BY FREEMAN MAKOPA
CANADA-BASED Zimbabwean model and fashionista Diana “That Girl Diana” Mupereri continues to break the glass ceiling after she was recently endorsed by Jamaican designer Stacy-Ann Vassel, who described her as perfect in meeting standards.
Vassel told NewsDay Life & Style that the Zimbabwean model possessed the right charisma in delivering her acts, adding that she had plans for her next dance production titled Deliver US.
“Diana’s energy from the first phone call, to the fitting and to the show was and is contagious. Upon meeting with her, I knew she was ambitious and a go-getter. She is coachable and did exactly what I was looking for in a model,” she said.
Vassel said That Girl Diana was perfect in meeting her standards as she went above, beyond and exceeded her expectations.
“Diana did not come with her own preconceived ideas, she clearly came to support the brand at all cost. She was literally a live model attracting crowds of people,” she said.
“She even caught the eye of our Green Party Leader Annamie Paul, who graciously talked about her beauty and confidence. For that reason, I selected her to model the day of AFWT’s mannequin showcase.”
Vassel said That Girl Diana embodied the right charisma, positive energy and attitude to wear the purple period costume made with an African flare, adding that she would make a beautiful Egyptian woman in the palace scenes.
“Having 20 years under my belt as a dance director and being an avid costume designer made this transition to fashion quite easy. I was a little nervous, but very happy to be showcasing for the first time,” she said.
As for selecting models, I wanted 80% of them to be darker girls as they were not often the first to be selected even by our own people. I also wanted girls of varying heights, sizes and shapes. Our brand is a representation of women period.
Vassel said her collection was inspired by women and when they transitioned to online school for the kids, it was 99% women assisting the children day after day.
“Once I decided to do a collection for African fashion week Toronto (AFWT) I knew it was going to represent the strength and resilience of everyday women. This collection had something for every girl and woman,” she said.
That Girl Diana said: “This was tremendous, epic and royal.
“I have always wanted to be part of the AFWT, so I applied this year to try my luck.
“When Stacy the designer I modelled for messaged me with the details and pickup schedule I was not expecting it and I was like God bless whoever that person who picked me.”
“Modeling for NUYUBYSTACY was everything. Just thinking of the whole process from fitting, runway to exhibition, I get goosebumps. It was my first ever AFWT and I enjoyed being part of it, I looked like a whole queen.
“One most important thing I learnt is that a star will always shine, but obviously when the time is ready, this industry will eat you alive if you let negativity get in your way. I have also learnt to respect and value other people’s work.”
That Girl Diana said her inclusion in the African Fashion Week would be a stepping stone to her modelling career.
“Definitely, and I am grateful for that. In this industry it is very crucial to do your best and give it your all every time you get booked because every gig is a stepping stone to another.
“Some brands will hire you after they see your previous work and participation and that is why it is very important to have good work ethics,” she said.