Gelila Bekele

Model, Humanitarian, Activist, Filmmaker

Whether Gelila Bekele is in front of the lens or behind it, she firmly believes that the future is female. Throughout all her documentary work Gelila's primary focus is showcasing and strengthening girls voices through her creative platforms. 

Q: Where is home?

A: Home is...Different places.

Q: Mantra you live by?

A: To be in the moment. whatever I am, be all there.

Q: How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

A: I like to think of my self as Funny, Curious and Adventurous.

Q: Favorite song of all time? 

A: Anchi Bale Game by Mahamoud Ahmed.

Q: Complete the sentence: I got my big break when…

A: When I became a model  (everything changed).

Q: Last album you listened to? 

A: Cold Play,  A Head Full of Dreams.

Q: A woman you admire?

A: It’s not just one particular woman,  I am inspired by women who never lose hope in the darkest times; women that constantly put themselves on the line to better other lives; women who are fighting for social justice, and dedicating  time and energy to spin the wheel of positive change.

Q: ‘Other’ is about loving what makes you different. It’s about being yourself. What’s ‘other’ about you?

A: I love making content that tells the untold human stories.  I am dedicated to fighting for young girls in rural parts of the world, their right to have education and a platform to dream.  I love how modeling and the life I had in front of the camera for 15 years has thought me to be a better camera operator.  And I am loving motherhood, which has thought me unconditional love, and made me look at the world in a different lens.

Q: Complete the sentence. When I wake up in the morning I...

A: When I wake up in the morning the first thing I do is kiss my 2 year old son.

Q: Best advice you’ve ever been given? 

A: “Be the person you needed when you where a child.”

Q: One thing that not many people know about you? 

A: I was Pre-Med  in college.

Q: Your advice to an emerging maker?

A: Start with what you love and never give up until you are happy with your self/result. When nothing is certain, anything is possible.

Q: The time I nearly gave up…explain.

A: Between 2007/ 2008.  I was on the road constantly, living in village huts for months while filming which was physically and mentally exhausted. Thank God I didn’t give up. Documentary filmmaking can be physically consuming, especially when you are exposed to extreme living conditions but I learned to love the process of making a film, and that goes back to truly loving what you do.

Q: Complete this sentence: The future is female because…

A: The future is female because women are constantly facing misogynistic, patriarchal, cultural walls. When we say the future is female,  to me at least  it means encouraging and validating young girls to dream about becoming a president, astronaut, politician, scientist, filmmakers..…. with no limits.  It gives women the chance and the voice to have a strong presence in making decisions in all aspects of human existence. It gives us room to create our own narrative. It can be misunderstood as anti-male at times, but it’s actually an echo of the time we are in; it's against the biased and completely one-sided world  controlled by men and their idea of how a woman should look, act and think.  The future is female because we can’t keep living in a willful denial of history.