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Association seeks to empower models

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BY MPUMELELO MOYO/SILISIWE MABALEKA
BULAWAYO Models Association (BAA) recently hosted a workshop featuring industry stakeholders and models from across the country’s 10 provinces to empower models and discuss pertinent pageantry issues.

Held at Open Eye Studios in the City of Kings and Queens, the workshop’s attendees included Miss Africa Golden Sindiso Ndlovu, Zimbabwe Models Association acting president Khaya Pardon Khanye and fashion designer Alex Kumirai of Pusha Ntwana, among others.

Addressing the models, former Miss Zimbabwe and grooming coach Samantha Tshuma said it was important for models to join modelling agencies.

“One can join an agency for training and perhaps another one for management. The important thing is to grow the brand with a reputable agency,” she said.

“Get yourself an agent who can protect your interests and mould you. Now we have the inaugural Miss Teen Universe Tumi Sibanda from Zimbabwe who was crowned in Dubai while contesting against people from Venezuela, Ghana and so forth.”

Miss Golden Africa 2021 Sindiso Ndlovu also shared tips on how to become a professional model.

“The first thing is to figure out which kind of modelling one wants to be in and then be realistic to build your portfolio by getting a good photographer,” she said, emphasising that models must get groomed through agencies that teach etiquette and mannerisms.

Ndlovu advised those who wish to go international to take advantage of social media to connect with big brands.

“Despite what people say, social media is not absolutely shallow, yes, some people use it for the wrong reasons, but being on it you have to know what you want. We now live in the digital era and communication as well as advertising is much more flexible on social media,” she said.

Khanye, who is also Truth Models founder, shared the gruesome and exploitative nature of the modelling industry.

“There was a time where we went to Harare with our director and he stayed in a hotel while us models were left in the streets. We slept on the streets for four days while chasing the dream, that is how vulnerable models are,” he said while also advising models to be patient in their careers.

“Models nowadays do not respect their superiors. When we clap hands for them, they start to behave like superstars and view themselves as of higher level,” he said, adding that he still consults and takes advice from peers and mentors like Sarah Mpofu (Fingers Modelling Agency) Samantha Tshuma and Sipho Mazibuko (Miss ZimRural founder).

Khanye said models must not sell their souls for overnight success, but work hard for their brands to grow.

“People abuse money and power to exploit models and I was once offered a lot of money by a very influential man in Bulawayo in exchange for sex. I am trying to teach models to have self-respect and to have integrity,” he said.

Khanye’s sentiments were echoed by Miss Teen Universe Tumi Sibanda who said: “I became Miss Teen Zimbabwe at the age of 19 and suddenly found myself being offered gifts and cars and that is one way to trap a young
lady.”

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