MISS Zimbabwe International director Patience Lusengo yesterday said modelling programmes were designed to empower young women who would have won crowns in various pageants with lifelong skills they would use even beyond their reigns.

Lusengo told NewsDay Life & Style in a wide-ranging interview that several successful models outside Zimbabwe — particularly those who have participated in
Miss Zimbabwe International — have done very well in different facets of society because modelling empowered them for success.

“Most of my girls have used the skills taught to them in their everyday day life and have been able to build successful careers in medicine, film, television
presenting and social work, to name a few. We are really proud to say all our girls are true ambassadors of our brand and country,” she said.

Lusengo rolled off her tongue Tracey-Anne Buckley Aggett, Sibongile Mlambo, Farai Gundani and Makho Ndlovu.

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Aggett, who was Mrs Zimbabwe International 2016 and second Princess-Miss Garden Route 2010, was exposed to the plight of abused women and children during her
reign and working with them has become her passion.

Mlambo, who is also an actress and dancer, is now best known for her acting roles as Eme in Starz Network’s Black Sails and Donna, a mermaid and sister of the
main character, Ryn, in Freeform’s Siren.

In Season 6 of Teen Wolf, Mlambo played Tamora Monroe, a counsellor-turned-hunter, who joined forces with Gerard Argent in a failed attempt to eradicate
supernatural creatures from the world.

The 2009 First Princess, Gundani, is now in the Harvard University 2017 MPA Class and was also a 2015 Young Global Leader, World Economic Forum and a Dangote Fellow.

“She has pooled her skills into image consultancy and styling,” Lusengo said.

Gundani has also been listed among the top 10 writers for and was the recipient of the 2015 Media Excellence Award by African Women Awards and 2014
Emerging African Leader Award by Temple University.

Ladybrille Magazine named her as one of 20 Influential African Women Entrepreneurs in the United States in 2015.

Ndlovu, who was Miss Zimbabwe US 2010, is now a celebrity reporter and blogger in New York. In 2011, she was handpicked by music mogul Russell Simmons out of
thousands of contestants as the Global Grind celebrity video correspondent winner and is now the BET Africa US correspondent.

Despite the glittering successes, Lusengo admitted that sex predators abound in the industry, so it was important to teach models to be on the lookout for

“Without proper guidance and protection, models will be taken advantage of, not only by predators, but by clients as well. It’s important that models are
taught the pros and cons of the industry and make sure they have the right management behind them,” she added.

She bemoaned lack of financial assistance from both the private sector and government.