Lydia Nnenna Obute is an Austrian born Nigerian model and actress, best known for being the winner of the season three of Austria’s Next Topmodel in 2011. Born to Igbo parents, Obute was born in Lower Austria.
Prior to her participation on AtNTM, she had some experience as a model walking for fashion designer Thang De Hoo.
She’s currently in the country to make an impact on the nation’s modelling industry as well as give back to the society especially in the area of giving quality education to young ones. She shares her mission in the country with Kehinde Ajose.
While I was 15, a friend of mine modeling works. I got some high heel shoes from someone because I didn’t have one at that time, and got prepared for the show. I accompanied her to the competition, not knowing that I was going to be selected for the competition. Eventually, I made it to the top finals.
I later emerged winner of the contest. After I won it, I didn’t have words to describe my feelings. I initially applied during the Season one of the competition, but I was not selected because I was too young then to apply for the competition.
So, during the second season, I was so scared as I said to myself, “You know Lydia, you are a black girl and you want to win a show like that, forget it.” At that point, I decided to give it a shot for the third time, and see what happens. Surprisingly, I emerge victoriously.
It was amazing when it happened because I never thought I could be crowned Austria’s Next Top Model .On the flipside , there is the personal development that comes with winning such a competition and being relevant in that industry.
Later, my careerbegan to blossom and I had to meet a lot of people who necessarily didn’t like me .This made me thick-skinned. People are so quick to judge you based on your looks in that industry. If you don’t know how to be resilient about these things, they can actually frustrate you.
I got my first role in a movie in Austria. I was tricked into acting by my agency who actually set me up. They asked me if I can sing and I replied them, saying I can’t. A few days later, they sent me a script.
I actually thought the script was meant for a TV commercial. So, when I got there after memorizing my lines and they asked to sing, which I did to their surprise. But few days later, they called me I had gotten the role. I was dumbfounded as I asked:’Role for what’?
It was while on set that I had an idea of what I was meant to do. I had an acting coach who told me what I had to do. It was then that I realized acting is actually fun.
African women are living their dreams? To be honest, I see a lot of African women craving for men that are already living large. They just plan their lives into those men’s lifestyles. I was raised by a mother who is very strong and she also runs a restaurant in Vienna. The women around me are mostly strong and I think that is what every woman needs to grow up with, being around strong women who can serve as role models to other young women.
When I opted for modeling, the first question I was asked was; How about your education? Because I was very young. It was important for my mum that I still go to school no matter what happens. We agreed on this issue while I was growing up. My parents are always concerned about my well being. They ensure that I am cool and comfortable anywhere I am.
I am self-critical. I don’t think I will ever be satisfied .I just want to give my best in whatever I set my mind to do .I will just love to do as much as I can to be honest.
Asides modeling and acting, I am also involved in philanthropy. I studied Advertising and Marketing at the University of Greenwich , London
As a woman, it’s always a nice thing when you get compliment from anyone. It doesn’t matter who the person is, that’s something you learn to appreciate as a woman. Why would you want to live with no compliments? I appreciate compliments.
I haven’t reached a point where I felt I don’t want to this anymore. This is because in this industry you meet so many people on a different basis everyday .
There is no day like the other, so there is always a mixture of the highs and the lows especially with acting as well .In acting, you are always being given different roles. My acting teacher calls it just living truthfully within different characters. So it’s just something that you are grateful for.
As one of the most-sought-after models, I will love to make an impact on the Nigerian modeling industry with the skills I have gained . I will love to work with more girls and just to give all I have.
I don’t know what the future holds but it’s definitely a yes! I will want to be part of the Nigerian movie industry. I grew up watching Nigerian movies. I will like to work with Genevieve Nnaji. She’s my idol.
On the new project I am working on. In a few weeks time, I and my team are planning to visit some schools here in Nigeria with the Back To School project that I mentioned .That will be definitely one of my greatest achievements. I can’t wait to see the looks on the kids’ faces.
Any time,I come to Nigeria with my family, it’s always about family on vacation. So, this time around, I decided to come back home on my own. It’s also about giving back to society, and being more involved in the things that concerns my roots.
I thought the best way to do that will be working with kids. I love working with kids and I thought it will be a nice idea to go to schools and impact on the students not just with gifts, but also, with such skills that will help to equip them ahead of future challenges.
I find it appalling when children do not have access to education. In the Austrian tradition, when kids are going back to school, they are being equipped with a pack of gifts which contain educational materials they will need in school. So, I am thinking of sharing a lot of the Back To School bags in schools.
I was told not to come to Nigeria . But each time, I’m in Nigeria, I always do things with my family and usually I don’t follow my mind. This time, I decided it’s about time for me to make an impact on the entertainment industry in Nigeria.