BEING a model, which is considered a symbol of beauty and style, grants one an opportunity to headline social and cultural events.
The reigning Miss University of Zimbabwe, Karen Katsande, told NewsDay Life & Style that as she catwalks down the runway, adorned in expensive fabrics and elegant designs, she feels a sense of emptiness which makes her want to make a real positive impact on society.
“Being a fashion model has allowed me to explore my passion for the art of beauty, but deep down, I yearn for something more meaningful. Along this journey, I have discovered the transformative power of philanthropy and donation as a complementary practice to my career as a fashion model,” she said.
“By embracing the art of giving, I have found a way to make a positive impact on the lives of others. In this first-person narrative, I delve into my personal journey as a model whose art goes beyond the runway, embracing the art of philanthropy.”
For many years, Katsande reckoned her primary focus as a fashion model was centred on personal achievements, pursuing beauty, glamour and fame.
“As time passed, I began to question the purpose of my work. Was it just about appearance? Was there no deeper meaning to what I did? These questions sparked a journey of self-reflection and led me to a search for ways to combine my passion for fashion with a greater purpose,” she said.
“During my quest for a sense of fulfilment, I stumbled upon the inspiring life stories of renowned philanthropists, from Nobel Peace Prize laureates to celebrities using their platforms for positive change.
“I realised that one’s impact on the world can surpass the boundaries of a single profession. This revelation ignited a sense of responsibility within me. I saw an opportunity to use my position as a model to give back to society.”
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After recognising the immense influence the fashion industry wields, Katsande decided to partner King Solomon Distributors for her philanthropy work.
“I donated sanitary wear and clothes at Mt Hampden Children’s Centre and am looking forward to doing more philanthropic endeavours in my modelling career,” she said.
“I sought partnerships with charitable organisations that resonated with my values, dedicating a portion of my earnings and time to support causes aligned with my passion. By leveraging on my social media presence, I raised awareness about these organisations, fostering engagement and inspiring others to contribute.”
In another charity drive, Katsande partnered Pastir Colleen and Thy Helping Hands who support underprivileged communities through sustainable fashion practices.
“As a model, I collaborated with Thy Helping Hands to donate sanitary wear to Zimbabwe’s national netball team (the Gems). It was incredible to witness the power of fashion, combined with philanthropy, as a remarkable force for change,” she noted.
Katsande said an essential aspect of her philanthropic journey had been the opportunity to inspire and educate others, particularly aspiring young models.
“Through mentorship programmes and workshops, I have empowered young talents to embrace the art of giving, emphasising the importance of incorporating philanthropy into their careers from an early stage. By nurturing a generation of compassionate fashion models, I believe we can create a positive ripple effect within the industry, channelling its potential for good,” she noted.
“The impact of my philanthropic endeavours has extended far beyond what I could imagined. Witnessing the smiles on the faces of those whose lives I have positively impacted through my contributions has brought an indescribable sense of fulfilment.
“My journey as a fashion model has transformed from a solely self-centred pursuit to a path that aligns my passion with a greater purpose of making a positive change in the world.”
The model is committed to continue sharing her personal journey on how she has embraced the art of philanthropy and donation as a complementary practice to her career.
“By expanding my horizons, I discovered a path that adds depth and meaning to my work while making a positive impact on society.
“The power of fashion as a catalyst for change is undeniable, and through my endeavours, I hope to inspire others to explore the art of philanthropy in their own lives.
“Ultimately, I have come to realise that being a fashion model goes beyond simply gracing the runway, it carries the potential to transform lives and create a lasting legacy of compassion and empathy,” she added.
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