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Cleaner beats odds to become top model

Life & Style
male model Ishmael Murangandi.

DETERMINATION, passion and hunger for success are the ingredients that made it possible for male model Ishmael Murangandi to achieve his dreams and conquer the pageantry industry, rising from a cleaner to be the model he is today.

Murangandi worked as a cleaner for a Bulawayo cleaning company to pay for his education and nurture his dream to be a model.

The Bulawayo-based model’s sacrifices seem to be bearing fruit as he is now winning titles and scooping awards.

The 26-year-old model was recently honoured at the Bulawayo Models Awards held in the City of Kings where he bagged the Outstanding Male Model of The Year gong.

In an interview with NewsDay Life & Style, Murangandi noted that it has been tough for him to be recognised as one of the best rising male models.

“I am a simple country boy from Chiundura, brought up by grandparents on a farm. I relocated to Bulawayo in 2017 in search of a job so that I could further my studies by enrolling at any local university, but God had so much in store for me,” he narrated.

“My first attempt into the world of modelling was in 2017, but I was told that the fashion industry had no room for short and not good-looking men. Then finally in 2018, I met Sarah Mpofu-Sibanda (a veteran modelling instructor and actress) who groomed and mentored me. I graduated in 2019 and that particular year I won Mr I am Africa Zimbabwe against more than 40 gentlemen who had auditioned.”

He continued: “In December 2019, I was adjudged the first runner up at the Grand Mr Zimbabwe pageant. From there I was crowned Mr Friendship Zimbabwe and represented the country and the continent very well on the international ramp where I was among the top five.”

“In May this year I was crowned Mr World Heritage Zimbabwe by the Miss Environment organisation spearheaded by Nigel Shamu. I then travelled to Mumbai, India. in November to represent the nation and was crowned the brand ambassador for the international pageant.”

Murangandi said hard work got him a double nomination at the Bulawayo Models Awards under the Outstanding Male Model of The Year and Model of The Year categories, and went one to clinch the gong in the latter category.

Away from his own success, Murangandi has worked with a number of models who have also raised the country’s flag high.

“I have good leadership skills, I was a director to Shadel Noble, a model who became the first runner up at an international pageant, Mister Globe, which was one of the World’s biggest pageants in 2021-22,” he noted.

“Also, I have been a national director to more than six local male models who have raised the country’s flag high at international pageants.”

Murangandi wants to inspire other people.

“A lot of boys out there have talents, but may not be doing anything about it. I want them to look at me, listen to my story and stand up for themselves,” he said.

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