Ornella Kondo is an aspiring stylist in Ottawa, CA, and I'm proud to call one of my good friends and sister in Christ. She moved to Canada at the tender age of six from Congo straight to our great Capital Ottawa, CA. She is one of eight siblings, and has a huge love and passion for fashion. Ornella is definitely someone to look out for in the fashion industry! And I am without a doubt confident that she will make her own mark into the fashion world.
What do you do?
I’m currently a student at Algonquin College and I am studying Law Clerk and I work part-time at Nordstrom as a stylist in the shoe department. I’m an aspiring stylist; I have a blog called faith and fashion. The faith section is about my faith and, I’m a Christian and I talk about God and I encourage fellow Christians in what they are going through. The fashion section is me showcasing my personal style to everybody, and that way they can see the way that I dress, and eventually they will reach out to me and they will want me to shop for them, and style them.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I don’t like spicy food, I’m from Kongo and Africans love spicy foods. I’m so sorry but I just can’t do that lol.
What does being an entrepreneur mean to you?
For me it means being your own boss, but in order to become your own boss you need to first get the experience for working for someone else in order to see how they treat you and others. If you had a bad experience and was mistreated you will always know how that felt and won’t do that to someone else. Being creative and just sky’s the limit, don’t let people discourage you, you always need to stay positive no matter what. Never being afraid to reach out because that was me before, before I started blogging I remember just always creeping people on Instagram and bloggers and always telling myself “OMG I would love to style people”. I was so shy at first, I’m naturally a shy person but then this year I told myself okay Ornella if you want to become a stylist you need to start somewhere. So that’s when I started blogging and eventually I started reaching out to people, a bunch of local stylist in Ottawa. That really pushed me and opened doors, I’m so thankful for that.
When did you know you wanted to pursue what your doing now?
I knew since high school, well to be honest since I was younger than that, age ten to be exact lol. I remember telling myself I want to become a model when I grow up, but with having African parents they weren’t going to accept that. So I told myself “you know what, one day one day lol”. My passion for fashion really started in high school, and I remember being in grade eleven and always waking up early in the morning just to find my outfits, and plan my outfits the night before. I would always tell myself “you need to look good” lol, not to impress people but for me, it makes me feel good. Also, when I was younger my mother would always dress my siblings and I well, and she would say to always look presentable because you never know who you are going to meet. So in a way I kind of got that from her as well.
What keeps you inspired?
My brother, he’s a DJ right now in Montreal and he literally started from the bottom. He graduated from Ottawa in grade 12, and he went to Montreal for school. He wasn’t in school for a bit, so he started to DJ as a hobby and he eventually got so much better that now he’s getting gigs from left to right. Not to long after he went back to school and still continued DJing. He is always on the grind, and always hustling and he always just encourages me. He gives me serious talks, great advice, and is always behind me and encouraging me.
Do you have a mentor?
My brother for sure! He gives me the best advice, and is really always there for me.
Do you recommend a mentor?
For sure omg obviously! At first you won’t know what to do and you obviously need not necessarily an older person but somebody who has experience. It can be in a different field than you are in, but you need a mentor to tell you what it is. It’s a cold world out there, it’s intense so you need somebody that is behind you, pushing you, encouraging you and letting you know how things are. What to say when you meet people, because its serious.
Where do you see yourself/your business in the next 5-10 years?
I see myself meeting new people/clients, and eventually having my own business in styling people. Whether it’s from personal shopping, or image consultant. That’s where I would love to be, helping them how to dress, guiding them, and just whatever their needs are regarding fashion I’m there! I want to be there go to person.
What advice would you give to someone that is trying to pursue his or her dream?
Don’t be shy to reach out to people! I keep repeating this because that’s how I was. I used to be so shy but this year I definitely learned to not be shy and reach out. You need to reach out to people if you want people to know who you are and what you do, you need to reach out to people. Go to events, search on Google, connect with people from where you are, and for me that is Ottawa.
Why do you love what you do?
I love what I do because it makes me really happy. I feel good, and not just about myself, I love seeing other people happy. In terms of styling I like seeing people look good and they are happy obviously because they look good. Not just to impress other people, but it’s good for them and builds their confidence from zero to one hundred. It’s all about happiness!
Who is your motivation to keep going?
I would say my mom because she is a hard worker, and she came here in 1998 alone and then we all followed her, and she was a nurse back home and had to basically start her schooling all over again when she moved here. She went to College here, and at the same time she was taking care of eight kids, and working full-time! I just want to work hard to take care of her eventually. She’s still working now, she is just great!
If you had the opportunity to work/collaborate with someone, who would it be and why?
Beyonce! I would love to style her. All of you know that I am a Christian, and a part of my blog is about faith, and the purpose of that was to show people that even as a Christian you can dress well, and on fleek! Lol. I would love to work with someone like Beyonce to tweak and style her up more modestly, but still look really good.
What is the one thing you cannot leave the house with, minus your cell phone?
My purse! That way I can put in whatever I want.