Oluchi Orlandi,Nigerian supermodel and one of Africa’s most successful models is in Cape Town this weekend ahead of the final round of Africa’s Next Top Model auditions.
Do you want to audition for Africa's next top model. The requirements: that contestants be at least 1.7m tall, full of confidence and vibrant personality.
The final leg of the show will be filmed at locations across the city over the next six to eight weeks.
Orlandi says when it comes to beauty, there are many versions. “There is the obvious physical beauty, which counts for a lot. But there must be an inner beauty, a combination of the physical and personality.”
“If you’re a young African woman, unless you’re in a very powerful position, you don’t really have a voice. Our young women are raised differently, and confidence is not something this continent gives you.
“But as soon as you put something on TV you create a voice. This show will be their voice,” says Orlandi.
The Nigerian model shot to fame at 17 years old when she won the M-Net Face of Africa competition in 1998. She was awarded a three-year modelling contract by Elite Model Management and moved to New York. After finishing her contract, she signed with DNA Model Management.
The Next Top Model franchise was started in the US by supermodel Tyra Banks and the show is known for drama, catfights and floods of tears.
This is the first time it has come to Africa. In the past two months the team has been to Joburg, Mozambique, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and Angola. When these closed, the figure stood at 7 000.
Contestants stand to win a contract with DNA Model Management in New York and a cash prize of $50 000 (R492 500).
“There are so many beautiful women. But they are going to be in a house full of other women, so a strong personality is a must. You need to bring your fire or the others will run you over,” she says.
Arrington says while there are certain requirements for the contest, all types of women came to audition.
“Some of them were 1.5m and still showed up. I love the enthusiasm,” she says.
Orlandi says the journey across the continent made her realise that for some, opportunities of any kind are few.
“Some women came to the auditions not knowing what it was about. Only that it was a great opportunity,” she says.
Orlandi says she had a difficult time when she first entered the fashion world, as there was no guidance and she had to learn things as she went along.
The show will air on DStv in November/December and SA Tourism, which has partnered with Africa’s Next Top Model, is excited about the initiative.
“For us to host this show in South Africa really is a coup for us as a country and a credit to Orlandi,” says SA Tourism director Thebe Ikalafeng. - Cape Argus
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