The commercial modeling industry has a lot of opportunities and perks. We’ve seen the likes of Cara Delevingne and Kylie Jenner bag million dollar deals that have bettered their lives a thousand folds. They were among the Forbes top paid models in the world last year.
Digital media has made it easier for talented people to be discovered. For instance, Justin Bieber, a multiple-award winning Popstar was discovered on Youtube. In Kenya, the situation is kind of different since not many young people have mastered the art of digital branding. So many models have opted to go for print modeling.
I talked to model Tsinat. She has appeared on various billboard adverts, from Safaricom – the top telecoms company in Kenya – to Coca Cola, a top global brand. Tsinat has also done a TVC for Uchumi Supermarkets, the third largest chain in Kenya. She gave vital tips to aspiring models on how to make it in this industry.
Me: When did you start modeling?
Her: I started doing commercial modeling in 2013 after I got my first billboard advert for Coca Cola.
Me: Tell me, where did you attend school?
Her: I attended Millimani Primary School and St. Nicholas High School.
Me: What’s your biggest goal in the industry?
Her: My biggest goal would be to be a great T.V and film producer so that i could make amazing films and give opportunities to so many people out there who have amazing ideas for T.V and film. I wouldn’t want to let all those great concepts go to waste. I believe there are so many amazingly creative people with awesome ideas that have been pilled up at some corner hoping that one day something or someone will come through for them.
Me: Apart from commercial modeling, what else do you do?
Her: I am currently working with Creative Works. We offer videography services for live events. Am also studying at Africa Digital Media Institute (ADMI), persuing film and TV production.
Me: You’ve been featured on major adverts, from Coca Cola to Shell. How did that come about?
Her: Yes! I have done several billboard adverts but how I got here I just have to thank God and my agent Nina Bola who owns a modeling agency called Invogue Models. Nina and I met three years ago when she was looking for Ethiopian kids for some advert and one of my mom’s friends told my her to send my small sisters go for an audition.
I happened to be nearby and jumped on the opportunity. We never heard from Nina for 6 months! Then out of surprise, Nina called me and informed me that I had been chosen to appear on a Coke advert! I had a day to prepare since we were to travel to Mombasa for a shoot.
I did not believe it since it didn’t make sense because in the first place, I wasn’t signed up with the agency, second the “audition” we did at the roadside was for a totally different ad, and i was never into modeling so you can imagine but all in all Nina opened doors for me and I thank her a lot everyday.
Me: Who are the international models you look upto?
Her: I look up to Kendal Jenner. She is an independent, go-for-it kinda girl and she can work her face.
Me: Which are some of the challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?
Her: I have lost close friends and had bad talk about me and it was so tough, lonely and all but whenever I came back home and saw my family i would just forget about everything and kept pushing forward so yes…my family helped me overcome everything during the difficult stage by making me their daughter and friend.
Me: Which is the biggest lesson you have learnt and you would love to share?
Her: Biggest lesson learnt would be to keep God in everything. Because whenever I would want to do something and I’m convinced that it will workout, Gods answer might not turn out as I want. He knows best for me so I pray and accept His command and go by his will.
Me: Jaden Smith is currently spearheading the gentle fluid fashion revolution. What do you have to say about that?
Her: I honestly did not know about that. I really don’t follow up on Jaden.
Me: How would you describe your fashion sense?
Her: Simple and comfortable.
Me: What would you be caught dead wearing?
Her: That would be big earnings and fishnet stockings – NEVER.
Me: Choose one: Idris Elba or Omari Hardwick?
Her: Idris Elba
Me: If you had a superpower, what would you want it to be?
Her: It would be power to get each and every street kid in the world out of the streets.
Me: Why would you advise an upcoming model to register with an agency rather than freelance?
Her: Freelancing is tricky and risky in its own way because you’re never assured that you will be notified for a shoot or audition unlike joining a modeling agency where the agent and the company just get your portfolio taken and they do the search for you by sending your portfolio straight to the clients and gives you a heads up whenever there’s an audition.
Me: The Kenyan modeling industry has its own flaws as many models don’t know their rights and the importance of intellectual property. How can stakeholders and the government help in making reforms?
Her: Modeling is really growing in kenya for both young and old from both rural and urban sides but i would advise the stakeholders and government to give a chance for models and even others grow their intellectual rights by helping create institutions where they can mold, grow and inform them more of their rights and later use them for the greater purpose of kenya and themselves.
Me: Any final words for your current and future fans?
Her: Whatever you put your mind to, make it happen with God’s permission and always know that life isn’t happening to you, its responding to you.
You can follow Tsinat on Instagram to get updates on her fun stuff and modeling work.
Interview conducted by @harunmomanyi. Harun is an accredited lifestyle and entertainment journalist, known for working with the likes of Yemi Alade, Vanessa Mdee, Sauti Sol, Eddy Kenzo, K.O and other big celebrities. You can check out more of his work at www.momanyiharun.com.