The time has finally come my people 🙌. All my life I have run away from modelling but it has been persistent in pursuit. My days of running away are officially over.
MY HISTORY WITH MODELLING
I like how I’ve subtitled this “my history with…” as if I have any modelling history to begin with! But I think watching America’s Next Top Model since I was 11years old is history enough yeah? I have always had an interest in the fashion industry since I was younger. Not just modelling, but actual fashion design, interior design, photography, becoming a stylist or a glossy magazine editor. However, I was also into the scientific world – Medicine and forensic science. In fact my aptitude test shows that my brain is equally art and science inclined, which explains my equal interest in both fields.
Over the years, I was often asked by people if I was a model or encouraged go into modelling but I just shrugged it off – until 2016. The organizer for Miss Cameroon South Africa 2016 approached me and suggested that I join the pageant for that year. I was really reluctant but he said apart from just the modelling side of pageantry, there is something I carry which can really impact people and change perceptions. So that was my first official modelling experience!
I entered with the mission to transform people’s perceptions about women in the fashion industry. I wanted to show that one can maintain their values as a Christian, and still excel in careers that are often linked with immorality. We are to be set apart and holy but to shine God’s light wherever we are.
The next one was a photo shoot I did for Cameroonian designer Brian Ndienze’s 2018 Catalogue. I honestly enjoyed the whole process, from the wardrobe changes to the actual photograph session. After I posted this shoot, so many of my friends and family started reaching out to me encouraging that I start modelling professionally. And so for the first time in my life, I thought about it seriously.
WHY I DIDN’T WANT TO MODEL
What will people say?
Africans have given the modelling career such a bad connotation. When someone says they’re a model, they immediately think ” so this one is taking naked pictures now ehh, she has no shame! No modesty, no respect for her body, just showing everything for men to see”. And so for the longest time I worried about being seen as such, even though I knew I wouldn’t be involved in anything remotely related to being naked in front of a camera. It bothered me that society will judge me harshly, especially since I am a Christian, whose body is to be the temple of the Holy Spirit. Holy and set apart.
Pressure and control
I don’t know why but I just felt that the modelling industry was filled with a lot of control. As in, once a model is given a contract by her an agent, they basically control her. So when she has to do shoots, she’s given what needs to be worn and is not given the opportunity to agree or deny to wear the outfit. This was a huge issue for me because I thought, what if I’m given a lingerie to wear and I don’t want to? If I say “no”, will the agent then fire me? I felt that a lot of models were pressured into revealing more skin or posing in lustful ways. I did and still do not want to be a part of any of that!
Modesty & Faith
As a Christian girl, you’ll hear a lot of talk about modesty, modesty, modesty. But no one really defines modesty. How do you know when a dress is too short? Who defines the shortness of the dress? Some people will argue that God sees our heart, not what we wear. But as a child of God, there really IS an unspoken dress code. Not defined by man or by a church, but by ones own heart – by the Holy Spirit. We must also remember that modesty is more than just what you wear. It’s your mannerism. Hence you can find someone wearing shorts at the beach who’s more modest than someone wearing a fully covered dress from head to toe. But as a child of God, the Holy Spirit always makes us uncomfortable, when we are doing anything that is unholy.
He will convict us when we are dressed inappropriately. And it’s up to us to then change what we wear to glorify God. It also depends on the intention behind the outfit. Why are you wearing that particular outfit. Is it to get attention from men? If yes, is that not becoming an object of lust? If yes, would God want you to use your body to create lust in men? … So you see, I never wanted to and still don’t want to become an object of lust by becoming a model. I don’t want to compromise God’s standards for the world’s standards.
SO WHAT CHANGED MY MIND?
I began to think about my talents and how they connect with my purpose. I was reminded that all the talents God planted in us are to be used for His glory. When I discovered that I am a talented writer, I decided to create this blog for His glory. In the same way, I can be a model, not of this world, but set apart, reflecting Jesus, reflecting light. Evangelism is not only standing on the side of a street and preaching to people shopping at a market square. Modelling Christ, as in, taking on the personality of Christ is personal witness, which is also a form of evangelism. You share your faith with unbelievers by your actions and also by telling them why you believe what you believe, what God has done for you – your personal story!
People will quote; we are to be set apart and not of the world – true but often misunderstood. I ask, how are we to make disciples without going into the world to fish? Jesus mixed with unbelievers only when His sole purpose was to preach salvation, heal, deliver and etcs, but He was still set apart and holy. Kingdom purpose will call you OUT of your comfort zone. The world needs Jesus and we need to be willing to go and serve them the love of God without compromising our faith. Mark 16:15 “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation”.
Imagine infiltrating the modelling industry with Christ’s love! An industry where lust, rejection, manipulation and so many other strongholds exist. We cannot just accept society’s perceptions move on. We have to challenge those perceptions and change them! Romans 10:14-15 “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’ My feet are fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace! THE GOODNEWS!
I came to understand that talent must meet godly purpose for it to glorify God hence I finally made the decision to venture into modelling. I am a Dietitian by profession, so this will just be part time. Plus I honestly enjoy it, so this should he fun 🙌 😊.
TO JOIN AN AGENCY OR TO GO SOLO?
After much deliberation, I decided it’ll be better for me to join an agency instead of going solo to start off. Why?
- When you’re starting off as a model, no one knows you or trusts you because there’s no track record. So it will be hard to get booked as an individual. It’s after you become an established model that you can go solo because then brands can identify with your image.
- In Johannesburg fashion editors, runway organisers and clothing outlets ( woolworths, H&M, Edgars etcs) wanting to do commercials book their models directly with agencies like ICE models, G3 Models, Boss, Rage, Alushi and etcs. They won’t go scouting for solo models ( which will take their time) meanwhile this job has already been done by agencies. They’ll just book the models they need directly from a trusted agency.
- By joining an agency, I will gain experience in a team environment, learn from others well versed in the field and obtain the backing of a trusted brand (the agency) to help me get bookings – Instead if trying to do it all alone with little experience and no good agency to back me up. People go for the brand they trust. And I will benefit from that association.
WHAT’S MY NEXT STEP?
I’ve been researching modelling agencies in Johannesburg for the past couple of weeks. I checked their websites as well as the models’ profiles to see how they are portrayed, the comments they had about the agencies they worked at as well as the kinds of shoots or runway shows they did. So I narrowed it down to Boss Models, Alushi and Rage Models management. They seemed more “work able with”, if you know what I mean, based on my little online research.
But definitely open to sending applications to other agencies if I find that we can be on the same page. So my next step is to take neat profile photos (head shot, side shot and full length shot) and send applications to these 3 agencies. Then cross my fingers and hope for the best 😂😂. If my application gets accepted, I will certainly clarify that I will not be doing any shoots that involve nudity, wearing skimpy clothes, wearing lingerie or posing in compromising positions. If they do not accept my terms, then I’m out of there!
My long term plan is to settle as a solo model, not signed with any agencies but still being booked as a result of the good self brand image I would have built from working with agencies. So the plan is to eventually work directly with brands that will sideline agencies and book individual models. But one has to build their profile before going solo right?