I love Valerie Musyimi, 17, because she’s one of those friends that inspire and motivate you to be a better person each day, and are always ready to lend a listening ear, as well as share some advice. Our frequent conversations are so rich in understanding, knowledge, and discussions on the various societal issues that we face today. In the first part of this 4-part series, Valerie shared with us her passion for social activism, in the second, her experience in the high fashion commercial modeling industry,and in the third, her future dreams and plans. In the final part of this 4-part series, she concludes with some of the finest advice for aspiring models and activists:
You’ve shared quite a bit about your passion for social rights and experience as a model, as well as some of your future dreams and plans. In the process, I’m certain that many are inspired by your story. As we conclude, do you have any parting advice for aspiring models and/ or activists?
Aspiring models, thick skin is crucial! The industry is beautiful and fun-filled, but it can also be very demanding at the same time. If modeling is a career venture that you are considering, you should know and never forget that your body and looks are your business. You have to maintain a certain required size depending on your market’s or agent’s instructions. Your skin care and gym routine have to be on point, especially if you are not very lucky on the high metabolism department. You should be ready to face rejection for jobs due to reasons that are entirely not your fault. And your self love and appreciation needs to be as high as possible since you will encounter so many scenarios where you will not feel enough and you will have to fight the urge of comparing yourself with others. In those moments, you will be the only person that will be able to truly assure yourself that you are enough and that better opportunities are in store for you.
I would also advise any aspiring model to just enjoy the opportunities you are privileged to experience. Interact and make connections with as many good people in the industry as you can, and have fun with the experience.
It also very important to do research and to make sure that the people you work with are credible. There are a lot of people who exploit models by camouflaging themselves as photographers, portfolio builders, agents, etc while having entirely opposite and evil intentions. I would advice finding a credible agency, rather than freelancing, at the beginning of your career because through an agent, you are assured of credible referrals and work partnerships.
As for aspiring activists, I would advise you to start honing your skills now and having as much experience as possible in the area of social justice that you are interested in. It is never too early or too late to join an organization or group that shares the same aspirations for whatever social justice issue you’re passionate about. Join social justice clubs in your school and actively participate in the projects that they do for as much experience as possible. You could also start one of your own or with a group of people with whom you have similar interests — focus on a particular present and feasible issue in your community and try your best to address it.
I would also advise that you get into the habit of staying informed on current world affairs. Watch the news, follow news broadcasting accounts on your social media platforms, download news apps on your smart devices, and stay updated on world affairs as much as you can. Engage in forums where discussion pertains to matters of social justice and human rights and research as much as you can on topics that interest you. By doing this, you become more aware and more knowledgeable, hence, flexible to work on as many social justice issues you are approached with as possible.
I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to conduct this interview with Valerie. I, despite knowing her, have learned something new and I’m even more inspired by her passion, drive, and story. I hope some of you were able to draw some inspiration from her words as well. If you haven’t already, be sure to read part 1 where she shares her passion for social activism, part 2 where she shares her experience with modeling, and part 3 where she shares her future dreams and plans.
Finally, as schools have reopened, I will go back to and try to maintain my biweekly posting schedule, so stay tuned for new blog posts every 2 weeks.
– Dashushka ♥