Fashion, Interviews

Exclusive: Interview with 2019 UMP male model of the year – Keitumile Kawilima

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Keitumile Kawilima is a 21 year old model who started professional modelling in 2018. In 2019, he won the UMP male model of the year.

Our award winning journalist Harold Kapindu caught up with Keitumile in this exclusive interview.

Harold: When and how did you start modelling? Who inspired you?

Keitumile: I Got onto the professional scene in 2018 with Mzuzu Fashion Week. I basically just decided to go for their model castings that year and that’s how my career took off. Quite funny but it was actually my mom that pushed me to start modelling.

I have so far graced Mzuzu Fashion Week, Africa Fashion and Arts Festival and Fashion 4 Change runways.

Harold: In a period of one year since your career took off, you managed to win the UMP male model of year award. Would you describe that as your highest point in your modeling career?

Keitumile: Every moment on the runway is a high for me. The backstage adrenaline rush, the crowds, everything. But, if I had to pick a highlight it’d be winning model of the year in 2019, it accentuated all the hard work and effort I had put into my career, being a model from Mzuzu working to earn the same opportunities and platforms as my colleagues from bigger cities and I felt like I deserved that recognition cause being from Mzuzu I have to work twice as hard as everyone for the same opportunities.

Harold: What challenges do you face in this modelling career?

Keitumile: The fashion and modelling industries in Malawi are still in the budding phase, in as much as they are multi billion dollar industries out there, Malawians still haven’t embraced it and don’t regard it as something worth nurturing and investing in and that’s a major challenge.

Malawian corporates would rather use foreign faces for ads and billboards and most show organisers aren’t willing to pay models enough. There’s a lot of model exploitation going on in the industry.

Harold: How about on a personal note?

Keitumile: On a different yet similar note, this year has been hard for me personally and has proved to be a huge set back in my career cause after the awards, I was aiming for international platforms, and I was lucky enough to have gotten a few shows confirmed out the country but with the state of things, nothing has materialised or come to fruition and that has been a really big blow.

Harold: Who are your role models?

Keitumile: Weird, but most of my role models are not models, so allow me to list Hayze Engola on this one, not the rapper but the man. I’m driven by this guy’s drive, hunger and determination, and his philanthropic side is worth recognition as well so for that, he should get his flowers while alive.

Harold: Anything you wanna share?

Keitumile: I feel like there’s great information our societies need to learn and unlearn certain things in little details that are often overlooked but prove to be the fundaments of our collective growth. It’s time to do away with some archaic stereotypes that us back and divide us.


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