Amongst the cr├¿me de la cr├¿me of local cat walker’s, one super model stands out. It is Lucille Obetlile, who as a run way cat walker is slowly making inroads into the international fashion and modelling scene. She can’t recall exactly when she started modelling. But ever since the day she got discovered by one Calvin Nkwe, she has never looked back on her career as a runway cat walker.
In Botswana it is easy to find people paying talent agencies for auditioning purposes. “This must be stopped because it is a constraint in talent identification and development,” said Obetlile, a Motswana international model based in Gaborone.
She has recently just returned from the Fashion Gunners Magazine along with other super models such as the likes of Kaone Monamodi, Tshiamo Sekolo and Thabang Mmolotsi. In August she also attended Africa’s Finest Cultural Fashion show which was held in Windhoek, Namibia. “I’m also looking forward to attending the Soweto Fashion Week which is slated for later this month in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“Contracts are very important in order to avoid exploitation from agents, and can even go up to fifteen pages or more just to make fair agreements.”
The world stage, she explained, has moved to Africa. She has been invited to attend the UK Fashion show which is slated for next year in London. She has worked with some well known designers such as Thula Cindy, Moi, Faith Wear, Cocoa Seed and Mustapha.
“We can no longer afford to sit back, relax and fold our arms and be spectators. We need to catch up with the rest of the world and only now we are starting to find our bearings.”
She said people are tired of fly by night modelling and fashion agencies that have recently been penetrating the market, so there should be relevant stake holders that need to be engaged to try and curb this problem.
She further added that the main problem in the local fashion and modelling industry was that there are people out there who have the skills, but lack adequate funding to finance their projects.
Obetlile, who recently graduated from Limkokwing University with an associate degree in Advertising, has recently established a movement for local models named Rocker Bella. “Rocker Bella will act as a voice for the many voiceless models out there that are getting exploited.”
By this she refers to many oddities that have currently encroached the local modelling industry such as getting a reliable agent. “I am currently working in partnership with Patrick Lee, a international fashion photographer based in Los Angeles, California.” She says she hopes to see his affiliation with Rocker Bella exporting home bred and buttered quality models to the international modelling market.
Obetlile says the fashion and modelling industry has great potential to contribute to the socio-economic development and economic diversification. She said the modelling industry in Botswana is still emerging from its infancy stage.
She added that the fashion and modelling industries spur economic growth and enhance the quality and enjoyment of life. Indeed, gone are the days of undermining the arts. Locally, Obetlile says she would like to work with Lesedi Matlapeng, “I just love his work, it’s so unique,” she concluded.