On the runway: No doubt, there are many models (male and female) dominating Uganda’s modelling industry. However, there are those who continuously stand out as a result of the numerous gigs they book from time to time. In Part 1, Esther Oluka brings you up close with some of these notable male faces.
The 24- year-old has walked for renowned designers including Eguana, Sylvia Owori, Martha Jabo, among others at various fashion events. On what he likes about modelling, Iwueke says, “The industry helps me express myself and because it is very competitive, it pushes me to always work hard.”
Iwueke emerged as the upcoming model of the year 2014 winner at the Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards as well as crowned Mr Ideal, Nigeria (2015). In Uganda, he is under Joram Model Management and Mahogany Models in Nigeria.
The freelance model started modelling at 19 years while in his Senior Six vacation. Kizito has showcased for renowned designers, including Sylvia Owori, Stella Atal, Brenda Maraka, General Elly Tumwine, among others. Martha Jabo, another renowned Ugandan designer later chose him as the Face of her collection together with Patricia Akello, a Ugandan model now signed to Fusion Model Management, based in South Africa. On whom he looks up to in the industry, Kizito says, “Locally, I do not look up to anyone but on the international scene, I admire Tyson Beckford (a renowned male model). The guy is in his 40s but still gets paid so highly.”
Regarding what biggest misconception people have about male models, Kizito says it is individuals thinking that they are gay (homosexuals). Some of us are into women.”
Fredrick Lakwonyero, aka xeader
Dubbed as a man of many hats, the 26- year-old’s modelling career kicked off in 2009 after his elder sister encouraged him to go and audition as a Ziper model. This was after seeing an advert in the then African Woman Magazine. “I went through. However, several months later when the agency’s work stalled, I opted to freelance, something I am till to date,” he says.
Some of the renowned shows Xeader is proud to have walked in include Forever Love Fashion show by Sylvia Owori (2011), the annual Bride and Groom expo, Emporio Milano Boutique fashion show (2015), Xenson Ssenkaaba’s futuristic past fashion show, among others. In addition to the fashion shows, he has also featured in TV adverts and billboards for companies such as Rwenzori mineral water, Centenary Bank, Bank of Africa, among others. He has featured in music videos such as Juliana Kanyomozi’s Olibeera Nange, Ekky’s Nzijuukira and in Body Language, a music video for Pierra Akwero.
A 2014 Procurement and Supply Chain Management graduate from MUBS, Lakwonyero is also into acting, and is managing his own agency called Kimara African Models and runs a restaurant called Just Eating.
When Ssebuufu was still in high school, he had the burning desire to appear in magazines just like the male models he saw getting featured. After high school, a casting call was made in 2013 for models to go and audition for a men’s fashion explosion show (now the Abryanz Style and Fashion show) to be held at the MTN Lugogo Arena. Ssebuufu embraced the opportunity. He went through and the show became a landmark for him as it was his first runway walk. The gigs started coming from then on as he later showcased for Martha Jabo in the Diaspora Gala Fashion show in 2013 and in 2015, he again walked in the Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards, the Diaspora Social Networking show (2015), among others. Ssebuufu has also been the face of fashion brands such as Emporio Milano (a fashion store at Acacia Mall), Paple Rayn (an online shopping platform) and Swave footwear dealing in a variety of men’s shoes. On what he dislikes about the fashion industry, Ssebuufu says,
“When one is starting out as a model, they are always exploited. The people you work for take you for granted. It is until your modeling career starts picking up that you start getting the respect you deserve.”
Besides runway, Ssebuufu is also into commercial (product advertising) and editorial modelling (featuring in photo shoots).
The 23-year-old currently under Joram Model Management started modelling in 2013. “Fashion is in my blood as there are many designers in my family. But also, I joined modelling because I wanted to earn money to sustain my lifestyle,’ he says. Some of the notable shows Mushema has walked for include Kampala Fashion Week (2014), Bride and Groom Expo (2014), Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards (2013/14/15), Genesis Night by Helen Lukoma (2014), among others. Martha Jabo (Uganda), Jose Hendo (New York), Motions (Rwanda) include some of the renowned designers he has worked with.
Besides modelling, Mushema is an actor in NTV’s Hostel Series as well as Balikoowa, a fast track production soon showing on TV. Mushema advises upcoming male models, “To be disciplined and very careful with the people they meet while on the job, apply to genuine agencies, be patient and professional as well as learn to take in a ‘NO’ as a boost to work harder.”
The freelance model had his breakthrough in the industry in 2014. The urge to model was what drove him into fashion. Some of the shows Nshuti has walked for include Kigali Fashion Week, Kampala Fashion Week Intro, Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards (ASFA), among others. On what he loves about the fashion industry, Nshuti says, “I get the opportunity to network with so many people.” He is inspired by Victor Ndigwe, a Nigerian model because of his success in the mainstream fashion industry.
Abdul Wahab (king abdul)
Standing at a height of 6 feet 2 inches (6’2”), Wahab started modeling in 2013 after a friend pleaded with him to go for a casting call. After going through, he never looked back as he started booking one gig after another. Some of the renowned designers Wahab has worked with include Brenda Maraka, Raphael Kasule, Anita Beryl, Martha Jabo, Sylvia Owori, among others. His best fashion show so far is the recently concluded Hijab and Kanzu event because he played various roles, including helping in the production as well as showcasing the outfits in the runway.
“I felt at home doing that show because I was embracing my culture and religion through modeling.”
The 26-year-old, who is mostly into commercial and runway modeling, looks up to 2014 Africa’s Next Top Model Season One winner, Stacie Aamito for inspiration. “Before her big win, she would tell us (the other models) that one day; she would become a big name in the fashion industry and look at her now, she is living her dream. Aamito never gave up and that is one important thing I learnt from her.”
To young and upcoming models, he advises them not to take rejection as a turn down but rather as fuel to push them to work harder.
Adam Gashe Mukasa
He started modelling professionally in 2013 and is mostly into commercial, editorial (magazines) and fitness modelling. On why he ventured into modeling, Mukasa says it was as a result of passion. “My love for art was what prompted me to venture into this industry.” Some of the renowned Ugandan designers he has walked for include Martha Jabo, Kasule Allan Raphael (K Rafael) and Anita Beryl. Regarding payments, Mukasa says it depends on the type of gig one books and the kind of client they are working for.