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Njanike reveals secret to modelling success

Life & Style
Njanike said some people had misconceptions about modelling.

LOCAL commercial and runway male model Tatenda Njanike said persistence has enabled him to navigate the competitive industry despite a host of challenges such as cyberbullying.

In an interview with NewsDay Life & Style, Njanike said he had the inclination to explore modelling at the  tender age of six though he kept brushing it off as he grew up.

“It was at 26 years that I decided to find out why God was pressing this modelling passion on my heart. I had no idea what would become of it, but I believed I would gain something meaningful from it. God led me one step at a time until I got where I am today,” he recalled.

Njanike said some people had misconceptions about modelling.

“Many people think a male model is defined by pre-existing challenges and personality traits shared among different groups in our industry. But each male model is, however, defined by his own set of values and convictions they bring into their work and their interactions,” he said.

“As a male model you are easily associated with promiscuity or homosexuality until you prove otherwise. Eventually it will be evident where someone stands. The Bible says you shall know them by their fruits and one of those fruits is self-control.”

Njanike admits that there are sex predators in the modelling and fashion industry.

“Sexual perversion left unchecked often spills into a person’s professional life. What women come across, men in fashion and entertainment also come across too from both men and women who cannot control their sexual urges,” he said.

“Men and women that lack self-control can hardly be professional and it is always up to us to continue in their association for the sake of potential gain or to forfeit such foul opportunities that compromise what you should guard at all times, sexual integrity and your future.”

Njanike recalls when he went for modelling, grooming and etiquette classes in October 2019 and later applied to compete at the Mister Zimbabwe.

“I came to find out that I did not look like a model to many people, especially in terms of size. I was not very popular online in the initial stages. I was among the short and slim group and the online comments were demotivating.

“So, to boost my confidence I would declare the last shall be the first and believe in my heart that just like the biblical David I was qualified by God and not by clothes and looks. In the end I walked away with my first title, Mister Zimbabwe People’s Choice 2019,” he said.

As part of his achievements, Njanike became the first male model to represent Zimbabwe at the Mister Supranational platform held last year.

“The experience I got from this pageant changed my view of modelling, not just as a visually stimulating craft, but also as a way to inspire cross pollination of ideas among different nations, cultures and communities. I also came to appreciate that it is a platform where one can use his voice to champion a cause that can transform families, communities and nations,” he said.

Njanike has been the face of several local banks and corporates and is an ambassador for intercultural exchange showcasing fashion at the Korean embassy in Harare, Poland and on many other platforms such as the Style Icon Zimbabwe Awards and Makanaka Fashion Show.

He has also featured on a number of marketing campaigns on billboards, television commercials and digital adverts. He has been on various fashion runways and campaigns for designers like Zarguesia, Fungai Muzorodza and Dapper Kings.

Njanike’s family and friends have been supportive of his career.

“People do not need to believe in you, but when they do, serve them well. The journey is first between you and God until He invites your cheerleaders on board,” he noted.

Speaking on fashion, he said he believed it was an influential platform to stir up discussions to do with where people are coming from and heading.

He is inspired by how fashion as a medium of communication sustains the ability to speak volumes about culture, people’s beliefs and the subtle messages that can be conveyed  about a generation or an era by what they wear.

For his success, Njanike believes it has been a result of God’s grace.

“Success can be achieved in many ways, but success with God is a by-product of being in alignment with God’s purpose for the gifts He has given you. I live and work by one main principle, seek first the Kingdom of God and all these other things shall be added to you.

“This principle has helped me  to identify my gifts, purpose and boundaries. Once you learn how to use your gifts to reveal the character that pleases God, He will lift you up. There is a way God reveals how you can succeed in a field once you have shown your heart is not focused primarily on acquiring material gain, but on becoming a man or woman of uncompromising principles.”

Away from modelling, Njanike runs a marketing agency that provides digital solutions to start-ups and market leading brands. He also operates Paz & Chivz, a clothing manufacturing company that specialises in bespoke corporate wear. This year he will be launching both executive and workforce collections.

Njanike has also made an impact in the society by contributing towards campaigns against gender-based violence and for financial exclusion of deaf and hard of hearing communities. He is also part of pastor Yasha Chiriseri’s Generation Impact programme, which is helping young people in schools to manage their responses to the social issues they encounter in teenhood.

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