Zim modelling industry

HARARE - The modelling industry experienced entirely new phenomena in 2018.

Over five Zimbabwean models travelled to participate in international pageants and the country walked away with at least one international title and other top five positions, something that has not happened since Miss Malaika.

Interestingly, local models no longer have to wait for one or two national pageants to get the exposure they need and this is good news in deed for all upcoming talent.

The more local models we sent out there, the more recognition our models will get and this trend will result in the growth and development of modeling in Zimbabwe.

The year 2018 also saw the formation of the Modelling Industry Watchdog of Zimbabwe (MIWZ), an organisation that will be officially launched this year and was solely established to protect and serve all models and modelling industry practitioners.

An authoritative body with both bark and bite has been missing in action in Zimbabwe and this has resulted in major cases of gross indiscipline, manipulative tendencies and some very unfair and unfavourable working conditions for models and agencies alike.

In 2019, the modelling industry is likely to experience growth if expansion and growth-potential trends set in 2018 prevail.

The major problems such as non payment for work done, models not receiving prizes as promised, inadequate payment for jobs done, lack of proper funding and sponsorship for pageants and fashion shows continue to bedevil the industry and this is the challenge the industry must come together and tackle once and for all.

Other issues such as the continued existence of unregistered modelling agencies and models are a clear and present danger to the local modelling industry as well as advertising agencies that continue to pay models peanuts yet they pocket large sums of money from the brands they represent.

Despite the above, they are many in the industry who have shown uncommon resilience,  stuck to proper industry standards and continue to have a qualitative approach to doing business.

Organisations such as Miaz and the modelling industry watchdog all have grand plans and ideas to promote and establish local pageants and concepts that serve the interests of the industry as opposed to pageants and modelling events that market other industries at the expense of the modelling industry as has been happening for years now.

2019 is that year to formalise all activities related to modelling in Zimbabwe. All pageants must follow set standards, pay prizes as pledged, models need to have official management or at least belong to a registered agency of their choice and all modelling agencies must be registered and operate within the confines of the law and abide by established industry standards mainly because if we can’t formalise quickly and properly, we are no better than Mushikashika pirate taxis that ply local roads, congesting our beautiful cities.

More importantly, we may fail to get respect or attract much-needed funding from the corporate sector.

Organisations such as the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe need to finally wake up and recognise the existence of the modelling industry rather than just wait on the sidelines only to impose levies, fines and or ask for various payments when in fact they virtually play no knowledge role in the industry.

The government of the day through the ministry of Sports and Culture can not continue to play blind to an industry subscribed to by hundreds of thousands of Zimbabwean young men and women, an industry that can bring truckloads of goodwill to the country with the capacity to employ thousands of jobless youths.

Other ministries such as Education, Industry and Commerce, Youth and Gender can also play a meaningful role in the spirit of inclusion and the Zimbabwe is open for business mantra. After all, modelling is a viable business and a million-dollar industry.

* Rukato is managing director of Size4 modelling agency, deputy president of Modelling Industry Association of Zimbabwe as well as founding member of the Modelling Industry Watchdog of Zimbabwe.

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