YOLLANDA Chimbarami (YC), a 22-year-old Zimbabwean artiste based in Canada, feels that females and models continue to be stereotyped in the arts industry. She has since created an online show, “Talk the Walk”, which creates a platform for women in arts to discuss more about their experiences. Tendai Chitima, a star from the movie “Cook Off”, Tendai Hunda (Miss Zimbabwe 2014 and Miss Intercontinental Africa 2016) and Esther Jackson (Miss Global Nigeria 2020) are some of the high-profile characters that have featured on her show. Chimbarami is a former World Championship of Performing Arts’ Best Swimsuit Model of the Year, Zimbabwe’s Teen Model of the Year (2017), Teen Commercial Model of the Year (2018), Teen Charity Project of the Year, Best International Model (2017 and 2018), as well as Teen Pageant Model of the Year. The international model, actress, philanthropist as well as fashion designer last week shared more of her dreams with Brighton Zhawi (BZ) from her Canadian base.
BZ: What inspired the creation of “Talk the Walk” show?
YC: Yes, it was inspired by the lockdown. I always get messages from people asking me questions on my modelling journey and what it takes to become a model. This gave me an idea to do an online show where everyone in the arts shares their experiences.
BZ: What does it take for one to become a model?
YC: I firmly believe that knowledge is power. Some people do not know that for you to be a model you have to be professionally trained, and you have to have an agency that you belong to. “Talk the Walk” aims to educate upcoming models through dialogue with modelling masters and other queens. This is a platform where we inspire each other to get involved in art.
BZ: How do you pick your guests?
YC: It is mostly based on their experience and exposure in the industry. But of late, every guest has been nominating former queens to interview.
BZ: Is the show open to male models or artists?
YC: For now it is ladies only. Viewers can suggest a guest they want on the show but we evaluate the person first.
BZ: Are models born or made?
YC: Both. Just like leaders, some individuals are born with leadership qualities; some learn to become great leaders. Most of the successful leaders develop and enhance their skills as they grow. I believe it is all based on the choices we make. You might not be born a model, but if you are passionate about it, nothing can stop you.
BZ: What is your involvement in the arts?
YC: I am currently signed under Zhaxie Management and have starred in international movies such as “Windfall”; “Inplain Sight”, now showing on Amazon Prime; “Stump the Guesser” directed by Guy Maddin ; “The Rabbit Hunter” directed by Guy Maddin, Isabbela Rossellini is the lead actress ;“The day my job tried to kill me”; “Black Wedding”, among others.
BZ: Modelling, fashion designing or acting, what is your first love?
YC: That is a hard one! I equally love all my babies.
BZ: Lockdowns have affected everyone across the globe. How has it been for you in Canada?
YC: It was hard at first. I am always out and about trying to make money. We were supposed to have two movie premières but they were cancelled due to Covid-19. But, on the on the other hand, I have been working on my fashion brand coming soon and discovering new skills.
BZ: Did you start acting in Zimbabwe or Canada?
YC: I was the drama club captain for two years at Westridge High School.
BZ: Where were you born, bred and when did you discover your arts/modelling passion?
YC: Born in Mutare and bred in Harare. Growing up, I would see myself on stage each time I watched Miss World or Miss Universe. It was the same case with movies and dramas. I would imitate the actors and actresses. Funny story: I started drawing, painting and designing clothes to be accepted by these two girls into their click. Unfortunately, it did not work. However, that is when I realised I had a soft spot for the arts despite them rejecting me.
BZ: Are any of your family members artistes?
YC: No, I am the first. My family is made up of entrepreneurs, but they are my biggest supporters.
BZ: Any plans to relocate to Zimbabwe?
YC: I am currently in my final year studying Business Information Systems at the University of Manitoba in Canada. Home is where the heart is. But I will probably come back in 10 years.
BZ: What’s your advice to a young girl with big dreams but failing to get a breakthrough?
YC: Invest, be consistent and be true to yourself. We all start from somewhere, make use of the little that you have, and do not allow anyone to belittle you. Do not be afraid to speak up and, most importantly, remember to pay your tithe.