THE world of modelling has for a long time arguably gained an unenviable tag of being brutal, second only to politics in the context of its very strict and high standards which have notoriously set such tough rules and regulations as stipulated body weight, height on a lean body structure, a particular skin shade and colour for the models.
Those days are, however, fast becoming a thing of the past.
NewsDay life & Style Weekender spoke to some industry insiders to find out more on the changing trends which have, however, bred new dimensions to the industry which involve rigging, nepotism and at times abuse.
Bulawayo Models Awards Board spokesperson Philip Mthokozisi Masuku said: “Yes, the rules and regulations are no longer followed. Instead, it’s now people with money who are being listened to. The industry used to have gurus governing it, but now everyone thinks they are the go-to person.
“Although good things have come out of it, like the huge shift in the issues regarding weight and height, with the debate currently going on, more room is given to the new norm with all body types being accommodated. There are some who are stuck in the olden days of rule size zero.”
On corruption in the industry, Masuku said people are complaining out of personal allegiance.
“Truth be said, it’s not about rigging, but I strongly think it’s about people choosing who to support and hence their commentary on rigging,” he said.
Last year, the Bulawayo Models Awards (BMAs) were roundly criticised for being biased towards Truth Models Academy, whose founder Pardon Khanye also co-founded the Bulawayo Models Awards.
Khanye also doubles as president of Bulawayo Models Association.
He, however, dismissed reports that the awards were created to promote his favourites, who include former Mr Zim School of Mines and Face of Truth Model, Darlington Tshuma.
“BMAs were free and fair, none of my models won any awards. Besides, if they did, then they would have deserved it, so whoever is saying my models won should give names and explain further how the rigging took place,” Khanye said.
“Yes, Truth Models won outstanding modelling agency for the year through votes and there is proof that people voted. Most people who voted are the same people who are complaining now.
“If I didn’t push for the awards, would there have been anyone standing up for the models? I used my own resources because we don’t even have a sponsor.”
He also denied reports that he is a gatekeeper.
“I groom models and choreograph pageant. I am not a judge, I don’t sit on that panel because most of the models (from my agency) participate, so it wouldn’t be fair. I only judge junior contests like primary schools, where I scout for talent.
In a leaked WhatsApp group chat, he was, however, involved in a mudsling match with model Belinda Pots over conflict of interest, while Pots was accused of being a judge in contests her close friends participated in.
Pots refused to comment.
“I am quite fine I don’t want to respond or comment. Talk to the models from the association, I don’t want to be involved,” she said.
Another model who asked to remain anonymous said nepotism is real in Bulawayo.
“You have got a person who owns an agency while they are also actively a brand ambassador. Others are licence holders of one pageant, but they contest in another, while some are licence holders to pageants their relatives and close friends are tittle holders with a crown and sash, similar to Amanda and Jamima,” the model said.
Just to highlight the source of some of the concerns, Amanda Peresu Moyo is the current Miss EcoToursim World, while her mother, Petronella Moyo, is the licence holder of the Miss EcoTourism pegeant.
Jemima owns Miss Teen Intellect, while she is actively contesting in Miss Planet International, having recently been crown Miss Environment International.
NewsDay Life & Style Weekender contacted them both: Moyo did not respond to our questions, while Mandemwa’s phone was not reachable.