Fiona MutoniNaringwa has a passion for fashion and modelling dating way back to her childhood days. She was third runner up at this year’s Miss Rwanda contest and has been on the runways of all the popular fashion events in the country. She is currently working as the main trainer and choreographer for the upcoming Rwanda Cultural Fashion show.
The New Times interviewed Mutoni about her career in modelling and her views about the fashion industry.
What is your background in modelling?
When I was six years old, I used to follow a cousin of mine who was a model back in Kenya. From then, I liked it and felt like it was something I could do. I showcased for the first time at the age of 16, and signed my first contract at 17 with STRUT IT AFRIKA which is a modelling agency from Kenya for three years.
How do you manage to juggle studies and modelling?
It is not that hard apart from the exam period. Besides, there aren’t a lot of shows in Rwanda so it is something I can handle.
How do you envision your career as a model?
Well, in Kenya it was very promising. But here in Rwanda, I just take it as a part time job that I am passionate about. However, if an opportunity comes my way, I will certainly go for it.
What is your biggest challenge in modelling?
Staying fit is really challenging. Trying to keep up with the right measurements is also very crucial to any model.
Can modelling be a full time job in Rwanda?
Not at all, the pay is still very low and shows are scarce. I don’t think that one can make a living from modelling in Rwanda yet, but it the industry is growing bit by bit so we will get to that in days to come.
What specific lesson did you learn from the Miss Rwanda contest?
I learned a lot from it. In a much tactical way, it was very different from usual routines of a model. I had to face the spectators. When we are showcasing, the spotlight is on us but we don’t see the audience. It was quite an experience that strengthened me and increased my confidence.
What can Rwandans learn from Kenyans when it comes to fashion?
Kenyans are very supportive towards their designers. They wear much of their local brands and are very proud of them. It would be nice for Rwandans to support local designers by buying locally made clothes.