Dominic Savio Dusabe is a model signed to One Shot Photography and Design. The 21-year-old has participated in many local fashion shows and his determination is one of the reasons he is respected.
Dusabe started his career in fashion modeling in 2013. Last year, he was among the models who graced the Kigali Fashion Week. He spoke to The New Times about his career path, future plans and his thoughts on the local fashion industry.
What inspired you into fashion modeling?
Fashion modeling is something that captivated my attention as I grew up. I used to watch fashion channels and read fashion magazines, alongside attending local fashion shows, such as, Kigali Fashion Week, Rwanda Culture Fashion Show and Rwanda Clothing, among others.
At that time, I thought fashion was simply about catwalks and striking poses—but I later realised that it is more than that. Therefore, I decided to get myself involved in fashion modeling in order to understand it better.
Did you study fashion modeling?
No. I did sciences in school, but fashion modeling has always been my passion. After graduating from high school, I was lucky enough to join Imitari Independent agency—I learned that fashion modeling was to use one’s appearance to market products or services.
What do your parents or friends think of you as a model, are they supportive?
Well, that’s still a big challenge, especially here in Rwanda. In the first place, I did sciences partly because our society perceives it more important than arts.
Many people think that it’s a waste of time because fashion models don’t earn like engineers.
They don’t know that the more the industry grows, the more money models earn.
But my parents have realised that fashion modeling is something I care about and they have since given me the moral support. I think people are starting to understand fashion, but obviously much remains to be done for people to support models and the fashion industry.
Is fashion modeling important to the Rwandan society?
Yes, it is important to the Rwandan society. Basically, the world is rapidly changing and we are easily adapting to foreign cultural traits.
The ugly reality is that the youth are attracted to foreign practices and if this continues, our culture will disappear. However, the good news is that young people love fashion. And this can be one of the best ways to bring cultural awareness among the youth. I think that the Ministry of Sports and Culture should sponsor such projects.
How do you handle the pressure of being a model?
Personally, I don’t feel pressured in my work as a fashion model. As a matter of fact, models are made. They go through various training which boosts their confidence and the way they can deal with stress.
We do such trainings at One Shot Photography and Design. We also follow the Toastmasters International programme, which is a nonprofit educational organisation that operates clubs worldwide for the purpose of helping members improve their communication, public speaking and leadership skills.
People think that to be model one has to be tall and slender, is that so?
Not really. I think everyone, despite their physical description, can be a model. There are many things to do in fashion modeling, from acting to showcasing clothes and photo shoots, among others. All these things don’t require one to meet a certain height or weight. I should also note that being a model isn’t a talent.
What’s your advice for the young people who want to become fashion models?
I would advise them to go for it not because they want to make quick money, but because they’re passionate about it. I say that because the local fashion industry isn’t making money at the moment, but at the same time it is growing. So it requires passion, patience and hope, to be a fashion model.
What are your future plans?
I’m working so hard to take my modeling, acting and fashion designing skills to the international market. I also want to preserve the Rwandan culture through fashion shows and photo shoots.
What are some of the challenges the local fashion industry is facing?
The biggest challenge is the mindset. People stereotype models as hooligans. Models are not well respected and supported as other professionals.
I think the music industry also faced the same challenge for some time, but today people have started to appreciate it. Corporate companies in the country have started to support the local music industry through various initiatives, such as, Primus Guma Guma Super Star.
The same should apply to the fashion industry. But no one is going to support models unless they change their perception about fashion modeling.