SOUTH AFRICAN-BASED lawyer and beauty model, Jemimah Kandemiiri , says that she has been utilising her free time during the coronavirus (COVID-19)-induced lockdown to master new skills.


Kandemiiri, who represented the country at the 59th edition of the Miss International pageant in Japan last year, told NewsDay Life & Style that since almost all businesses had gone online, she was already doing post-pandemic planning.

“Honestly, everything has shifted to social media, like going live on Instagram, doing more interactive 24-hour stories and planning for the post-pandemic period. I am taking this time to master new skills so I manage my own shoots from home and plan for my modelling and arts studio after the pandemic. The perspective was much needed,” she said.

The beauty queen said she had also been offering online tutorials and voice-over services for clients.

“I have been teaching online and doing voice-over projects online for clients. I have a small studio set up in the bedroom and it has really served me well during the lockdown,” she said.

Kandemiiri said her greatest challenge was to try and make a difference as an African model.

“My greatest challenge has been in trying to make a difference as a model of colour. It’s really not the same for us. The hardest thing for me was to accept that it was a good thing though. The sooner I made peace with it, the more I became more solution-oriented and saw opportunities out of it. How do we create an environment that is more inclusive?” she said.

Turning to how she has managed to deal with sex pests which are usually associated with the modelling industry, she said she has exposed them, adding that the industry had a lot of chancers.

“I’ve managed to do so by exposing them. It’s a very fragile industry. Young women are exposed to a lot of chancers and risks, so I’ve resolved to exposing these things. If I lose work because I am honest, so be it. It’s due to this, that I no longer have such problems. I realised that each time I would share an experience of this nature, more females spoke out. We shouldn’t be keeping quiet or encouraging this kind of behaviour; that’s how they win,” she said.

Kandemiiri added that the industry has rewarded her immensely and has even exposed her to a lot of competitions.

“I have been exposed to print, runway, pageants, promotional and fit modelling. It is not only rewarding in the gigs one gets but I also got to organise shows for clients, there’s always something happening. It is even more rewarding the more I shift perspective from just looking for gigs but in looking for opportunities in creating a platform for models. The possibilities are endless. You can do it full time. It’s just a matter of perspective,” she said.

The model said although she decided to pursue life on the ramp as a professional model, she was also a good singer.

“I can sing. I sing all the time in the house. It’s risky to have visitors,” she chuckled. “I actually did performing arts: drama, dance, music. It was difficult back then but it was the foundation that started out my modelling career,” she said.

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