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Breaking the glass ceiling in the male modelling world

Simon Mwai, 24, student and model

Simon Mwai, 24, student and model

“Modeling is more than just a pretty face,” says Fredrick Dharshie, a top male model in Nairobi. You may wonder how difficult adorning yourself in designer clothes and wearing a smile could get.

“It takes a lot of effort,” clarifies Manasseh Nyagah, another top model in Nairobi.

It doesn’t always get down to the dramatic pauses, spotlight and cameras flashing on their faces. It takes a lot of work to walk the runway and be taken seriously and not just another I-hope-I-am-spotted-model.

In the modeling industry, it is imperative to look good at all times. It takes endless hours to maintain the standards that are set by professionals with years of experience. This especially matters in the ‘chest-factor’ where it matters if you have a six pack or one in the making. Otherwise you will always get the ‘am not looking at your not so gorgeous chest’ look especially from the ladies.

The modeling industry has grown over the years with male models embracing the profession gradually. However, it is still challenging to work with modeling agencies and agents, especially for male models. In addition to battling prevalent stereotypes, aspiring male models have to work a bit harder to fit the strict industry standards. The runaway to men has become what the boardroom is to women.

model Dhershie

Fredrick Dhershie, 24

“Male models are gay.” This is a statement that cracks up Simon Mwai, another top model in Nairobi. He says that he has heard this a million times everyday, it doesn’t bother him anymore. The three find the stereotype against male models ridiculous.

When it comes to criticism, the models say that they narrow down their focus to what will help them grow professionally. Long hours and fatigue during the shoot stand out as a challenge for them as well as maintaining healthy and lean body.

“We learn to develop thick skin over time,” says Simon.

Auditioning for campus pageants enabled them to exploit their potential in the modeling industry.

Taking the first walk down the runway was exciting and nerve wrecking at the same time. Dhershie says that he didn’t have any clothes to wear to the shoot since his family didn’t support him. But he managed to get clothes from friends who understood his urgency.

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Manasseh describes his first runway show vividly.

“I was tense and nervous I wasn’t used to the stage lights and having the attention focused exclusively on me. It was exciting and edgy at the same time.”

“Getting to interact with brilliant personalities is one of the perks of modeling, not forgetting being adorned in designer wear almost on a daily basis. Our fans also get to interact with us and appreciate our work.”

Looking good indeed takes work


Manaseh Nyagah, 21

Manaseh Nyagah, 21

Name: Fredrick Dhershie

Age: 24

Occupation: Commercial model

Personal style: Simple and Weather-driven

People don’t know that: I am the founder of Souls for Charity Initiative.

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Fashion crime for men: Not knowing what socks goes with which colour of shoes.

Women: Plastic shoes are just god-awful

Fashion icon: Scott  dissick

Modeling icon: Djimon Honsou and Rob Evans

Mantra for success: Persist till you succeed.


Name: Manaseh Nyagah

Age: 21

Occupation: Actor, model, Student at University of Nairobi

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Personal style: Laid back and Open-minded

Fashion crime for men: Shorts above the knees, how do you live with yourself

Fashion icon: Sauti soul

Modeling icon: Ephy Saint

Mantra for success: Every dream can to be fulfilled, so does mine.


Name: Simon Mwai

Age: 21

Occupation: Part-time Student at Kenya Methodist University

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Personal Style:  Simple fresh, and original

Fashion crime: Skinny jeans that don’t fit and oversize trousers

Women : Skimpy Dressing

Fashion icon: Pitbull

Modeling icon: David Grand

Mantra for success: Always be in Control

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