Africa holds breath

The show will be beamed live on M-Net satellite television across the continent starting at 1700 hours.

Stakes have been raised in this year’s Nokia Face of Africa model search as M-Net revealed that the winner of the 2006 competition will receive a three- year, US$150 000 modelling contract from Elite Model Management New York.

The top 10 finalists who have progressed to the glitzy Nokia Face of Africa 2006 final today are Kea Basima (Botswana), Sandra Bigirimana (Burundi), Mirash Davis (Ghana), Catherine Hemans Yankey (Ghana), Andenyi Anjalo (Kenya), Venantia Otto (Namibia), Ishioma Onyebo (Nigeria), Melody Zulu (South Africa), Mulenga Mubanga (Zambia) and Munira Namakula (Uganda).

The search for Africa’s next Supermodel started in February 2006, as the Nokia Face of Africa scouting team travelled the continent, visiting 12 countries and seeing over 6 000 aspirants.

They narrowed them down to just 17 semi-finalists, who travelled to Botswana for Model Boot Camp 1.

Having spent a week in Botswana at the Boot Camp, and another week putting their skills to the test on the catwalk in Cape Town, the 17 semi-finalists in Africa’s biggest supermodel search, Nokia Face of Africa, were cut down to just 10.

Five of the girls were eliminated during the course of the Botswana Boot Camp, based on their performance in a series of tasks which tested their natural ability as models.

The Nokia Face of Africa Model Boot Camp in Botswana saw the departure of Chipo Ngoyi (Zambia), Gertrude Ogada (Kenya), Phumelele Mtshali (South Africa), Selamawit Adamu Teshale (Ethiopia) and Zuhura Mrisho Watuta (Tanzania).

Then the 12 semi-finalists who survived the Boot Camp jetted off to Cape Town and arrived at the Nokia Cape Town Fashion Week with a point to prove. They tested themselves against seasoned models, competing for places in shows at Fashion Week. Their first week in Cape Town was spent at castings and fittings, learning at every turn.

All told, the 12 semi-finalists appeared in 66 shows between them ‘ a fantastic achievement for a group of girls who would only have dreamed of walking the catwalk at an international-standard fashion week a few short months ago.

Nokia Cape Town Fashion Week drew a total audience in excess of 30 000 discerning fashion enthusiasts ‘ measuring up to their expectations, a tough test for 12 aspirant, inexperienced models.

The format for the elimination at Nokia Cape Town Fashion Week was as follows: all the remaining semi-finalists competed for work with each other and alongside other professional models.

For each booking they made (either for fashion shoots or runway shows), each semi-finalist earned points.

At the end of Fashion Week, the semi-finalists who earned the least points were eliminated from the competition. This new format ensured that the semi-finalists were judged, not only by the Nokia Face of Africa adjudicators, but also by the greater modelling industry.

The two models who worked in the fewest shows at Nokia Cape Town Fashion Week were Aisha Danjuma (Nigeria) and Deline Masiyiwa (Zimbabwe), so they were eliminated at the end of the week.

Founded in 1971 by John Casablancas and originally based in Paris, Elite relocated to New York after six years.

Throughout the years Elite has maintained its position as one of the undisputed leaders in its field, launching the careers of icons Stephanie Seymour, Cindy Crawford, Demi Moore, Cameron Diaz, Andie McDowell, Linda Evangelista, Heidi Klum, Gisele Bundchen, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer and Tyra Banks, amongst many others.

With over 30 years of experience, processing over five million bookings, Elite remains at the forefront of the industry.

Head of M-Net Local Productions Carl Fischer welcomes Elite’s involvement in the Nokia Face of Africa project. “Elite’s pedigree speaks for itself ‘ the agency represents some of the biggest names in the fashion world, and will help us put African models on the international map,” says Fischer.

Cathy Gould, Executive Director at Elite Model Management New York, sees the agency’s involvement with Nokia Face of Africa as a step towards building a strong relationship between Elite and the African continent.

“Elite Model Management New York is excited to part of the Nokia Face of Africa initiative again and is delighted to add Africa to our scouting network,” said Gould.

Meanwhile Nokia Face of Africa 2005 winner Kaone Kario continues to grow in catwalk status. The energetic young model, who was signed to Storm Models as a part of her prize package, recently moved to Zero Models in Cape Town and is continuing to win fans for her dynamic presence and go-getting attitude.

August 2006
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