Patricia Opio: An Inspiring Ugandan Creative Journey

Patricia Opio

Meet Multi-talented Creative Patricia Opio

Patricia Opio is a proud African girl who eats, sleeps, and breathes Design, Storytelling, and the Creative economy. She is the founder of the creative brand, This Is Me.

The young Ugandan creative states, “It has been a long and somewhat lonely journey trying to figure out what I love and what to do with my life. I never fit in the ‘box’ so I did what any self-respecting multi-passionate person does. I blew up the box! Now I have started on a journey, getting to that place where I can boldly proclaim, “This Is Me!”. Whilst on this journey, I navigate the bends and dips as a creative purposepreneur, creativity coach, storyteller, designer, and creative consultant…. Well, This Is Me!”

Her passion for storytelling comes from her father. “My earliest memory was when I was 3 or 4 years old and I had fallen sick in the middle of the night. I remember crying in pain, so my dad carried me out to a baby stroller and decided to push me in the streets late at night. I was in so much pain as I was in a sickle cell crisis and he did not know what to do so he decided to tell me a story. I can’t even describe what happened, but my mind switched from concentrating on the pain to listening to his story. Before I knew it, I had fallen asleep and was waking up the next day with no pain.

To date when I fall sick, the first thing I ask my friends and family is if they can tell me a story. That is the power of storytelling for me. It has the power to heal, to transport you to a place of peace. I love hearing people’s story. They make me so happy. I can spend hours just listening to people’s dreams and aspirations. It makes me want to be part of their journey.”

On how, This Is Me came to be, “It is a story of discovering myself as a creative. For so long, I did not consider myself a creative. I have always been passionate about creativity and the creative economy, but I thought I would be the patron. You know, the rich lady that bankrolls the creative. I guess it was because growing up if you were not a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, you were not serious and would not amount to anything. This played havoc on my mind however much I loved the arts.

Later in life when I went through an emotional meltdown, creativity is what saved me and slowly I started dabbling in creative pursuits and finally led me to a place where I could express my uniqueness and boldly proclaim, “This Is Me!”

When it comes to being a creative, Patricia enjoys, “The ideation and creation. The fact that you can envision something – a design or a story and then create something out of nothing. It amazes me every time. It reminds me of how God said let there be light and there was light. I feel creatives are kinda like that. We create something from nothing. It is an honour and a responsibility, and we shouldn’t take it lightly. Creation is life.

What she doesn’t enjoy about being a creative is, “When it ends. Haha! I am a person of ideation. I did a personality test- I am a Myer briggs ENFP. I think they call us an inspirer or champion or advocate, but the one thing that was clear was that we thrive in ideation and creation so when it ends, it is like saying a bittersweet goodbye to a beautiful process.”

Patricia’s favourite content creators are:

“Beaton Mabaso, a blogger, creative galore, writer and creative consultant from Zimbabwe. Have you talked to him? Have you read his work? Just run to becomingthemuse.net and you will understand why he is one of my favourites. His stories take you to different realms. They are the exact definition of the power of storytelling. Need I say more? Watch out world for this creative. You will remember me saying this.

Mo Abudu, a media mogul from Nigeria. This lady is awesome. She has built a media empire that has now even partnered with Netflix, taking African stories to a global platform.

Ravi Naidoo, a creative and founder of Design Indaba from South Africa. I love how he is showcasing creatives and creativity from all corners of Africa. African creativity is on the global scene and there to stay.”

Patricia Opio
Patricia Opio

The Ugandan creative is also a life coach, here are the three most important steps she teaches her clients. “What I teach is exactly what I had to go through. I will not lie – it is hard. It takes a lot out of you, but it is worth it.

Disclaimer: I am working on being a creativity coach. A creativity coach focuses on helping you unlock and expand your creative thinking and creativity. It is about uncovering the right way to think about creating your life. It’s about finding ways to make your biggest, deepest, most sincere dreams a reality.

So, the three steps:

  • Embrace your story. This means accepting and owning each part of who you are. The good, the bad and the ugly. Many times, we want to forget about the painful parts, hide them up in a closet but the thing is when you try to hide a part of you, you end up hiding the whole of you. You end up dimming the light that is you. So, embrace the story, embrace yourself.
  • Unleash their creative potential. I am an 80’s child and I remember the song Unleash the dragon. Haha! I loved that song. Every time I think of it, that is what our creativity is. It is a dragon that can roar fire all around us. This fire has the potential to warm, help us cook food, provide light. But you see the flames are within the dragon. It is there. It is not like it has to manufactured. The dragon just needs to bring it out and that is the potential of creativity that we all have. We just have to unleash it.
  • Design authentic and purpose-driven brands. I am all about authenticity and purpose. We have all been created for a reason, to impact our lives and others, but until we decide to hunker down and figure this out, we will just be existing and not living. I want creatives to live fruitful and thriving lives based on who they are, creating profitable and impactful brands aligned with their purpose.”

The highlights of Patricia’s career so far, “I am part of project that tells the stories of creatives and entrepreneurs in Uganda especially during this pandemic. The highlight has been hearing and telling the stories of people who have overcome struggles to create the most amazing of brands. Hearing them call later and say, “Patricia, thank you for asking me the questions I needed to ask myself but was afraid to.” One even told me she is going on a retreat to plan her next 10 years. That is what I was created for – so to feel like I am walking in my purpose every day is one of my biggest highlights.

Another highlight was when I was called to speak to a group of women entrepreneurs about being who they are, and the women opened up. I had never seen such an honest bunch of ladies, sharing who they were. I cannot even describe it. The atmosphere was electric. I walked out of that meeting when it was done and entered my car and burst into tears. My heart was so full of joy, seeing ladies open up and collaborations taking place right before my eyes. I was like, God, I have cried. I have sought you. I have railed at you. But thank you. It was all worth it if this is what you want me to do.”

The mission statement of the company is to inspire and empower creatives to embrace their stories to unleash their creative potential and design authentic and purpose-driven brands.

On what her vision is for her brand over the next 5 years, “This Is Me is built on three anchors: Stories, Design and Coaching:

  • Stories: In five years, my brand would be rocking the storytelling world especially digital, with stories that rebrand Africa and create a continent and a people that embrace who they are. Here I would also be a bestselling author. My first book,” This is Me comes out this year. Stay tuned!
  • Design: It is all about design and the brand would be engaged in continental creative projects that have social impact, placing the creative economy at the forefront of policies in African governments.
  • Coaching: I would have launched my creativity coaching program that would be helping thousands of creatives all over the continent and the world at large.
Patricia Opio

The five most played songs in her playlist right now:

  • Rise Above by Veigar Margeirsson. This instrumental was the trailer song for A little Chaos and used by the Chicago Blackhawks when raising their banner in victory at the Stanley Cup. The title says it all. It doesn’t matter what is thrown my way. I will always rise above it. I will always be victorious. I am a champion.
  • Believe for it by CeCe Winans. I have believed for many things and I must say I stopped believing for them but in the song, she sings, “From the impossible – We’ll see a miracle – God, we believe – God, we believe for it.” I am ready for my impossible.
  • Promises by Maverick City. All promises God gave me will come true. Haha, I guess you can see the theme in my songs. It is in relation to my theme for 2021: Let your light shine!”

The advice Patricia would give her younger self, “I would tell young Patricia to trust herself. To trust her gut because it did not lead her astray. Listening to others led her astray. I would tell her to love herself because she is the one to show others how to love her. I would tell her to save her money and build up her investments. And for goodness’ sake, stay clear of the doughnuts. They will not help no matter how tasty. Ok have one once in a while…ok maybe one a week. Yeah, that’s ok. Haha!”

On what she is most proud about being Ugandan, “Ugandans are very interesting people. Something terrible can happen in the nation and then you will see jokes flying. I just shake my head and say we play too much. But thing is we are a resilient people. We always overcome and we do it with fun. I am most proud of being a Ugandan because of that.”

Patricia wants to be remembered as, “A lady no longer shaped by her experiences, but inspired to live a bigger, more outspoken life because of them. Thandiwe Newton said this and I thought yes, exactly that. No need to re-invent the wheel. One motto I love is Live, Love and Lead:

  • Love – I would like to be remembered as the lady who loved and was loved so well.
  • Live – I would like to be remembered as one who walked and thrived in her purpose, living life fully and expressively on her own terms.
  • Lead – I would like to be remembered as the one who rebranded the creative economy as a model for sustainable development, changing the lives of creatives in Africa and have awesome experiences and adventures whilst doing all this.

Contact info for Patricia Opio:

Twitter: @PatriciaOpio   Instagram: @thisismestory   Email: [email protected]

Website: thisismestory

Thank you for reading, browse through the blog for more interviews.

15 Comments on “Patricia Opio: An Inspiring Ugandan Creative Journey”

  1. This is so you Patricia, Powerful, a lover and definitely always uplifting others.

    Can’t wait to see this dream unfold and I will be stalking you to see how best we can all be of support.

    I relate on not fitting in the box but here is definitely finding us.

    Thank you for interviewing her Innocent.

    About Ugandans yes they can laugh while in a fire that I give it to them

  2. Absolutely inspiring story. I have been privileged to be a part of the cheerleaders, watching and cheering the development and unveiling of this beautiful story. It awakens the deep creative inside. That dragon in me is about to roar, bursting the box. Thanks for sharing this story.

  3. Look out Africa gotta put on some shades 😎 how can the future not be bright?

    To the amazing power of stories 🥂
    ~B

  4. We are surely unleashing the lions in us.

    Very powerful story from Patricia. She will indeed live, love and lead.

  5. Bursting into tears for speaking at a Women’s conference must have been a life-changing experience. I have so much passion for women and seeing them gathered and sharing their stories is beautiful.
    Ideation and creativity are some of the most incredible factors of being in a Creative space. One can use it as a coping mechanism and a way to express emotions. You are an incredible person Patricia. Kudos to you

  6. I feel teary and proud and happy to have met you when I did. You have such a big heart, so much knowledge that you share freely and root for others fully. Best wishes in all your endeavours. Love you.

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