Durban model making waves in China
She is 20 year old, born and bred in Queensburgh, Durban, has made the transition from modeling locally to walking international runways
– How long have you been modeling?
I have had a passion for modeling from the age of 4 and started doing some local modeling competitions and catalogue work for Hub, Lizzy and Roxy just to name a few . At 13 I did my first Vodacom July for Kevin Ellis and we won 1st place, thereafter the runway became my second home and I started doing big runway shows
– When and how did your modeling career begin?
I signed with Extreme Model Management at the age of 9, EMM concentrates on training and preparing models in their academy. At the age of 13 onwards I started doing shows such as Fashion week, Durban Fashion Fair, Fashion by the Sea, The Vodacom July, Beijing Night of fashion
– How did you find yourself living and work in China?
I was scouted by Pageants SA to represent South Africa at Miss Model Of the world 2015 held in China. I was crowned 1st runner up and was offered a contract to return to China for work, promotion and travel for a period of 3 months at a time
– Do you speak Mandarin yet?
Yes I can speak a bit of Mandarin, I know what is needed and try to learn a new word everyday.
Quick lesson most people don’t know but South Africa is not said as South Africa in China it is pronounced Nánfēi. It is a very difficult language to learn but I am very determined to one day speak it fluently. My Chinese name is 苏娜 suna
– How long are you planning on being in China?
I will be returning to South Africa in mid June for local bookings, but I am definitely looking forward to return to China again In the future
– How is the Chinese market compare to SA market?
Being a model in China I feel there is more opportunities than in South Africa. In China race is not an issue if you are good, you get the job. Being on the job is a lot like South Africa except for the language barrier but I’m starting to over come that. In China model agency commission is much higher but the models get well looked after and travel a lot to different cities, accommodation such as model flats and hotels and food is paid by the agency. At the model flat we even have a chef!
One thing that took some getting used to is before or after a job in China you would usually have a big formal dinner with the VIPs and organizers of the event which usually ends in karaoke, where as in South Africa you just do the job and you done. But just like every country it has its ups and downs
– What campaigns have you worked on so far in China?
I have mostly done advertising campaigns for different hotels such as The Moon Hotel in Huzhou, 1000s Islands Lake Resort in Hangzhou, Schonbrunn hotel in Huzhou and Xijiao State Guest Hotel in Shanghai. I have also done Beijing Night of Fashion. On the 12th of May, I start a week of fashion shows 3 shows a day at the International Cultural Industries Fair in Shenzhen
I know that you are also a fashion designer, are you self taught or university?
I did not study fashion design but I have had the honor of having Brenda Quinn as my mentor teaching me more about the industry & pattern making. I started my design brand Sune B Design in 2013. My outfits have won numerous best dressed awards and graced the stage at competitions like miss Jnr South Africa
– Have you showcased your collection anywhere in the world?
No I have not yet as I have been focusing mostly on client orders. My passion and greatest demand at the moment is kids pageant dresses as it is a very high glitz and attention to detail market. I love working with kids and would like to showcase a kid’s collection in the near future. However I have worn my own design My National Costume at the Beijing Night of Fashion!
– Do you wear your own designs?
Yes I love creating garment for myself as I have a unique style and being 1.79 and a size 28 it is difficult to find clothing that fits me properly. I love creating glamorous and unique dresses and every time I wear them people will ask where they can buy it.
– What valuable information would you give a young person wanting to enter
the modeling industry?
Have faith be strong and don’t go in this on your own. I got where I am through years of training with Extreme Model Management. Lots of people think modeling comes over night but you look at the models who have made it in the industry they are the girls who have worked hard to get where they are. Being a model is not just about beauty or height but about physical and emotional stamina. You need the backing of a good agency to make it in the modeling industry. And lastly always stay humble and never forget where you come from.