JEMIMAH Kandemiiri’s arrival on the catwalk was accidental.

For someone who started off as a tomboy in childhood before battling weight issues as she grew up, no one would have imagined that she would showcase her looks on some of the world’s most glitzy runways.

She will represent Zimbabwe at the 59th edition of the Miss International pageant in Japan on November 12.

“I am over the moon! It is such an honour to be representing Zimbabwe. I feel that with everything that has happened in our country, not much is expected from us,” she said.

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“My target is to show that Zimbabwe is great and will be even greater again in every engagement. Winning would be great, regardless, there’s a bigger picture. We go for gold and if gold isn’t ours, I walk away with a wealth of knowledge.”

The South Africa-based beauty, who also works as a lawyer and criminologist, felt she was always cut out for the top.

“I was the girl who played soccer… The girl who lost a tooth racing with the boys,” she recalled.

“I started realising how I could do so much more than just taking pictures, posing, looking pretty.”

Then it took a chance meeting with a stranger for her to consider modelling.

“I was home alone and decided to take a walk to a nearby shopping centre. I was approached by a man from Figures Modelling, who said he saw potential in me as a model… I actually laughed at the time because I thought, who? Me?” Kandemirii recalled.

With the negative attitudes towards modelling, she decided to pursue law because of her interests in women’s and children’s rights and, later studied criminology.

Knowledge of legal issues came in handy as she could smell a violation from a distance when she was pursuing modelling.

“I’m glad I trained first before just jumping in, because I knew what was legitimate and what wasn’t, how to check and look up agencies, people involved. Of course some seemed legit and I found myself in situations where some men wanted to take advantage of the situation,” she said.

She said she struggled with weight and did not know how to deal with the issue.

“It’s so inconsistent and I wanted at one point to measure up to it. It was the first and last time I ever worried about weight. I went to a show and a designer’s assistant gave me great talk about my size. I was small at the time. I just didn’t realise how it had affected me until I went on some crazy diet for three weeks so my body could ‘self-tone’ as I was too busy, then to gym.”

The model graduated from Figures SA Modelling and her accolades include Miss Uniworld, Miss Africa Continent princess before her current crown as Miss International Zimbabwe.