LOCAL plus-size model Fadzai Prudence Kaundo said her modelling journey has been tough with some male chauvinists always perceiving women as sex objects. She said she had weathered the storms and stood her ground as a professional model.
I am 23 years old. I was born on March 4 in 1997 and raised in Harare. Growing up I was always big bodied that made me grow through a lot of body shaming and ended up taking up responsibilities that were not of my age. I got so used to being the fat and ugly person that I just dressed up like a boy. Then time came when I decided to take up public speaking in school and it boosted a bit of my confidence. Even in school whilst others wore sport shorts I was asked to put legging tights on top because it was provocative. My own classmates never understood the difference in bodies. By the time I was 14 years, my breasts had grown to full size and they had all sorts of names lined up for me. Gradually because there was this strong will in me, I became adventurous with my looks, dressing and the way I handled myself. I grew to love my body and shape more.
Modelling journey and challenges
In February last year, I decided to be a plus-size model so that I could showcase that all bodies are divine and size does not limit a person. Modelling can be such a challenging and lonely journey especially in our country where people sexualise models and end up being caught up in some sponsor drama before their career is crushed.
On growth, support and sponsorship there is a thin line between sponsorship being used. In my case I have collaborated with several photographers most times. I never got to see my work because they could not draw a line between professional life and personal relations.
In some cases I got to the extent of pouring out the visions and business ideas and the next morning you wake up to the individuals work on those ideas and you are on the side-line. We also live in a society where modelling has not yet been understood. People rush to call themselves brand ambassadors or influencers, but what does that even mean to be an influencer?
What’s at stake for you to become relevant is what you stand for, so by the end of the day, sell out a very big dream for a few moments of publicity or be a property of a big rich man in town.
There is again the issue of society, this includes family, church and traditions. There is a certain way society expects a woman to carry themselves. To me this seems to bring limitations because how do you live your own life based on other people’s perceptions and still call it your own?
Life is an adventure and meant to be lived. A woman should be allowed to be anything she dreams of without limitations, but then it’s up to you as an individual to work to make history or follow societal guidelines on how to be a “good woman”.
Beauty according to Kaundo
When I look at beauty I look at it from an empowerment point of view, where I am saying; there is woman out there under sexual abuse and now they have lost their hope, young ladies going through body shaming and have lost their self-esteem and women going through physical abuse and think there is nothing more to this life. All these situations can be dealt with through body awareness campaigns, foundations and many other closely related campaigns to empower women and let the world know that every woman is beautiful.
I am a make-up artist @beautifymeupglamzw. I have an online store for lingerie and accessories @beautifymeupzw.
Modelling and profitability
No or should I say not, maybe as I grow and when the industry starts realising the importance of models especially plus-size models.
I really love travelling, seeing the wildlife and resorts, landmarks of Zimbabwe and I also love visiting the pools, rivers and dams.
I would love to get to a point where I get to be recognised at an international level. Make a real positive impact in young girls who have gone through the same and also help to shield others from those experiences.
The great memories I believe I am still in the process of making them, for now I am just enjoying the processes and taking the lesson.