A career as a model in Kenya is rarely considered a lucrative gig, as there is no standardized process in the fashion industry, the majority of aspiring models find themselves shortchanged. Many will walk a runway or pose for a fashion shoot with little to no pay, but the promise that they will receive exposure for their work. Others are conned of their money when applying to be part of an agency or during auditions. And it is also a sexploitative industry, so models have been abused and received their fair share of sexual advances.
This is not a new story, but enough is enough. Brave Kenyan models are using Twitter and other social media platforms to expose the exploitation that they have been through for too long. The outrage began when a viral post by model Tendai Makera exposed popular Kenayn afro-pop band Sauti Sol and their management team, who requested for models but would not pay them.
"This is so sad. This is Kenya for you... A lot of artists never want to pay professional models. And if they do, this is exactly what they offer, food and transport. They are better off calling their own friends instead of targeting real models who are worth something..." Tendai said.
Using the hashtag #PaymodelsKE, more models have revealed why they can never catch a break. Former Miss World Kenya, Sheila Kanini shared her experiences and her viral instastories kicked off the hashtag trend.
She posted a picture where she modeled for a lifestyle magazine in October 2017, and has yet to be paid for it even though she was promised to receive her pay a month after the shoot.
"I have done free jobs, soo many of them, worked for coins, paid for shoots, not because I'm stupid or I sell myself short but because I wanted to grow. But here as you grow someone is busy planting weeds in your shamba (garden), you know why? Because people in this industry disregard models, and it has to stop." Sheila posted.