Rwandan fashion industry should embrace plus size models, says Ruhinda

Lucy Hope Ruhinda has been modelling for the last four years an experience she says has taught her a lot. Born to a Tanzanian father and Rwandan mother, the 25 year old was raised in Tanzania but chose to stay in Rwanda and pursue her education and a career in Rwanda after falling in love with the country.
Lucy Hope Ruhinda. / Faustin Niyigena.
Lucy Hope Ruhinda. / Faustin Niyigena.

Lucy Hope Ruhinda has been modelling for the last four years an experience she says has taught her a lot. Born to a Tanzanian father and Rwandan mother, the 25 year old was raised in Tanzania but chose to stay in Rwanda and pursue her education and a career in Rwanda after falling in love with the country.

The third year student of Business and IT also intends to put it into practice her IT skills into fashion. She talked to Sunday Times’ Sharon Kantengwa about her modelling journey and her take on the industry.

Take us through your modelling journey

In my teenage years, I dreamt of performing in front of crowds. I initially thought of singing but realised I wouldn’t succeed because it wasn’t my calling. While in high school, I realised I had a flair for modelling and it soon became a hobby I enjoyed. 

I then chose to make it a career and joined a modelling agency in Mwanza where I worked for them for one year. When I came to Rwanda in2011, I was given a scholarship at University of Rwanda’s College of Business and Economics but my dream was to study IT and I joined University of Kigali. 

I had given up on modelling, to concentrate on my studies until former Miss Rwanda, Mutesi Aurore Kayibanda noticed my talent for modelling and encouraged me to contest for Miss University. I didn’t win the competition which discouraged me because I felt that I had disappointed all those who believed in me.

Turning point

My turning point came when fashion designer Daddy de Maximo commended me on my pictures that I often posted online. He encouraged me to rekindle my modelling career and after he left the country I started doing it as a profession. It’s been four years since and I haven’t looked back. 

It is a flair that has helped me meet so many people. I have successfully participated in most of the fashion events in Rwanda including the Rwanda cultural Fashion show and Kigali fashion week.

You seem to be happy with your progress; can you say modelling pays your bills?

Modelling here is still on freelance basis and it therefore cannot pay all your bills. One only has to have the passion and patience for it as it pays off in the long run and can take you places. Luckily our recognition is stepping up in this country and the Ministry of Sports and Culture is doing a great job in supporting us.

What would you wish to see changed in the industry?

There are so many stereotypes regarding models and among them is that only slender girls make good models which is isn’t the case. Our job is to showcase fashion that anyone can wear and although the slim ones are highly preferred in this country plus size models should be given chance to participate in fashion events as I have seen in many other countries.

What more do you intend to achieve?

I have created a soft ware that will be ready in a month that deals with fashion and design. I want to market and develop it to ease producer and consumer satisfaction in the fashion industry.

 

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