In Conversation with: Naki Hlomayi
Naki is a mistress of all trades defines herself as a lady boss and always on the move. She has managed to multi task her ever busy work schedule, her school and her modelling career, not forgetting her personal life. She defines her modelling career to be back with a bang and has proven to be a model with both beauty and brains. She is an Accounting graduate of the prestigious university of the Witwatersrand and is still acquiring other qualifications. Naki does not define success by her well-known dashing IG pictures, or the number of likes she gets from them but “it’s about whatever makes you happy at the end of the day” and she “muses” She is creative but can also be accessible and can be cool. “It’s very rare that people are able to do all of those things, but I am”.
How did you get into modelling?
My mom always tells me I have always loved pictures and dressing up to the extent that at the age of 5, I was able to refuse wearing certain outfits if I think they don’t match. Lol How I walk would even change at the mere fact that I thought I looked good.
As I got older, a lot of people that knew me,family, friends or classmates would tell me to be a model when I grow up. I was at a boarding school in Zim, when I was 12 they were hosting what they called a “modelling competition.” I was convinced by many to participate and that is how I went for it. We were not allowed to carry clothes at this school, we were always in uniform.
Now for this competition we had to use bed sheets to design nice outfits for the runway. Lol It looked nice, surprisingly. I still have a picture from then. I won the second princess title. I was so excited. We even went to the provincial level competition.
I came to Zambia and I was scouted by some modelling agency, that’s when I started taking modelling seriously. I started having shoots, doing a few fashion shows and all.
How would you best describe yourself?
This is always a tough question for me because I am not sure if I should talk about my obsession for pictures, or my career outside modelling or my many goals yet to be accomplished. Lol I am an auditor by profession. I have always had an interest in modelling and fashion since the age of 11. Apart from being a model, I also love to design outfits and style people for events. My weakness with designing, is my failure to put my designs on paper. In terms of where I am from, Africa is the best answer. Lol I was born in Zimbabwe where I spent 12 years of my life. I grew up in Zambia and South Africa…and I am yet to relocate to 4 more African countries.
What is most important lesson that life taught you?
Never hurt someone who even given the opportunity and reasons to hurt you would never do so. That is one thing I have learnt, and I wish many would apply in their lives…
What opportunities have come your way because of your modelling?
In all honesty, I have not gone even close to as far as I want to go with my modelling career. My main obstacle is work and school. I barely have time. I cannot leave my job to solely depend on modelling, that is because the modelling industry in Zambia is still in its infancy thus not as good to make a career out of. South Africa was a great place to have my career going, I got a lot of offers and gigs that I never took up because my degree needed my attention more lol.
And during 2016 – mid 2017, that is when I came back to Zambia I felt my modelling career was not really making sense. I felt the industry was not willing to take up new models and they were more comfortable with the models they had already. I think, and I quote “I think” In Zambia, you get more exposure If you attend the events and all, because that is where you meet other models doing well who might assist you with your career or be able to know when certain events happen. My busy schedule would not make that possible for me.
Now I am back with a bang lol… I am ready to kick start my modelling career again. I have been doing a lot of shoots and trying to grow my Instagram and twitter followers to attract agencies, photographers, endorsements and the like. I have always believed in myself and the future God has for me.
This year has started on a great note! Lol A lot of opportunities have come my way this year. Photographers are contacting me. Even some agencies from Botswana, SA, Nigeria and Namibia.
I am working on a project called Top Model Zambia which is originated from a modeling agency in Botswana called Pierre X Elite Model Management. More details will be on my social media platforms.
What else are you passionate about?
A lot of things. Where do I even start from? Ha-ha. Okay…I love to KIDS! And because I love kids, I started a personal charity organisation, Help A Child.org. I have not registered it yet. I started a campaign with “you caring.”
In my personal capacity, I pay school fees for the less privileged. I currently pay fees for 2 kids and I recently started working with a school in Mongu, Zambia where I pay fees for a kid whose parents could only take the twin to school. Charity work is important. I believe, if God has blessed you with so much, be ready to give back to those in need.
I also love studying, not reading novels, but school books. I think I would go to school till I cannot read anymore. lol Like I said, I am passionate about a lot of things: cooking, designing and pictures are part of the many.
Who inspires you the most in your career and in your personal life?
In my career as a model I suppose? Haha
I have a lot of people that inspire me in so many ways. I have my family, other models, whether aspiring or “already made it” models. In all honesty my mom just accepted modelling a few years ago lol…my dad, we are still convincing …. My mom motivates me in every way. My sisters and my boyfriend motivate me the most. Then there are models like Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, Sessilee Lopez and Arlenis Sosa that inspire me.
You know what else inspires me? My confidence and the fear of being average inspires my career so much.
What has been your favourite modelling gig so far?
Mmmh… there has been quite a few, but I think the one I had to do with a Nigerian movie producer and his Fiancé. I have done a few gigs in SA and I cannot really point out which has been my favourite. More are coming, like I said, I have been off modelling. I don’t want to disclose this information yet. *Hides face*
Describe a perfect day in your life, where would it be and who would be there?
Lol this question is a simple way to re-ground me in what is important to me.
Me waking up early in the morning at 7am, overlooking the beautiful ocean from the terrace (let's say in San Diego or Florianapolis in Brazil). Lol I feel energized, awake and ready to take on the world, because I know that this will be an amazing day. Lol Definitely a prayer in the morning makes my day a perfect day.
While I love doing all the fun and adventurous stuff, I am so passionate about what I do for a living, so it doesn't really feel like work. There's no better feeling in the world than helping other people, taking pictures, being on the runway, dressing up, writing reports and proposals and meeting my clients. LOL, I think I am a mistress of all trades Innocent.
On the “who” question: My family must be there and my “always there for me” boyfriend.
What is your song at the moment?
My word! It depends in what mood I am in. Bring me Nicki Minaj or Cardi B anytime, but Cardi is slowly becoming my main lol… I love her song, Back it Up.
How would you describe your sense of style?
Haha confusing! and doesn’t always depict my personality, but again, it really depends with the occasion. For events I always want to wear something unique and complicated. When going to work some simple formal will do. You can see me in laid-back '90s style of tomboy in a club or a short dress/ skirt. I love to show off my legs and tummy. *Hides face*. Oh, and I love my cropped tops…lol
Confusing right? Okay, I would describe my sense of style as Eclectic, sporty and sexy.
If I am to raid a wardrobe it would be Rihanna, Solange or Pokello Nare’s. lol
When are you happiest?
I don’t know. A lot of moments make me feel like it’s my happiest until I do something else.
What did you want to be when you were growing up and has that changed now you are older?
Mmmh…I wanted to be an accountant, and that is because my parents were both accountants. Then at some point an actuary.
In all this I knew I wanted to be famous for something, whether as a model, a dancer, a forensic investigator or as the Mother Theresa” of our time lol. Though modelling then seemed like a taboo to mention ha-ha.
My passion for accounting itself went down the drain when I realised there is Auditing in accounting. I don’t know if that makes sense.
Now I am an auditor and a model.
Looking back 10 years ago, what advice would you give your younger self?
Always acquire your education first before you go into any hustle. You need to set goals in life. If plan A does not work, there is always plan B. Listen to the voices that motivate you and the people that love you the most. Treat everything else as background noise. Lol. Always put God first.
You will always have people discourage you, they don’t see the bigger person in you. Focus on the ultimate goal and never set mediocre goals.
How would the people that surround you describe you?
Mmmh, my Siblings would say “I love things.” They also think I am strict on them. Lol I am not I just protect them.
Mom: My mom it depends lol. She has all the good things to say about me, but she knows me the most.
Dad: Would always say I need to improve on the time I take to get ready. Lol
Friends: Model. Lol even those that don’t know I am. They would also say I walk with so much confidence as if the world is my runway. Which it is lol. Apparently, I am too nice to people.
Boyfriend: Over achiever, never quiet and always giving advice.
What are the highs and lows of being a model?
It really depends with the industry you know? The Zambian industry I think photographers and some agencies only want to deal with models they have always known and think “have reached.” Only when they see you have pushed they start approaching you. Which should not be the case. I have approached a few Zambian models, you barely get responses, of which in SA someone is always willing to help you. The other thing in Zambia is, models are not really supported, and the money is so low too.
In SA they love new faces. So that is an advantage. The only problem is I have always wanted to be a runway model and they look for faces which I can’t describe for fear of being quoted wrong. I once got a response from an agency saying, “you have a pretty face, we are looking for scrummed faces.” I am not sure what that is. Lol I still have that email. The SA industry is also very competitive, which is a good thing.
Another downside currently is the whole melanin thing going on, no doubt I LOVE THAT as the aim is to support black models. Not all black models are dark in complexion which kind of put the “light blacks” in a where do we fit then situation lol. Also, I am not eligible to model in Zambia as I am not a citizen there.
The highs: Once you have people in the industry that love you as a model and believe in you, then you are getting somewhere. Modelling also makes you have thick skin. You become immune to negativity and focus on your goal. There is also good money in it LOL and you are doing what you love, so the love of it outweighs the tough times you go through.
If you could give up anything for a year what would it be and why?
CHOCOLATE!!! It’s bad for my skin, my health, everything …yet it always has its way back into my life lol
What is your greatest achievement?
Hehe, I got a 2 pack!! Been working out mad. Lol
Okay, I have several notable accomplishments in my education, my work experience and my personal life. You would know if you know me on a personal basis. Lol I can’t disclose them all here.
What are you most fond of about being Zimbabwean/South African?
The fact that I can visit both countries anytime. Lol
These two countries are both beautiful, forget about what has been happening to Zimbabwe in the recent years! People need to visit Zim even in its current state it looks better that most African countries at their best. I love the nice shopping places and just the way they were built, so structured. The education systems are also something to be fond of.
I am a citizen of Zimbabwe and a resident of South Africa. There is no dual citizenship in Zimbabwe. So, I picked the country I was born in. lol
What advice would you give to aspiring models?
Don’t give up on where you see yourself and who you see yourself as. People will always discourage you but believe in yourself. Confidence starts with you, then everyone else can have confidence in you. Nothing happens overnight. Even the most successful people have a story to tell. Always update your portfolio of pictures.
How would you like to be remembered?
As the confident lady who never gave up on her dreams, chased them and accomplished what she wanted in life. Most importantly, I would like to have a positive impact on so many people’s lives, be it charity work, being a motivational speaker or helping people reach their goals in life.
Facebook: Naki Hlomayi