Mister & Miss Zim to empower teen models

The Little Mister & Miss Zimbabwe pageant, open to children aged between 3 to 12, is on Saturday at the Marina Convention Centre, Long Cheng Plaza in Belvedere, Harare.

BY WINSTONE ANTONIO/AGATHA CHUMA ORGANISERS of the forthcoming Little Mister & Miss Zimbabwe say the pageant sought to discover, nurture and support the modelling talents from a young age.

Riko Samugadza

The Little Mister & Miss Zimbabwe pageant, open to children aged between 3 to 12, is on Saturday at the Marina Convention Centre, Long Cheng Plaza in Belvedere, Harare.

Winners of the pageant, now in its second edition, will represent Zimbabwe in Uganda in April next year.

Zim Gossip Models founder and the pageant patron Mercy “Catwalk” Mushaninga told NewsDay Life & Style yesterday that sponsorship has been a big challenge in her efforts to groom young models.

“Modelling is an art and through it our aim is to discover talent in children who can become future brand influencers. These children get to learn confidence-building, posture, self-esteem boosting, deportment and talent development,” she said.

“We realised that for our models to have confidence, they must be nurtured at a tender age and as Little Mister & Miss Zimbabwe, we are there to support and fulfil that need.”

The modelling guru applauded the Higher Education, Science and Technology Development mnister Amon Murwira for guiding the young generation by formulating and implementing policies related to skills training and development.

She said corporates should see value in sponsoring and partnering the pageant.

“Modelling is part of skills developed through art and talent. The local modelling industry is being hindered by lack of support from the corporate world. As a way of appreciating the little ones, we are selling branded tables at US$250 for companies to raise prize money plus educational packages, school fees, uniforms, groceries and more,” she said.

The road to the pageant’s grand finale to be held under the theme Presidents Against Child Abuse, had 100 children auditioning and the lucky 60 made it to the finals.

“Preparations for the Little Mister & Miss Zimbabwe grand finale are at an advanced stage. This year’s theme is taking into cognisance that Zimbabwe has recorded a number of deaths due to COVID-19 and children left behind suffer abandonment.

“This leads to matters that affect their health and development such as access to education, food, housing, healthcare, clothing, personal hygiene and adequate supervision,” she said.

She added: “I stand against child abuse that has risen at an alarming rate and through this pageant we want to raise awareness towards fighting these evils. The voice of a President has authority, therefore, we would like them to act and speak on child abuse.

“We are expecting families of these young ones to come and support their children. Participants will receive hampers because we believe they are all winners.”

Mushaninga, who has been in the modelling industry for over two decades, is credited for grooming a number of models for prestigious local and international modelling showcases.

She is behind the success of models like former Miss Zimbabwe (2011) Malaika Mushandu, Miss Teen Zimbabwe (2012) Soraya Vallabah and former 2011 Miss Southern Africa Evelyn Gond, among others.

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