Tina Uwase has been a model for three years. She represented Rwanda at the Top Model Africa 2016 in Harare- Zimbabwe last month, where she emerged as the first runner-up.
Five models had been selected to represent Rwanda but only Uwase made it to Harare while the rest failed to secure air tickets. She talked to The New Times about her experience.
How was the competition?
The competition was good but challenging at the same time. I arrived in Zimbabwe a day after the competitions had started; I had to do all I could to catch up with the rest and let that not affect me in any way.
What was your biggest challenge in this competition?
Time was a very big problem during the competition. There were many assignments given to us as models and very little time was given to accomplish them. Literally no assignment was given more than 30 minutes and I found it very hard to utilize these minutes effectively to deliver the assignments.
What did you learn from the continental pageant?
I learnt that as a model, I should concentrate more on what I can do best and not where I am weak. And as the competition progressed, I learnt that a model should have confidence. I also gained a lot of experience in many fields.
Did you get any contracts and certificates from the competition?
I won a contract with Star FM based in Zimbabwe where I will be a full time presenter.
Star Television also based in Zimbabwe signed with me a contract to advertise products of a company from any African country which will air on that television for fifteen minutes and I will always be paid for that.
A certificate of honor was given to only the top five models and I was among them.
I was also given an offer to study at one of the most expensive international modeling schools in Philippines where I will acquire skills to advance my modeling career.
I also won a prize as the first runner up in the Top Model Africa 2016.
How do you feel about these accomplishments?
I feel so happy and excited to have made it through. I am so proud of myself too.
Looking at this prize and benefits from these contracts will always give me a go ahead to even aim higher and higher.
What advice can you give models and those aspiring to be models in Rwanda?
Rwandan models should learn to sacrifice if they want to reach greater heights in this industry. Being a small industry in our country, they must be able to utilize all their chances at all costs.
I gave up all my savings and mobilized money from family members so as to cater for my air ticket to his competition. This was not because I had a lot of money or support but because I did not want to miss out on this one time opportunity.
What are your future plans?
When I made it to Top Model Africa 2016, I asked God to enable me win at least something so that from those proceeds I can start up a training school for the upcoming models in Rwanda.
I promise that I will be able to save what I earned out of participating in this competition ($1,500) and also what I earn from my shop in Nyamirambo to facilitate this project.
Besides modeling, what do you do for a living?
I am a student at St. Andrews College in Nyamirambo in S.6, waiting to do my final exams. Like I said, I have a shop in Nyamirambo which deals in African wear, which also helps me cater for my school fees.