Jean-Claude Ndayishimiye strikes you as humble, elegant and adorable. As Séraphine Habimana finds out, the Rwandan model is also genuinely motivated by a burning desire to help those in need.
Who is Jean-Claude Ndayishimiye?
I was born in Bujumbura, Burundi in October, 1982, to Jean-Pierre Ndahiro and Léoncie Nyirasafari. My family fled in Burundi in 1959. We returned to our motherland in 1995. I studied Agriculture at Ecole Veternaire de Kabutare and Accountancy at Université Libre de Kigali.
When did you decide that you wanted to do this modeling thing professionally?
I started modeling in 2001. In fact, it was my sister, who was already a model, who prodded me to move into the spotlight. She told me that I had all the qualities of a good model but I never knew that this would later become a big part of my life. Besides, I had a feeling that modeling was for gay people. However, I landed myself a job with a modeling agency called Hardrock Production, where I worked for a year before moving to Promode Services, where I remained for seven years.
Tell us about your turning point in your career
After winning a modeling competition organised by Daddy Max in 2009, I decided to launch my own modeling agency, Premier Model Agency (PMA). My overriding objective was to show Rwandans that modeling was not about ‘bad behaviour’ like most Rwandans think. Most parents regard models as black sheep – people with no morals and values. I wanted to show them that good side of the trade.