Uthman Issa Bangura: A Global Sensation

When thinking about fashion and modeling in Africa, Uthman Issa Bangura is one name that comes to mind. Uthman’s journey is a remarkable testament to dedication and versatility. Known for his impressive modeling career that spans continents, Uthman has graced the runways in major cities like Lagos, Cape Town, Dubai, Bangkok, Accra, and Istanbul. As the current Mr. Sierra Leone, he represents his country with pride and determination. During the ongoing Mister Supranational competition in Poland, Uthman sat down with our Fashion Editor for an exclusive interview, sharing insights into his extraordinary path, the challenges he’s faced, and his vision for the future.

Uthman’s career highlights include his memorable experience at Lagos Fashion Week 2016. “It was magical. Out of about 1,000 male models, I was one of the 15 selected. I had the honor of walking for all the biggest designers in Africa,” he recalls. Another significant milestone was his first campaign in Europe, which catapulted him to global fame. “As an African model, moving to Europe and landing campaigns is a dream. I was incredibly fortunate to book a campaign that made me super famous globally,” he shares. This campaign was featured in over 400 stores worldwide, solidifying his international presence. His portfolio includes collaborations with major brands such as Defacto, Avva, LC Waikiki, Ecko-UNLTD, Nike, The Given Movement, Ounas, Orange Culture, Atafo, Rich Mnisi, and David Tlale.

Transitioning from modeling to pageantry was unexpected for Uthman. “I never intended to join the pageant community. I was visiting my country three days before the Mr. Sierra Leone show and reached out to one of the organizers to be added to the guest list. Unexpectedly, they proposed that I participate,” he explains. Encouraged by friends, he decided to compete and emerged as Mister Sierra Leone 2022/23. “It was truly a lucky and blessed week for me,” Uthman remarks, noting the recognition and pride it brought to him.

His rise in the fashion industry shows just how truly amazing Uthman is. From the moment he stepped onto the runway, Uthman has demonstrated a remarkable ability to seamlessly transition between different facets of the fashion world. His success is not only measured by the high-profile campaigns and runway shows but also by the respect and admiration he has garnered from peers and industry veterans alike. Uthman’s journey underscores the importance of resilience, passion, and the willingness to embrace new challenges, regardless of the odds.

Representing Sierra Leone on the international stage means a great deal to Uthman. “Being overseas and representing my country gives hope to everyone back home, including the little boy watching and my late younger brother. It’s a reminder that patience and perseverance in pursuing our dreams are truly worth it in life,” he says. Uthman passionately highlights Sierra Leone’s rich heritage at any given opportunity, including its precious diamonds, and loving people.

Living in Istanbul has greatly influenced Uthman’s career. “Istanbul, a city that’s literally at the crossroads of the world, has made everything easier for me. It’s a place where traveling anywhere is convenient,” he says. The city’s rich history and culture inspire him daily to strive for excellence in every facet of his life and career.

“Pageantry requires a more muscular and larger physique, which has caused me to lose some of my regular modeling clients who prefer a slimmer look,” Uthman dives into how he balances both high fashion modeling and pageantry.
“However, I’m adapting and shifting towards more athletic clients now. I’m considering whether to return to my previous body type or maintain this new one after the competition, as I want to ensure I don’t lose all of my clients. I also work very hard to be available to all my clients I strive to meet up to their requirements I believe that is part of been a good professional model” he continues.

Despite these challenges, Uthman remains committed to his vision of using his platform for greater good. He has consistently represented and advocated for Africa throughout his career. His passion for supporting underprivileged children affected by polio and blindness in his community is a driving force behind his work. He aims to provide these children across Africa with basic necessities and enhance their learning with better quality equipment, demonstrating his deep commitment to giving back to his roots.

Uthman emphasizes this further in his interview; “My passion lies in supporting underprivileged children affected by polio and blindness in my community. If I win the competition, it will be my top priority,” he states. Despite his international work, his heart remains with Africa, and he is eager to collaborate with African designers to bring the continent’s fashion to the world.

For young people in Sierra Leone aspiring to pursue modeling or pageantry, Uthman advises patience, self-belief, and perseverance. “My advice is to remain patient, believe in yourself, and trust that everything will unfold at the right time. If you can dream it, there’s more than a 100% chance it can come true,” he encourages.

Looking ahead, Uthman’s goals are clear. “I aspire to collaborate with the UN and support underprivileged children worldwide. Additionally, I hope to launch my fashion brand in European stores, with 20% of its profits benefiting underprivileged children in my community,” he says. Uthman envisions this initiative growing to significantly aid even more people globally.

Uthman’s journey from humble beginnings to global runways to the main stage of one of the biggest male pageants in the world (Mister Supranational) just goes to show that dedication, self belief and passion can be a driving force to success. His story continues to inspire and uplift, representing his country with pride and working tirelessly to make a difference on the international stage. As we pull the curtain on this interview and this article, we want to urge you to support Uthman Issa Bangura for the title of Mister Supranational 2024.