Hometown: Vancouver, BC
Languages: English, Nuer
Occupation: Model, Actress, Spokesperson, Mentor
Dynamic, resilient, persistent, and full of life; this is how those who know her best would describe Nova. However, asked to describe herself, Nova would emphasize resiliency and the power of faith in being able to change your circumstances. After her family fled a brutal civil war in South Sudan, Nova was sent alone to Canada at age 6 to be able to have a better life.
Leaving behind her mother in a UN camp in South Sudan and her father and siblings in Ethiopia, Nova uses her new chance at life in Canada as a driving factor in her mission to provide mentorship and support to children and youth in need.
By the young age of 15, with the help of the Youth Transition program in Alberta, she had already forged a life for herself: living independently, finishing school and learning the importance of guidance for youth. At age 18 she earned the manager position for the program because of her maturity and her drive to give back. Being separated from her family and growing up without her parents in Canada, Nova is acutely aware of the importance of fostering healthy development of children and youth from all walks of life. While continuing to work towards reuniting her family, she is continuously looking for opportunities to serve young Canadians as she is so grateful for the opportunities that being Canadian has given her. She is a youth mentor with the YWCA and a spokesperson for the Keep6ix program to help underprivileged youth who have been wrongly convicted to go on to live a constructive life.
Growing up, Nova shined as a natural leader. Having been involved with youth leadership programs throughout high school, she championed the importance of education for youth and helped their families foster that environment. She has always believed in the importance of a balanced and healthy lifestyle to promote both mental and physical wellness. As such she has always excelled in sport, competing competitively in volleyball, track and field, and basketball. This led to a full basketball scholarship out of high school. She continues to maintain an active lifestyle and practices mindfulness to remain focused on her goals – which, as you can imagine, are as big as her personality!
Through her persistence and disciplined goal setting she has become a published international model working in the fashion capitals of New York, Paris and Milan. Currently, she is SuperModel Canada’s 2017 1st runner up. Nova can be seen on the cover of Jamaque magazine’s latest fall issue. She is currently working as a model and actress who can be found in commercials for Dairy Queen, Toyota Corolla and Macy’s. Nova’s smile can light up any room and her charisma has established her as a sought after spokesperson for Keep6ix organization.
Nova looks forward to bringing her confidence and passion to the Miss Universe stage this year. While continuing to give back, she also hopes to use this opportunity to shine a light on the issue of families displaced and separated by conflict. Most importantly, she hopes that winning the title and your hearts would encourage other young African Canadians and people of colour to see the beauty in themselves.
What are your interests and what do you enjoy doing the most?
I have a myriad of interests so it’s hard to narrow it down to just a few. I consider myself “a lover of life” simply because I can find joy in all things. Especially when it comes to traveling; which is one of my greatest passions because it allows you to explore the world while learning new cultures. In my opinion, this is one of the best ways one can truly learn different aspects of themselves. When I’m not immersing myself in different cultures, you can find me at the beach with a book in hand, or meditating. I believe it is important to live an active and healthy lifestyle; which should include a good balance of mind, body and soul. To achieve that balance I lead a healthy vegan lifestyle and enjoy hiking, swimming, running and being pushed to my limits by my trainer (sometimes). In addition, I can’t deny my passion for fashion. Fashion, has all ways been a huge part of my life. Whether it’s being on the runway, playing dress up for photoshoots or using it as a tool to express my individuality. One of my favourite quotes by the one and only Coco Chanel “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening” this to me sums up what fashion represents. Lastly, I truly enjoy giving back to the community that helped raise me in any way that I can while mentoring youth that need that extra support in their life
List any special training you have had (music, art, drama, dance, etc.)
- Public speaking
- Track and field
In what sports, if any, have you participated?
Naturally, I am an athlete and have grown up playing volleyball, track and field and basketball. My athleticism has lead to me receiving a basketball scholarship in highschool, which led to me playing for the SAIT Trojans.
Name one person, other than your parents, who has had the most influence on your life. Why?
It’s difficult to name only “one” person. Coming from a war torn country; I was separated from my family at a very young age, and didn’t have the chance to grow up with them.
However, I’ve been blessed to have amazing friends and mentors whom I consider family. Which leads me to say, family isn’t always based on biology rather a feeling of love and reciprocity.
What is your proudest personal accomplishment (other than participating in this pageant)?
I am very proud of the woman I’ve become and my accomplishments thus far. Some of my proudest accomplishments include: Receiving a basketball scholarship, Being 1st runner up at Super model Canada 2017, living in Paris and Milan for modeling and currently being a spokesperson for keep6ix organization
What is the most interesting or unique thing that has ever happened to you and/or what is the most interesting thing about you?
I was recently nominated for African fashion week “Raising star” award which I had no idea I was being nominated for, or who nominated me for that matter. As I was answering these questions, I asked one of my bestfriends this same question and her response was “you love pranks, you live for April fools” I guess you can consider that to be unique and interesting.
What is your career ambition and what are you doing or plan to do to accomplish that goal?
When it’s all said and done, I want to leave a legacy of love, philanthropy and impact. I think the first key to success is knowing what you want, once you know what you want then you can orchestrate a plan on how to achieve it. As of right now, my focus is on Miss Universe Canada as it is in the path towards achieving my other goals. MUC will open more doors for myself and young girls of color. In preparation I am training and seeking mentorship from the most valuable people.
What would be your “dream job” in life?
My dream job would be to be to continue to be a model and actress while pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors. I believe that the entertainment industry gives you a big platform with vast opportunities that allows you to change and impact lives. I want to encourage other young people of colour to pursue their dreams in industries where we are under represented. Ultimately, I want to have a non profit organization that helps unprivileged youth lead a positive lifestyle as it is close to home for me.
Describe where you were raised and what your childhood was like.
My childhood wasn’t quite average or the norm per se. I moved to Canada with a family member and lived with various family members up until I was 15, which is when I moved out on my own. My decision to move out on my own and live independently stemmed from the fact that I did not want to continue to live in a negative environment. Energy is very important and I realized that at a very young age. Things aren’t always easy, but ultimately we are in control of the people we decide to surround ourselves with.
List any interesting or unusual jobs you may have had.
I was 18 and was hired by a third party debt collection company. Ironically, I was the number 1 debt collector in North America during my tenure with the company. That would probably be my most unusual job.
List any volunteering you have done.
- Operation Smile
- SOS childrens villages
- Keep6ix organization
- Calgary Alpha house
What is your most unusual talent?
I can sing any song in a baby’s voice as well as make my left thumb dance.
Where is the most interesting place you have been to?
Modelling has allowed me to travel the world and explore different cultures. That being said, I have travelled to NYC, Milan, Paris and the South of France where I jumped into the Mediterranean Sea and swam in a large body of water for the first time! Prior to that I didn’t know how to swim and had a fear of deep ends, but that summer I decided to conquer my fear and just do it! I think we should all work on conquering our fears as it inhibits us.
What do you hope to be doing in ten years?
On paper ten years seems like a long time from now but in reality, its really not that far from today! That being said, in ten years I envision myself having succeeded in my careers and business endeavors as well as having a nonprofit organization for unprivileged kids. Nonetheless, I am open to whatever opportunity the universe grants me as I believe life is full of surprises and that’s the beauty of it.
Is there anything you would like to add that we haven’t asked?
To me, winning this title means: showing the world that there isn’t an “ideal” beauty, we are all beautiful regardless of colour, shade, shape, physical attributes or what ever construct society has created to be considered “more beautiful “. It is time to show the world the true beauty of Canada, which lies within our diverse culture and love for one another. Most importantly, I want to encourage young girls of colour to see themselves as beautiful, regardless of what society considers as “beautiful” I want them to see my image and think that they too can compete for Miss Universe Canada and win despite being African with dark skin and non Eurocentric features. We are all beautiful when are authentically ourselves.