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Agony of male models

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BY KIMBERLY KARIATI

RISING male model Towanda Majachani (23) says he seeks to use his talent to make a positive impact in society. A tourism student at the Midlands State University (MSU), Majachani said he seeks to talk about real issues and important topics like sexism, homophobia, racism and religious prejudice that affect people’s lives. For Majachani, modelling is not just about taking pictures, but being an example of the change the world needs.

Venturing into modelling

I initially tried modelling in 2016, went through all the grooming lessons, but stopped because my parents were not supportive of the idea. In 2019, I rejoined and after some solo gigs in South Africa, I must say I am doing well. It has not been easy, but I am proud of what I have achieved so far.

Showcases

Last year, I showcased designer clothes (summer collection) for fashion companies such as NehandaandCo and Rumseamaf Trading, an organisation that sells traditional accessories and beadwork in Zimbabwe. I have also worked with Family Support Trust (FST) a non-profit organisation that works against gender-based violence (GBV)and offers assistance to women and children who are sexually and physically abused. Additionally, I have also worked with Omni Protect, a company that sells germ protection products.

Society’s view on male models

Society is yet to fully embrace male models. I think society’s ideal man works in a physical job. Posing and dressing up is seen as being uncultured and inappropriate especially for African traditional setups. It is a notion that still lingers that modelling is not a decent profession. It is almost the same for women, but for men I think it is quite a challenge for society to still welcome them into the industry.

Memorable moments

Fashion exhibitions like the Zimbabwe Fashion (2019) will remain an incredible involvement, where we came together to participate and celebrate our talents. The event has enabled me to market myself better and network as well. As a freelance model, I now know people in the industry and businesses as well through this event.

Assessment of the modelling sector

Modelling is rarely promoted in Zimbabwe; it does not pay enough and the competition is high as well. Not much has been done to uplift up-and-coming models. For me, modelling is not a sustainable career path and it is highly demanding. After a certain period of time, you wither away. Other countries, unlike Zimbabwe, have managed to make the modelling industry a lucrative business for its artists. However, I feel that for Zimbabwe there is room for growth and improvement. The number of rape cases around our industry is disturbing and I think we can do better if we work together as models. Overall, the modelling industry is lacking a boost and yet expensive to stay afloat as one has to constantly upgrade self.

Challenges

As a male model I also face similar problems that are also faced by women in modelling, but it is the rate at which these problems occur to women as to men that differs. Cases of abuse and scams are equally experienced by both parties. Male models are labelled as gay while females ones also stereotyped as prostitutes, so it might be one or the other way, but it is a fight for both sides.

Opportunities

In terms of opportunities I think unlike the previous years, men are able to share the same spotlight with women such as the runway. Even now men are being included in main concepts to create a balance of representation. Though there are still a few grey areas, men and women are enjoying equal opportunities

Achievements

I have grown professionally as a model and influencer, marketed myself locally and abroad. I have used this opportunity to do some positive social work in this community.

  • Follow Kimberly on Twitter @lizellekimkari

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