THE World Health Organisation defines mental health as a state of well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realise their abilities, learn and work well and contribute to their community.

In Zimbabwe, several initiatives have been carried out in advocating for mental health with artistes coming through with awareness messages. Model Aaron Kahari urged men to seek help when they are vulnerable, be involved in various initiatives as a way of coping with stressful situations and find ways to express themselves fully, adding that they should never be victims of mental health.

NewsDay Life & Style caught up with Kahari to talk about developments in the modelling industry, mental challenges faced by men, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, male models breaking barriers and diversity in the industry, among other things.


I am Aaron Kahari. I was groomed at Top Model Zimbabwe under Karin Coric in 2021. I had the opportunity to work with a lot of brands like Edgars, Jet and Victaks Wear to mention a few. I also took part in a number of fashion shows. I then ventured into pageantry last year participating in the Mr Zimbabwe International which was my first competition where I emerged third runner up. I also worked with popular musicians like Freeman where I featured on his song called Man to Man as a video vixen. I love socialising and working out in the gym.

Developments in the industry

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The modelling industry has become versatile with flexibility on age, weight, height or body types. There are no restrictions anymore although one is required to maintain healthy habits. Male models have broken barriers of fashion and modelling by participating in shows and photoshoots where they are flexible enough to wear feminine clothing and makeup.

This has helped in breaking various gender norms and stereotypes surrounding masculinity. It has been difficult for some conservative and traditional people to accept the breaking of barriers by men who venture into modelling while others are embracing the change being brought forth by the fashion world. Such is to be expected as people have different views on life.


Diversity and representation in the modelling industry helps people to feel included because it reflects reality. It allows people to connect with a wider audience, which promotes inclusivity and empowers people with confidence.

Contribution of social media

Social media advertising being pushed by the fashion world has fostered inclusivity. There has been inclusion of different body types, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. This has impacted a lot of people positively because there is fair representation of people which restores self-esteem, confidence and body positivity.

Ways of coping with mental health problems

Men face various mental health challenges including societal pressure to maintain traditional masculine norms, misconceptions that sharing feelings and emotional breakdowns, just to mention a few, are signs of being weak. This gives rise to feelings of isolation, depression and anxiety.

My ways of coping with stress include seeking support from friends and going to the gym but there are other ways of coping with stress like seeing a professional, meditation, removing yourself from stressful conditions and people and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

I recommend men going through mental health issues to express themselves through writing in a journal, partake in poetry sessions, art or music and also participate in community events. Exploring various coping mechanisms helps to keep a healthy emotional life. It is important for men to recognise the value of seeking help when needed.