challenging task for you?
Episode one was tough. First I wasn’t acquainted to working and achieving tasks within 48 hours. Besides that I had never worked with a celebrity before, it had its challenges.
The easiest task?
Episode two was my easiest. In the task we had to go out and sell mboga. I can say that was something I could relate to because it was just hawking.
Any fights behind the scenes and was there any romance between the contestants?
Yes we had arguments amongst ourselves. Before we came to an agreement things got thick. About romance, maybe there was, but I didn’t see anything.
Who was the toughest judge?
I would say Judge Trushar Khetia. It is human nature to be a story teller, but judge Khetia is a numbers guy and he wants you to have your facts right and have a certain kind of flow and at the end you will nail it with him.
Caroline Mutoko gave you room to smile and at the same time you still had to deliver.
What’s next for you?
I’m not quitting school. I am not that type of person who starts something and then leaves it along the way. I’m still going to finish school and give a firm ground to V designs.
Advice for young people who want to apply for Blaze BYOB?
If you are thinking of applying, don’t hold back. Go for it, it is totally worth it. Talking out of experience. Apart from learning, you will get so much out of it. The exposure and the contacts, there is a lot you can put in your bag to go home with from the show.