If you’ve heard the hit “Redbone” by Childish Gambino then it is likely that you saw the compelling cover art. “Awaken, My Love”, is Childish Gambino’s third studio album, and was released on December 2, 2016. More intriguing than his mix of funk, soul, and R&B, his cover art captured the attention of many people.

Giannina Oteto is the artist's name. She is a Kenyan native that currently resides in New York. Oteto’s biggest dream in the modeling industry would be to become a brand ambassador or face of a makeup company.

Life before modeling

Prior to the life of photo shoots, runway shows, and modeling, Oteto faced a lot of adversity.

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She was born and partially raised in Kenya, then bounced to New York, and ended up in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

“My dad worked for the government and we had to decide rather we were going to stay there or not because their tribes were having a war,” tells Blasting News. “Basically they told him you can stay here but your kids will be killed, you will be killed, your whole family will be killed.”

Early on when she and her family first moved to New York, her family hated it because it was so big, which is how they ended up in Michigan. Fast forward to 2017, Oteto is currently living and working towards her dreams in New York.

“I was living in LA for school, then I met a friend who told me we should try to go to agencies,” Oteto recalled, “then an agency told me they would sign me but in their New York office because I had an interesting look.”

Oteto had to make some drastic changes once she signed with the agency in New York; one being chopping her hair completely off.

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Keeping up with her diet was crucial to keeping a place in the industry, so she also lost weight to maintain her editorial image.

Oteto says her most notable accomplishment would be a tie between the L'oreal campaign and the Childish Gambino cover.

“The fact that L'oreal kind of told my life story, as well as picked me to be one of the models for their campaign was huge for me,” she said. Being #The Cover art for “Awaken, My Love’, has changed Oteto’s life in a lot of ways. “It’s kind of scary seeing my face on people’s Instagram, and there are people that get tattoos of my face done.”

How 'Awaken My Love' happened

The album cover came about when her friend was having a casting in Brooklyn. Oddly enough, Oteto was not interested because the location was far from her and she did not want to take so many trains.

After being convinced to go, she was not aware what the casting was for or whom, but after she took the pictures she was selected as the model that would be used. “It’s crazy because I wasn’t told who it was for until the day or the shoot.”

Her advice for upcoming models that live in small cities would be to send pictures to agencies in bigger cities nearby, keep your body on point, and most importantly be tough.

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“The industry is hard, people are very mean in this industry and they will tell you everything that’s wrong with you, and you just have to have a strong heart,” she said, “and if this is really what you want to do you’ll get there but don’t let people put you down because that’s all they’re out here for.”