The male modelling industry might not be as popular as the female modelling industry but somehow the male modelling industry is surely growing and there are few models that are contributing to its growth and making big money from in this industry. Luis Munana, a 22-year old Namibian model, has become one of the most occupied models in the industry, especially in South Africa where he moved to pursue his studies in 2010. With his popularity rising, Munana has modelled for many well-known clients both in Namibia and SA, including for the South Africa Fashion Week, Durban Fashion Fair, Cape Town Fashion Week, Johannesburg Fashion Week, Design Academy Fashion, Charity Fashion Show, Pepsi for Africa Cup of Nations (AfCON) and many others. And without a doubt, he is ready to conquer the male ‘supermodel’ title. New Era’s Selma Neshiko caught up with him to share with us his personal life and views on the modelling business.
What’s the best part of being a model?
Being invited to major entertainment events and getting endorsements from major companies. Freebies and basically you are being paid to look the way you want.
Why did you choose SA as the place to expand your career?
SA is big when it comes to fashion and modelling. They have a lot more events and fashions shows in a year than we do in Namibia. They have major fashion houses that are well known internationally. South Africans have placed themselves on the map in the world when it comes to fashion. And in general the money you would make as a model is awesome. We also get international exposure in terms of endorsements.
What have you learnt from this career so far?
It’s a thriving multibillion dollar industry, one can actually make a living out of modelling and it’s taken seriously by people outside Namibia and it’s considered just as any other career. I have learned that you need to be firm on your stand and you can get lost in that world. You are sort of a celebrity and this can be good depending how you portray yourself. It’s a new world out there and people want a piece of you in terms of business, endorsements and work. There should be trust between you and your agent in order to make good business decisions, and also to cast for good jobs.
What are some of the challenges you’ve come across?
It was like going into a jungle not known to me and seeing that everyone wants to make it to the top. I was intimidated at first but I got my act together just decided to push it and give it my all. Getting a good agency is a challenge as some would only exploit you, booking jobs is also a challenge, in the beginning I was struggling to book jobs because clients went for models known and these at times broke me down but I turned into positive energy and made myself known.
What’s your take on the local modelling industry?
The Namibian modelling industry is still very young and small. We still need to do a lot to get where SA is. We don’t have major industry players as in retailers to market our clothes or even for Namibian models to land major endorsement deals. We have a couple of established designers and models, which I can count by hand. We have started and we are working on it, it will take time before we get where we want to be.
What would you like to see done differently here?
There should be a proper casting setup where people are told the truth. At times we tend to tell everyone you can model but then the qualities are not there. There should also be a proper agency setup; we are having a lot of agencies and academies all over, where everyone is told that you can model without even meeting the basic criteria. You can’t pay to belong to an agency, they are supposed to get you gigs and they get paid a commission for that. At times honesty is good. And the other thing is when it comes to models, you can’t pay someone who is well established the same as a new kid on the block, that’s just wrong. Models should work on getting their portfolios ready and done properly.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
All I know is that I would want to run a Powerful Media House and also give an opportunity to Namibians to also make it big in the industry and pursue their dreams.
I still have a lot of things that I would like to do. And I would also like to open doors for my fellow Namibian models. But for now its SA and where other major projects are before I get back home…I will keep you guys updated on that.
Stay true to yourself, your moment to shine will come. Never should you pay as a model to be signed. The agency should make money and take their commission. You should surround yourself with established models for them to show you the ways and mentor you. I have kept to people who have believed in me from the beginning. Surround yourself with people that would want to see you succeed and promote you. As the Namibia media, they should recognise Namibian models abroad and give them space to share their experiences and show their work.