Monday, November 16, 2020


 By Eva Fydrych

Photo courtesy of Nini Amerlise 

"I believe we all have been predestined to inherit greatness by actively making the effort daily to be the best versions of ourselves." - Nini Amerlise

Nini Amerlise — Canadian model, actress, TV host, author, motivational speaker, and founder of We Are Royals  is a truly inspirational person with lots of professional achievements, beautiful personality, charisma, and positive energy. That's why we decided to invite Nini to our ongoing Interview Series "8 Questions With..." and asked her to share some of the most interesting life and career stories with Fashion Studio Magazine readers. Enjoy and get inspired!

FASHION STUDIO: Could you tell us a bit more about We Are Royals? What is the concept behind your organization and how it all started? 

NINI: We Are Royals is a nonprofit organization, it is a prestigious platform designed to cater towards the needs of the young generation of future leaders. Enabling further development of self-esteem and confidence through the elements of Arts and Culture, thus unlocking purpose from within. Our aim is to give a voice to the young Royal who wants the opportunity to share their story through their favourite art form to inspire, encourage and represent true authenticity. Regardless of race or geographical position. 

We are on the constant search for real people with real stories, as I believe it’s through honest transparency that will help to encourage our fellow young kings and queens worldwide to push through when one may feel discouraged igniting new resilience to push through. During the journey, all of us face adversity and hardships of some sort. However, it's how we persevere that will determine our outcome. My team and I have facilitated workshops, seminars and online packages to help youths and young adults to pursue their potential. 

Photo courtesy of Nini Amerlise (Click to enlarge)

The concept was birthed out of my own hardships as a child, I was able to recover after many years of bullying, domestic abuse, anorexia nervosa and a series of mental health struggles through much guidance and mentorship, to now conquering the fashion industry as an 9-time award winning Canadian Supermodel, international motivational speaker, author, model consultant and now founder of We Are Royals inc. I came to place in my life that realized it was through arts in culture that allowed me to rise above the mundane scope that could have been my life, is was a tool that helped save my life and I believe it’s time to give back, on a new quest to search for a new generation of leaders! Walk with Purpose, Rise to Your Destiny #WeAreRoyals

FASHION STUDIO: How about your modelling career? What do you consider your biggest success so far? What were the highlights of your career? 

NINI: One thing I had to realize that nothing is by accident in life, as there is always a purpose behind everything that takes place. My modelling career is one of the biggest blessings I could have asked for on this journey, as it was the very tool used to switch my life around. It taught me about confidence, resilience, perseverance, the importance of networking and building relationships. In addition, it increased my love for the arts as It was the very foundation that set the tone for the next phase towards a successful future. 

Photo courtesy of Nini Amerlise 

Photo courtesy of Nini Amerlise  

I can easily name a number of successes that took place while being in the industry, one of them was winning season 1 of “Supermodel Canada” in 2017, a competition easily compared to primetime TV series America’s Next Top Model. After the show cancellation of the original Canadian edition in 2009, Canada lacked a model platform of such a caliber. However the launch of the SMC series gave models a new hope, and winning the competition was quite surreal at first, as I didn't understand how an individual like myself could win first place, in addition to being celebrated in history as the inaugural winner. I am a tall dark African Canadian woman, quirky, with sporadic outbursts of giggles, I have a huge afro reminding me that of foxy Cleopatra, with a broad nose and full lips. I simply wasn’t the traditional depiction of beauty in the media, however that “a-ha” moment took place where I finally began to realize I was no longer defined by societic terms, nor my past challenges of rejection and hurts, there was beauty birthing from behind the scars. The caterpillar wanted to spread her wings and there laid the path towards a new venture. A bright future filled with gratitude and unknown possibilities, all I needed to do was to take the leap of faith. 

I began to reflect on my faith and personal relationship with God, I believe it’s the achor which keeps me grounded. My perception of humanity towards racial prejudices or judgment of character are practically non existent. After my rebirth of self discovery, I understood that we’re all on a growing journey trying to find who we are. A lot of my morals and values are formally based upon the principles of love. I refuse to conform to worldly biases, as everyone deserves a chance to express themselves enabling self-development. I make the intentional effort to show others compassion, which has allowed my life experiences to feel so much more fulfilling. It's truly been a blessing, as I’ve realized through personal observation that when giving respect and treating others as family without traditional sigma's, has translated into the primary core for my successes in the industry. It is very important to treat industry professionals with a relational approach, rather than minimizing the network experience as an opportunity ticket to upgrade or expand one’s career. I believe building authentic and genuine relationships, whether long- or short-term, all serves a purpose for growth. 

Looking into the general scoop of the model & entertainment journey it’s amazing to know that I have won Nine Awards since my humble beginnings competing and barely being noticed at the Face of African Fashion Week back in 2014, to continue further receiving exposure on notable platforms including New York Fashion Week, Glamour magazine, the Daily Mail UK, Huffington Post, and FLARE, Pink Polo Runway in South Africa, WWD, Hype Hair magazine, CTV Diversity in Fashion panel, Men's Health Magazine , Won the “Stitched” TV series, January 2020 honoured with the title “ Best Canadian Model ” by, following with the win in March 2020 as the recipient of the AFRIFAMU award for my philanthropy work, held in Los Angeles, I simply couldn't fathom the success, what seemed impossible became my reality. To now being able to successfully establish a nonprofit organization “We Are Royals” my life has completely changed and the trajectory to focus on others rather than myself has become primary; recognizing the bigger picture at hand. 

Photo courtesy of Nini Amerlise 

Photo courtesy of Nini Amerlise 

FASHION STUDIO: How do you see the current fashion and art landscape in Canada? What are your predictions for the future? 

NINI: What I love about the fashion industry in Canada is the infancy of how long it's been around in comparison to our fellow neighbour the USA. Canada has the opportunity to develop and try new things all while setting a new standard. We must provide a fair opportunity to reach new heights while being intentional to include authentic inclusivity of all diversity towards our Canadian talent, ultimately looking beyond our skin colour and into the core of what we represent.

I do believe Canadian fashion needs to open its boundaries to interchange with foreign countries and integrate cross collaboration with growing designers and talent, enabling inspiration and growth from an international scope. In exchange it would bring forth the right attraction from the right people to come on board and potentially invest into the Canadian Arts, growing our niche as a whole. I feel that there's a lot of restrictions in creative freedom on how we curate projects and select talent, which then produces a negative response from the viewers who would like to be a part of what we do. Forcing many creatives to seek elsewhere and leave behind our “home and native land” in hopes to find better opportunities. In a nutshell collaboration is the key, being open to change and testing out new ideas will allow a ripple effect towards a thriving fashion industry in Canada. 

Photos courtesy of Nini Amerlise (Click to enlarge)

FASHION STUDIO: Why do you think showing the right example and taking leadership roles is especially important these days?

NINI: The importance of great leadership is so crucial since we are spending more time indoors and resorting to social media to interact. With social media we know there is a bombardment of information that can be overwhelming if not navigated properly. We literally absorb everything we watch via our phone or laptop and in many cases it is the first thing we look at when we wake up, which sets the tone for the rest of the day. If our eye gates are filled with the vanity of the world, displaying perfected images and content, we then begin to want to emulate and desire such things which can do more harm than good. 

For me, I like to meditate on positive scriptures and quotes the moment I open my eyes in the morning. Studies have shown that one’s thoughts are shaped within the first 5-10 minutes of day, setting the tone on how the rest of the day will proceed. This is where I find leadership is necessary, after I finish my meditations in the morning I go to social media and share either quotes, video or pictures to serve as a tool of empowerment and encouragement. Further giving my followers an opportunity to connect with a similar wave of positivity, bringing forth a sense of alignment and mental recalibration. 

As a leader it is so important to know that I have a responsibility to grow and steward more leaders towards a path of inevitable success and alignment. Sharing all the tools and knowledge I know to build others to get to new heights that supersede where I am today. The objective is to keep our mind focused toward our goals, and with the right leadership one's vision can be made effective. Great leadership not only helps us to realign ourselves to reflect on who we are, it also enables the understanding that we are not alone and that there is somebody out there that wants to help. We shine brighter with the right accountability letting our true uniqueness come forth. 

Photo courtesy of Nini Amerlise 

Photo courtesy of Nini Amerlise  

FASHION STUDIO: Describe your typical day. What's your morning routine? How do you stay organized and motivated? Could you share any useful time management tips? 

NINI: During isolation my daily routine consists of me waking up with a sense of gratitude, I connect with God by meditating on scriptures, I then speak positive affirmations to myself of the great things I believe I am and will become. I make an intentional effort to speak in the present and future tense, by declaring truths of my identity; “Calling those things that be not as though they were - Romans 4:17”, is a scripture I love to reflect upon. It internally activates a conducive mindset to not think about past behaviours and constantly rehearsing the things I’ve done wrong, rather I chose to push beyond the status quo as I believe we all have been predestined to inherit greatness by actively making the effort daily to be the best versions of ourselves. I then write down my visions and plans for upcoming projects and goals. I actively work on them with my team and mentors to stay in alignment. Connect with the family in the household or and before my break up I would video chat my partner to see how he’s doing. I tend to make many calls from time to time to stay connected to members, friends and colleagues. I shower, eat, and before the night is over, I reflect, pray and sleep. 

Organization and time management is essential for maintaining peace and harmony between work and home, as it can be draining if overdone and not balanced. Learning structure is a principle every human must learn to master to further instil a stable and functioning life. 

FASHION STUDIO: Who are your favourite motivational speakers? Could you recommend some online resources or books for Fashion Studio Magazine readers? 

NINI: I have quite a few good reads from motivational speakers I look up to! Speaker Lisa Nichols is also an author and her recent books “No Matter What” and “Abundance of Now” speak about the remarkable journey of how to develop spiritual and personal training we need to bounce back from life speed bumps. I also enjoy motivational speaker Les Brown. His book “ Live Your Dreams” provides his personal formula for success and happiness with positively charged thoughts and guidance of examples to help you focus on specific goals and achieve them all, with one simple powerful message that we may not always be in control what is put in our path but we can always control what we are and what we will become! Last but not least Oprah Winfrey is a woman I look up to and model my life after, she's not only an TV host, entrepreneur, actress, author and producer for her own TV network, she is also a philanthropist and has a heart for humanity making her a beautiful role model and leader to many generations. 

Photo courtesy of Nini Amerlise  

Photo courtesy of Nini Amerlise  

Photo courtesy of Nini Amerlise 

FASHION STUDIO: What happiness means to you? How to lead a fulfilling and positive life?

NINI: What happiness looks like to me is being 100% unapologetically who we are at all times. No facade, just raw in accepting the process towards excellence. The beauty in my imperfections causes me to challenge myself towards greater heights. The joy in witnessing my flaws allows me to appreciate the process of growth, not forcing myself to be different but allowing the wisdom I learn to mold me. I celebrate connecting with others, the human relationship opens the door to discover new things about one's character that we may not have known. I am learning to love without expectations and to forgive when it feels almost impossible to. Human beings need each other to have a joy filled life, we are the answers to many prayers. We collectively make up an amazing art piece designed for a purpose. When we can truly find ourselves, we live a life worth living! Love yourself the way you’ve been created, your uniqueness is the special antidote the world is looking for. Love others without judgement, spend time and appreciate every second of each day. Connect, meet new people, share new ideas and develop together, that's true happiness to me. 

FASHION STUDIO: What's next for We Are Royals? What is your ultimate goal for the organization? 

NINI: The We Are Royals platform aims to utilize creative arts and culture as a means to connect Royals with their peers in a wholesome, non-judgemental and interactive environment. Providing a safe space to heal from past scars, insecurities, shame and possible mental health concerns, ultimately aligning oneself to see the birthing of greatness take place. We Are Royals offers much gain for every Royal who registers. Offering an array of accessibilities such as workshops, seminars, excursions, achievement awards, Giveaways, career advisement and objectives, ambassador positions, TV opportunities and much more. We’ve partnered with leading experts in the field of health care, creative arts, and spirituality to create a program that meets the needs of each Royal to further overcome varying issues, thus unlocking the best versions of who they are. 

As the founder of the organization, my goal is to give back as I realized the right mentorship sets us up for success, after many years of healing and mental recalibration. The Arts was the vehicle that helped me reconnect with who I was, and this is something I lacked while growing up. Using the elements of Arts and culture, I have facilitated workshops, seminars and online packages to help youths connect and relate to the world around us, prompting the reality of how similar we are as a humanity and that we all face challenges of some sort, but it's all about how we get back up, dusting off the set backs to finally pursue one’s destiny! What I love most about the company is the integration of diversity, there is much unity and love in a very transparent environment, where Royals can freely express themselves while sharing their unique story in a creative way and I believe that's what sets us apart! 

FASHION STUDIO: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions!

Photo courtesy of Nini Amerlise 

Photo courtesy of Nini Amerlise 

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*Photography: Andreas Schönke Photography | Lefu Photo | SN Photography

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