50 Shades of Bruck Tekle.

WAVING THE ERITREAN FLAG FROM KREFELD TO NEW YORK CITY.

My name is Bruck Tekle. I was born and raised in Krefeld, Germany, a small town in the Western region (North Rhain Westphalia) of Germany to Eritrean parents. Eritrea is a small country in East Africa. I was blessed to go to Eritrea after its independence from Ethiopia in 91 and got to experience my heritage first hand. Was it a culture shock? Yes of course, but it did not take a long time to overcome it. All it really took was to get familiar with everyone in my family from back home, whom I had never met due to being born and raised in Germany. Sure enough, it started to become interesting and fun. I actually went back twice ever since and loved it even more.

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The thing that inspired me the most back then and still does to this day is that although my people live in a third world country, they still manage to survive and yet try to discover the humor of things. If that is not inspiration at its best, then I don't know what it is. It really taught me not to have words such as "can not, depressed, discouraged" in my vocabulary. Things get rough for all of us from time to time and there are moments where it feels like there is no way out, but I tell myself that if my people manage to survive in a third world set up, I actually got a sweet deal and should not complain nor take things for granted. I have been living in NYC permanently for the last 6 years. I actually came here in the hopes to land a basketball scholarship which unfortunately did not workout. I stuck around a little longer and the next thing you know, I stumbled into the modeling world and here I am today. It’s funny how your aspirations can change from one minute to the next but I guess that's the beauty of life.

What I do:

     My career picked up momentum over the last year and I have been getting more exposure as opposed to the beginning of my career. I have been branching out into the acting world as well and can’t wait to see what the future holds for me in that field.

My dream: 

One of my dreams was to come to America and make it in basketball as you saw in my introduction and it did not happen. It was a tough bullet to swallow because I really loved the game and it’s still hard to this day to just let it go. You have to look on the bright side of things. While it may hurt that I was not able to fulfill my dream, I still got to take something out of that predicament... it molded me into the person that I am today. My dreams changed over the years as they usually do throughout the course of life and are more so about being able to help my family and loved ones. If I can take it a little further, my dream is to help others that are really in need of assistance and cannot do for themselves. If I get to be a famous Model/ Actor at the same time, then it would be a win-win situation.

Defining success and what inspires me to be successful:

I believe everyone has their own idea of success or the way one defines success. I saw this post a little while back somewhere and it stated,

"EVERY SUCCESSFUL PERSON HAS A PAINFUL STORY, AND EVERY PAINFUL STORY HAS A SUCCESSFUL ENDING",

which I think is true. People are quick to look at someone and judge their success by what kind of car they drive, the house they own, their popularity, etc. but no one really knows what hurdles that person actually had to face in order to reach that type of success. I believe that when your hard work – hard work, as in "Blood, Sweat and Tears" work – finally pays off, that success is reached. I also feel that there are many different levels of success that apply to any and every human being. My definition of success might not apply to whoever is reading this article while his or her definition might not apply to me, which is totally normal.

The word inspiration and success go hand in hand. Personally, it does not take much for me to get inspired and I do not mean this in a negative or arrogant way. I feel like the easiest way for someone to get inspired is to just take a look around you. The world has so much to offer and there are many different ways of being successful. It does not necessarily mean financially, even though we need some type of financial stability in order to live but besides that, there is a wide variety of success. For instance, if I am a better person today than I was yesterday, then that is a form of success, or if I can help someone else become a better person or create some kind of happiness in their life. 

On the concept of beauty:

Physical beauty starts with confidence, which is not a physical attribute, but you can definitely see when it's not there and that goes for both man and woman. Your overall appearance and how you carry yourself in public has a lot to do with physical beauty which ranges from hygiene to a beautiful smile etc. Inner beauty on the other hand can be found in someone who is genuinely kind, loving, caring, polite; someone who is not envious; instead he/she is happy for other people. I think that both of these particular aspects whether attributed or achieved, are equally important in today's society. But if I had to choose one of the two, I would go for inner beauty over all, for the simple fact that inner beauty is genuine and honest where in comparison physical beauty can be intriguing yet fake. To be politically correct on this matter, I would say that physical beauty lures people in but that the inner beauty will keep them there.

If I stood in front of the entire African diaspora:

I do not think that I am in any type of position to make such statements, but if I were granted this great honor, I would start by saying to strive for whatever it is you believe in, to simply do what you have to do in order to survive and to help your family, without forgetting to help each other. I am saying this with great discretion because it’s always easier said than done for the person that is looking from the outside in, especially into a place like Africa.

What needs work in our community:

There is a variety of things that needs change in our community and I could not tell you where to start because all areas of our community are equally important to me. In order to change a community, you need to change the people that are in charge of those communities and they need to be willing to make the necessary adjustments in order to help better our communities.

In order to create a positive change, one does not have to solve tremendous amount of issues, or solve world hunger and poverty. I am not saying this to minimize the importance or value of that work, but it’s more in the sense of having the willingness to roll up your sleeves and devote some time. All in all, I would like to see more activities for children in any and every community. I really feel it is important to invest into youth programs and anything that involves children so they can actually grow up and develop to their full potential.

The book I’d recommend to readers of Tamaji:

50 Shades of Black”! I would recommend this book to anybody who is open minded and interested in foreign cultures. I was told once that the more we travel and discover the world, the less prejudiced we get. If you believe in discovering other cultures and meeting people from around the diaspora, then this is the book for you.

Find Bruck on Twitter: @brucktekle; on Instagram: BRUCKTEKLE;  and on Facebook

 50 Shades of Black is proud to partner with Tamaji Magazine.  ”50 Shades of Black | Africa” is a weekly column curated by Tamaji’s founder Aminata Diop.  The column features personal interviews with African-born men and women living throughout the Diaspora whose voices reflect a unique African perspective.  This week’s feature is Bruck Tekle from Eritrea.  Be sure to tune in next week!