-- M DUBZ-SUPER-MODELS—
Since time immemorial, modelling has always been associated with females. However, we have more males in this industry than we can ever imagine. This week, we are featuring Khumbo Dick Jnr Maononga; the first ever male model under this column.
As you will note from Khumbo’s narration, modelling has nothing to do with one’s sex. Males elsewhere have also been doing good in this industry.
FULL NAME: Khumbo Dick Jnr Maononga
DATE OF BIRTH: 29/05/1994
Khumbo is a third born son in a family of 4; two girls two boys.
Born and bred in Lilongwe, Khumbo describes himself as having a melancholy character. He is of the type who likes meeting new faces and likes learning from others.
Outside modelling, Khumbo is a reggae boy. Country and western music also forms part of his every day playlist. Reggae icons such as Chronixx, Jamiel, and Romain Virgo are some of his favourite artists. As for country and western, Don Williams, and Kenny Rodgers are some of his favourites.
Currently, Khumbo is studying Community Development Level 4 at Lilongwe Technical College. Before that, he had been a nomad, sampling various primary and secondary schools across the country.
He started his academic journey at Sos Primary in Lilongwe, then he went to Chinsapo, and St Joseph Primary schools in Lilongwe. Later on, he trekked up north where he attended Hilltop Private school. It is here where he sat for his Primary Schools’ Leaving Certificate of Education.
Later on, he went to St Joseph Secondary, and Chinsapo Open secondary school. Then he went to Matindi Private and then Athens Two Private where he sat for his Malawi Schools’ Certificate of Education.
The journey to modelling
Khumbo’s entry into modelling is very very interesting. In simple terms, he owes everything to one Yolanda Ng’oma. Here’s his story.
It was in Lilongwe some time back and Khumbo was heading towards immigration offices. He bumped into two ladies, (one purportedly, Yolanda) and in no time, asked him if he could have been interested in modelling. He almost laughed his lungs out as back then, he never thought there could exist male models. Not in Malawi anyway. Later, the two ladies gave Khumbo their business cards in case he was to be interested.
With time, interest in modelling started creeping in in Khumbo’s mind. He pondered on giving it a trial. The thought of auditioning for modelling grew thick. It was here that his mind was made up; sooner, he started having some mentorship from revered fashion designer, Harry Kazembe. By and by, the curious Khumbo started searching more on what this industry was all about, more especially on male modelling. So, that is how Khumbo found himself in this industry.
So, later on, he was auditioned by FAME, (Fashion Edition Malawi). It is FAME that has groomed and shaped Khumbo into one of the revered male models he is today.
His understanding of modelling
Khumbo understands modeling as a way of life. According to him, it is how you present yourself. Khumbo however feels most people confuse modelling with fashion, though the two are inter-related. All in all, Khumbo regards modeling as an everyday life.
What it takes to be a model?
In Khumbo’s world, to be a male model is not that big deal. Have a desirable height, have a perfect walk, shape your body and develop a desirable attitude. Above all, self-discipline is a key to a runway modelling.
Khumbo also has another secret to all would-be models, and even those already established. For commercial models, he has this,
“You just find out what part of body is perfect on you. By that I mean, for example your hand can be used in advertising wrist watches etc.”
A normal day for a model
A model’s day, according to Khumbo, is just like any other person’s. The only difference is that him spares some time to practice his walk, his poses, and also maintaining his body by going to the gym. Just like any profession, modelling also requires serious check-ups; that is according to Khumbo.
Is modelling that sweet, in Malawi?
From Khumbo’s observation, currently, the fruits of Malawian modelling are not that appetizing. In his observation, one cannot 100% rely on it for everyday survival. Khumbo feels most models in Malawi just do it out of passion, or as part time activities as the fruits are not that rewarding.
In terms of marketing, Khumbo feels modelling is still embryonic. He feels a majority of Malawians has a rather negative perception of modelling. However, he has a feeling that with time, such a negative perception is likely to change as the country is developing so fast, hence modelling is going to be recognized.
If one was to follow the modeling career, from Khumbo’s perspective, the challenges he or she would face are payments when it comes to fashion shows. At times, the payments could not be that satisfactory, and at times, the perks could take ages.
That aside, some challenges can be personal like access to necessities to maintain your status quo as a model, assuming you have no sponsor or support.
As for commercial models, most adverts in the country are featuring music artists instead of models. So, this is very challenging to commercial models.
In addition, Khumbo observes that the country has no registered modeling agency in Malawi hence it is a hassle for one to entirely depend on modelling for their everyday survival. So, in Khumbo’s recommendation, modelling agencies are needed in the country if many aspiring models are to up their games.
As it is, models are just used for fashion shows but it could be more than that.
His first experience on the runway
As expected, his first experience as a runway model was that of a nervous young model. He was so nervous as he knew all eyes were to be on him. He was melting inside as he was walking; however, it was also fun at the same time. With time however, he garnered some energy and he managed to walk freely.
A lone wolf in a female dominated industry
To Khumbo, it feels normal being a male model. From the fashion point of view, males also have an eye for fashion trends. To him, it is just normal being a male model; just like females. He is however mindful that there are some backward Malawians who associate male modelling with being a gay. To him, such ideas are so weird as not all models would be heading such a direction.
Advise to the youth
Khumbo has a very simple piece of advice to all aspiring youths.
“Not everyone in life would be proud of you. You can’t please everyone. Put God first in everything you do in life. He is the master planner and he knows better of your future.”,
Who are you not be? (Philippians 4-13)
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Rearranged by Gibson C Kamanga