By Thandeka Mthethwa
The first born in a family of five, born-again model Bongani Luyanda Magwaza (20) from KwaNongoma, KwaZulu-Natal, started modeling in High school but when his family could not afford to send him to University to further his studies in Fashion design, he says he never felt discouraged instead he decided to take an easy path to his destiny through professional modeling.
How important is your relationship with God when it comes to your career?
God comes first in everything I do, being able to model was the gift God gave me. I believe that the day I put my career first, is the day modeling will be useless for me. Being born again means living in the control of God and not of yourself and living happily separated in things that the Word of God is against.
Is it hard being a model that is rooted in the word of God and his teachings?
It is not hard but the world has twisted salvation as if it is something that slaves us but you have to remember that in any decision you make, you need to live a life that represents God and his Son, Jesus Christ.
Do you think that in order for a person to be a model, it is a must that they look a certain way and keep to it in order to continue being relevant and make sure that they get the jobs they want?
I don’t believe a look determines a model but the ability and the love for modeling is what matters and sustaining the way you look constantly is something that is required.
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So you started modeling in High school, was it professional modeling or something you did for fun?
I did yes, even though I had the passion for it in High school, it was not something I was doing professionally but after I completed high school in 2013, I met this lady Zen Thusi in 2016, who introduced me to the world of professional modeling.
So you have an agent, how important is it for a model to have an agent?
Yes, I have an agent. Having an agent is very important, having someone who purifies your abilities is much needed and an agent really helps you in terms of getting recognition by other big brands and not mentioning a good profile and the experience that comes with it.
What other dreams do you have within the modeling industry?
I would like to start and own my own brand but for now I am still gathering information and mixing myself with the right people who have been in the modeling industry for a long time, being in a certain brand is also something I would like to be part of.
Would you not like to be an ambassador for top companies like Calvin Klein and possibly model their underwear range, like Lunga Shabalala or perhaps do commercials for different companies (such as Truworths, Identity, Markham, Jet etc.) that will give you exposure and therefore allowing you to build your own brand more easily?
That is a chance I will grab with both hands when it presents itself. Being the face of companies like Truworths and Identity is a good way to gain exposure, so given the opportunity, I will definitely do it.
So how do you stay in shape, like do you have an exercise routine or a certain diet you keep to?
Yes, most definitely, I attend the gym twice a week and I do lifting, I however do sit-ups and jogging every single morning for about thirty minutes. And for my diet, I do not really follow a certain diet but I always make sure I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, and most importantly, I keep away from fast foods.
Who is your favorite female and male model, international and local and why?
I have a lot of favorite models but the ones that stand out locally, a guy called Janez and a lady by the name of Ziphozakhe Zokufa, and then internationally, I love Naomi Campbell, and Marcus Patrick.
Why those particular people, why do they stand out for you?
Good publicity is what mostly attracts, and these models never have negative publicity, the lifestyle they live is something I look up to, they are true to who they are. They are not copying someone’s life; they are just doing what makes them unique, what makes them happy.
Would you take a job that requires you to strip for the camera or you have limitations on the kind of jobs you would accept, like a work ethic that you go by?
Yes I do have a work ethic. Underwear is my only limit in modeling and this is based on my religion but as I said before, there are moments where that limit does not exist due to pressure.
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What kind of pressure?
Like in pageants when the dress code is set to be swim suit and in such instances, you are fighting for a win, you will surely go for it, no debates around that.
What has been you greatest achievement or highlight in your career so far?
It has to be when I was appointed as the leader model of Zendourcias Couture amongst a lot of other models. That year I really thrived to be a better model and it paid off.
Do you have any people you would to thank perhaps for their contribution in your career?
I have so much appreciation for my family and friends who have been with me from day one, their support has been amazing, we all know it’s hard for parents to accept your decision especially when you chose a career such as modeling and especially when you are a born-again Christian, but they have never judged or told me to stop. They have given me endless support which I am thankful for. Zen Thusi my agent really encouraged me and saw the potential in me when no one else did, so thank you Zen. And lastly, thank you to the team of Mvunyane where I reigned as their Mr Personality.
Do you have any advice for upcoming models, people who would like to follow in your footsteps?
Firstly focus, destructions are there along the way but know where you want to be and respect people. In this life, we meet a lot of different people who are claiming to be better than others in modeling but you must always keep you head up and respect them and their opinion and lastly, keep fighting so that you can achieve.
If people want to get in touch with you, how can they reach you?
They can reach out to me on my Facebook page: Bongani Magwaza-male model and on WhatsApp on 076 574 8492.