Maria Nepembe to groom African youths
> Adolf Kaure
WINDHOEK – Namibian entrepreneur, Maria Nepembe, who became a household name first as a video vixen then as a housemate in Big Brother Africa: The Chase aims to empower models across the continent with her recently founded initiative, the Pro Model Agency.
Nepembe disclosed to The Southern Times this week how the agency not only aims to groom upcoming models but also help them improve their self-image.
“The agency does not only teach models how to be on the runway and pose for cameras but [also] most importantly we teach the fundamentals of knowing and understanding oneself, owning themselves and their reputations, embracing their own bodies with self-acceptance and developing confident personalities that no one will be able to question,” Nepembe said.
“Pro Model Agency is an agency founded by Andrew Brown and myself with a vision of empowering models to achieve their complete modelling potential while also enabling them to commercialise their talents. The agency has recently branched out to Nigeria, where we are working with a friend, Beverly Osu – who is a former Big Brother contestant and an international model herself,” she said.
Nepembe is humble, bubbly and describes herself as a simple village girl, who loves life.
The Ondangwa-born Nepembe recalled how her experience, in the Big Brother Africa house opened her eyes and allowed her to chase her dreams.
“My time in Big Brother Africa was an experience that not many other events in my life would beat. It was a time away from everything, in fact, I would say it was months of meditation because during that time I really got to know myself and my full potential. From the moment I stepped out, my career path started changing for the better with more focus and determination than ever,” said Nepembe.
Maria Nepembe, who is an actress, and radio and television presenter, also pioneered her own fashion clothing line called RIA. She elaborated on the clothing line which also featured at the inaugural Windhoek Fashion week, which took place last year.
“I felt it’s better to do it for everybody by starting RIA. Our first collection was made in Ghana with fabric from Amsterdam, Milan, Paris and Dubai but currently I have a Namibian fashion designer involved and the goods are being tailored in Namibia with truly Namibian talent. RIA is now fully commercial with 10 percent of all RIA profits going to the Maria Nepembe Foundation, which is my special project aimed at raising funds for charity. The finished goods are always set to grow the RIA brand and I’ll keep making quality stuff,” Nepembe said.
“Well, I have had to deal with some individuals that strive on attacking my character and reputation, but I can’t really say they were challenges because I see the situations more as opportunities to remind myself that life is not fair and that I have to keep working very hard to achieve my goals in life,” she said.
Nepembe’s other notable achievements include finishing as first runner-up at Miss University Africa 2011 in Nigeria, starring as a video vixen in the “Dirty Kandeshi” music video, becoming radio presenter for Fresh FM and hosting her own television show called “glamTV” on Ghone TV in Ghana.
She concluded by urging all aspiring models to be courageous in pursuing their ambitions: “I just want to encourage people to follow their dreams and never give up because fortune really favours the brave.” – firstname.lastname@example.org