This is the second installation of our #ModelsSeries. The intention of the series is to interrogate how models are modelling the design space in Africa. We are long past days when models were seen as clothes-hangers. The process to select a model for a campaign or for runway is more conscientious than the process of choosing a life-partner. After-all, marriage is til separation – associations are eternal. The model has to have the right look, has to fit with your brand and has to embody the spirit or mood of your campaign; this is not always easy to find.
John David Kimeu is the model who never thought he would. Golden-hearted and soft-spoken, John became a model incidentally but has had incredible commercial success. He is the half of a heartthrob duo with his twin brother, Jo, also a model. We will be featuring Jo on our next #ModelsSeries.
We talked to John about modeling in Africa, making a difference and the power of sports. Read the full interview and follow him on Instagram to learn more.
PLEASE TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF.
My name is John David Makau Kimeu. I am a Kenyan national, the last born in a family of eight. I have always had the urge to make a positive difference in the world. I want to explore and understand how humans interact and will be interacting in the future. I am also fascinated with the world so I love following current affairs.
This has led me to pursue a degree in International Relations specializing in Peace, Conflict and Gender studies. Aside from academia, I enjoy sports, music, travelling and socializing. I have always loved sports, especially soccer and athletics. Soccer fascinates me; one might say I’m a fanatic. I believe sports can be a vital tool in bringing people together regardless of race, colour, social background and religion.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE MODELLING INDUSTRY? DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO BE A MODEL?
Once I graduated from USIU, my friends urged me to try my hand in modelling because I had the looks and personality. I did just that and it was rather smooth process as my twin brother had already been in the game and he guided me i.e. on which agencies to work with, etc. I honestly never thought I’d be modelling. If anyone told me five years ago I’d be modelling in the future, my response would have been “Not in a million years.”
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY THE MOST ABOUT MODELLING?
Most definitely the opportunities to travel, see new places and experience new cultures, especially. Over the years I have appeared in numerous television and print commercials in Kenya and other African countries like Ghana. Also the opportunity to network has been a major plus as I get to meet new people and exchange contacts during fashion events.
WHAT IS THE FASHION INDUSTRY/ MODELLING SPACE LIKE IN AFRICA?
It is still growing and has yet to reach its full potential. Africa has so much to offer.
WHAT STEREOTYPES EXIST ABOUT AFRICAN MODELS?
People unjustifiably assume that African models are obnoxious.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MILESTONE MODELLING MOMENTS? WHAT EXCITING DESIGNERS HAVE YOU WALKED FOR?
Participating in high fashion events that make a difference such as Festival for African Fashion and Arts (2013, 2014), charity fashion events (2015, 2016) and most recently Adele Dejak’s latest AFI Fashion Week Campaign. Not forgetting appearances in numerous television and print commercials such as the Safaricom M-shwari Lock Savings Account (2014), Africa Coke 2014 World Cup, Safaricom Hero Bundles (2015), Never miss a moment with Safaricom Data Bundles (2015), Guinness Africa – We are made of black (Ghana, 2016) and fashion magazine editorials such as the Male magazine (2015).
Some designers I loved walking for include Katungulu Mwendwa, Adele Dejak and Mancini
WHEN DID YOU FIRST WORK WITH ADELE DEJAK? WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR EXPERIENCE INTERACTING WITH HER AND HER BRAND?
I first worked with Adele Dejak at the Tribal Chic fashion show at The Tribe Hotel a few years back. I really love her work ethic. Her pieces stand out from the rest!
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADELE DEJAK FAVORITES?
Definitely! I have a brass pendant and some rings that I wear all the time.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR OWN PERASONAL STYLE?
Smart casual. I’m all about fit. A well-tailored suit is a must have.
WHAT DESIGNER(S), INTERNATIONAL OR LOCAL, DO YOU MOST WANT TO WALK FOR?
David Tlale would be an amazing designer to work with – his work is always making waves!
SUPERMODEL YOU LOOK UP TO?
WHAT DO YOU DO, WHEN YOU’RE NOT MODELLING?
Entrepreneur work. I have a passion for business with my main focus being farming. I want to own my own business and be financially independent. I also occasionally undertake charity work by providing food and clothing to my neighbourhood’s children’s home. I also love socializing with my friends and generally having a good time.