Words: Aluwani Ratshiungo
You probably recognise his face from the Superbalist Stay Outside campaign currently circulating on different platforms including a TVC in which he features prominently. Sam Mukhuwana has just come out of a few months’ hiatus after leaving his agencies Ice Models and 20 Model management sometime last year. He recently signed to Full Circle and is slowly creeping back into the industry and we couldn’t be happier.
The 22 year-old has a perfectly structured body and chiseled face and he looks like he swam in melanin way longer than most; something that worked against him while growing up in Thohoyandou as kids used to tease him for being “too dark”. As can be expected he never pictured himself as a model, it didn’t even cross his mind. Fast forward to a few years later, the same looks that made playgrounds unbearable for him have seen him appear on billboards, runways, and major local and international publications.
We had a brief chat with the model about his journey and the modelling industry.
When did you decide that you wanted to become a model?
Someone approached me in Carlton Centre back in 2013 while I was in first year. He asked me if I have a modelling agency and whether I’ve ever considered modelling. He said he’d like to work with me and I said no thanks ‘cause Carlton Centre was a very shady place, you couldn’t trust anybody you met. After that, my friends and I would just buy clothes and just take pictures then a classmate suggested it again. Apart from that, there were a couple of other hints so I just decided to do it.
How did you get into modelling?
I applied to multiple agencies and all of them rejected me [laughs] and then I just knew that…there was something in me that said I could do it. I got in because of one person who decided to open the door for me.
What are some of the things you love and hate about the modelling industry?
The modelling industry is very tricky. It’s very tricky in the sense that it’s very unstable. It’s not a guaranteed source of income because your future is literally in somebody’s hands. You wait for somebody to say “okay, we have a job for you.” But it gives you the opportunity to explore your creative side. You can’t let everything rest in somebody’s hands, you try to develop concepts. That’s what I’ve been doing; I’ve been developing concepts and playing around, exploring my creative side which has led me to discover more about myself.
Who are some models that you look up to?
Honestly, coming up, I looked up to everybody there was to look up to cause I believe that that’s how you evolve as a human being; that’s how you grow. Everything is relative, you look at everything in relative terms and then you just try to place yourself and groom yourself and grow your way around the people and that’s basically what I did. If I had to mention them it would be a long list.
Why did you leave Ice Models and 20 Model Management?
It was a growth decision on my part. I needed to discover myself so i just severed all external connections that I had and just went into myself and just basically started afresh.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on multiple projects; some modelling related and some are not. Those that are not are a surprise. I have a couple of things that are yet to come out and places I’d like to see. On the modelling side, there’s a Piece and Co/Banana Republic campaign coming soon. I like surprises so I can’t really talk about what I’m working on.
Follow Sam on Instagram to keep up with what he’s getting up to.