Models cry foul over benefits

Mr and Miss Valentine Zimbabwe held in Mutare

have expressed disappointment over some pageant organisers who promise them money and hampers, but fail to deliver.

Speaking to NewsDay Life & Style, some of the models, who preferred not to have their names disclosed, said it had become the norm for models not to receive their benefits, especially money after participating in pageants.

Said the model: “So what happens is, pageant directors organise their pageants, distribute posters and write their prize money and all will be going on well up until the day for the event that is where the whole problem begins. On the event day after winning we are only given the sash and crown, you then ask what about the prize money you promised?

“In my case what happened was I participated in the pageantry event and was told to return where we were camping with the promise that I would be given my promised money on the following day. The following day we waited and our money never came.”

The model added that one such pageant was , saying that sometimes when they ask for their money, the directors do not respond.

“Organisers usually mention that sponsors promise brand ambassadors endorsements and after we receive the contracts they also promise support in terms of finances, dressing and everything else which requires money. At first I thought they were going to stick to their promise only to realise that all of these were fake promises. When we asked about it they kept quiet up until now and when we try to contact them by phone they do not respond,” the model said.

Another model, who also preferred to remain anonymous, said this problem was not peculiar to local pageants, adding that he has also witnessed it even at international pageants.

“I participated in Mr Global International pageant and up till now I am still waiting for my prize money and there has not been any communication or update,” he said.

He said for the recently held Mr and Miss Valentine Zimbabwe held in Mutare, models, who participated failed to receive the promised money and it got to the point where judges ended up selling their own jewellery in order to get money for the models.

“Some pageants out there are using models and after that they do not give them their prizes, at times there is nothing we can do about it because those are the people who are supposed to be protecting us yet they are the ones exploiting us,” he said.

The model said they did not encounter financial problems only, but abuse had become the order of the day at some pageants.

“We have a problem of people who think that most male models are gay and it is something that destroys our confidence in front of people.”

Commenting on the issue, Mercy Mushaninga of the Little Miss and Mr Zimbabwe said models should not just lament over unfulfilled promises but should be alert.

She said: “If there is a promise, organisers should pay but, however, models should also learn to sign contracts so that they can agree if there is any prize money or it is just for brand visibility when they participate in pageants.”

She further stated that they do not promise models money if they do not get assurance from sponsors.

Mushaninga urged pageant directors to carefully brand their pageant names in order to avoid having their pageants tarnished as result of some pageants which fail to honour their promises.

“The problem starts when one markets their pageants stating that there is going to be some money involved, and at the end of the day fail to pay. This happened with the Miss Zimbabwe Tourism and this has also tarnished the image for Miss Tourism,” she said.

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