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It will be ok, rough but ok...

My three only photographs of myself as a child.

I am 48, and life has been a very rough rollercoaster. I was not a planned nor a wanted baby so I never felt any pressure to deliver anything because no one was hoping I would achieve grand things. I was invisible and the victim of a young couple shattered dreams. It ingrained in me a feeling of loneliness and sadness, that have accompanied me for so long, I don't even acknowledge them anymore, they're simply part of me. Overall, I think, I finally made up for the things that I have missed as a child and above all I am past them; it was a long, painful process but at some point in my life, I chose me.

Yes, I didn't grow up feeling praised, powerful and bold. I was abused, scared and introverted. By the age of 5, I had seen the worst of the world, by my teenage years I wanted to escape the world and in my early adulthood, I was desperately trying to adapt to the world. The only positive thing that came out of this is my level of resilience, even if sometimes I wonder if it is healthy. It was a long and painful experience all in all, I will spare you the details.

But then I met, my brother, Guy. I say met because, he was indeed there when I was born but 7 years older and we were separated when we were put into care when my parents divorced, I was 7 then and he 14. He was my half brother, my dad's son, so when my mum took us all back after a couple of years, he decided not to follow and stayed into care until he was 18. He would visit us from time to time so I got to see him, know him and I remember his kindness. I wasn't used to people being nice to me. Anyway, I started visiting him around my 16 and we really got to know each other and became the best friends in the world. He opened me up to the world and managed to ease my fears, pushing me to dare and try, praising me, making me feel worth it and loved. He quickly became the parent I had always needed and lacked, the role model that would save me from bad temptations and from hurting myself.

I remember clearly thinking very early that I wasn't supposed to be here, that whoever is responsible for life on Earth had made a terrible mistake, I learnt the word Misfit before understanding it. I was lost. My brother, even if he didn't have all the answers made me feel valued and I started to dream again, to think that I was not that useless, that I could one day become a good person, that I could also, one day, be loved, become a mother, just be. He managed to spread magic in my life without overshadowing me, overprotecting me. He made a great job at helping me become a balanced adult, he knew better than anyone all the pain I had been through but he never let it define me. Until his death, I was childishly carefree, I knew he was there so I simply, genuinely felt safe, nothing scared me, nothing was too big of a challenge. That's a feeling I cherish because I never felt that way as a child.

I often say that my life started at 19, when I left Paris for the U.K., London. I was leaving behind me the pain, the rejection, the missed relationships, I was giving myself a chance and I was terrified but I needed to step out of my comfort zone. I had something valuable, though, the unconditional love of my brother. He gave me with his love the greatest super power: Will. Nothing could stop me as I wanted to live, experiment, dream, build and one day finally feel that I am worth it. I realised not so long ago how blessed I am to have had at least one person on this Earth that loved me unconditionally. My brother passed away on 15 June 2020 and the love he blessed me with all these years gives me the strength everyday not to give up.

I remember telling him my decision of becoming a mature model, he was visiting me here in London and I told him. He looked at me and said something like "Yes, sure" I could have told him that I was planning on becoming an astronaut it would have been the same; he just believed I was capable of anything. I would like to have him now to show him how far I am today. My biggest fear is, I hope I loved him enough.

I am dedicating this blog to my brother Guy Louis Apovo, who not only kept me alive all these years but gave me the will to live and become.

Yes, it has been rough and I have had lows and highs. I grew up on this sentence that my brother told me once: "Yes, you have

suffered and cried a lot in the hands of people that should have loved and protected you. Now, go and live your life and own your tears" It took me a little time to understand what he meant but I think I finally got it. I own my successes and failures, I learn my lessons, I am living my life and not somebody else's. Another thing he used to say: "I do not want my sisters to be anyone's wife" Not that he didn't want me and my sisters to get married but he wanted us to become our own women and mothers but still be accomplished and free. So that's how I have lived so far, owning my successes and failures, that I learnt a lot from, I never make the same mistake twice.

All this, gave me the strength to start it all over at the age of 38, in a city far from my family and friends and with my 2 young daughters. 10 years later, I am so proud today when I look where it took me, how I managed to secure us a good loving home with happy and balanced kids that dream big. So, it is my time, modelling was my plan B until I was made redundant in August 2020. I had always said that by the age of 50 it would become my plan A so being laid off a little bit in advance was a blessing in disguise. I will never have to run to castings again during my lunch breaks or say no to great jobs because I cannot have days off work.

It has not been the best start as everything is happening in the middle of a pandemic but am I surprised? No, as this is the story of my life, nothing has ever been easy for me, from birth to today, so I tend to just go with it and do my best. My worst nightmare happened and I am still standing so I am definitely capable of anything. Today, I am getting more and more attention and I have become the queen of self tapes (digital casting) I am being booked for bigger jobs and I believe that if I am working now during the pandemic I will do better after. I have a plan and a vision to where I want to get and I am not resting until I get there. Of course, I would love for my path to be a little bit easier but even after everything I have been through, the love I have from my family and friends keeps me going. I often think that without love you have nothing and I now have plenty.

So, let's see where this new adventure leads me, shall we?


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