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My self-esteem was affected when I was told that I am ugly- Jolie Bwiza

Jolie Bwiza during photoshoot sessions in the USA. / Photo: Courtesy.

Negative comments can actually discourage, hurt and destroy someone’s efforts to be what and who they want to be.

For Jolie Bwiza, a 22-year-old Rwanda model based in Washington State- Seattle, USA, her self-esteem was lost when she was told that she was ugly, a statement that tormented her for long-that she actually believed that she wasn’t beautiful.


Although she had dreams of becoming a model one day, and assumed modelling was all about beauty, she gave up on what she yearned for, for long.


When she relocated to America, she tried inquiring about what it took for one to be a model, but unfortunately, she was discouraged, that modeling is a competitive career path with a lot of criticisms.


She resorted to taking pictures and concentrating on how to learn to do makeup. Fortunately, her confidence was boosted when she read Ashley Graham’s book titled “What confidence, beauty, and power really looks like- a book that rehabilitated her thinking.

Bwiza realised that she could actually make it into the modelling industry. Also, Adut Akech is one of the models who inspired her as she grew up in a refugee camp and later went to Australia, as an immigrant.

“Akech’s vigour to work extremely hard to get to where she wants to be, even when there is no way, is such a great lesson for me,” Bwiza notes.

She also watched inspirational videos and interviews of other models talking about their insecurities and all the challenges they have encountered but overcame and became superstars.

Bwiza is currently an independent model who has done commercial work, with Ricardo Beverly Hills, a California-based company that inspires travelers, Undenied Boutique-An African store clothes, among other companies.

She is still looking forward to joining an agency that is fit for her.

“Modeling is not all about beauty, it is a tougher industry than we think. There are lots of things that entails in it, apart from the body size, height, weight, body shape, skin texture and hair, but also, intelligence matters,” Bwiza states.  

Bwiza works extremely hard to maintain her weight, by exercising and eating healthy.

She is currently undertaking a training program known as “Model to Modelpreneure”, where she is learning monetizing her modeling skills like, how to negotiate with agencies, making a portfolio, pausing while taking pictures, staying consistent on social media and so forth.

However, all is not smooth for her as an African immigrant as it is tricky to get the right resources, and finding the right people to help her through the process.

She explains that modeling comes with its benefits and skills, such as, confidence, excellent verbal communication skills, patience and the ability to stay calm even when stressed.

Other attributes include physical fitness and endurance, interactions and the ability to work with others, concentration skills, and active listening skills, among others.

The youngster says that fashion is hard but fun at the same time, but the career exposes models to travel the world and learn new styles and different cultures.

She encourages young ladies not to be discouraged by anyone because beauty is already on the inside. Although she hasn’t made it to where she wants to be, she will keep pushing.

Her goal is to be on a runway, meet with big models that she has dreamed of like Naomi Campbell, Adut Akech, Ashley Graham, and others.

She also aspires to appear in known magazines like Vogue, Bazar, and all kinds of magazines.

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