Congolese model Divine Anglade Gongarad, 19, reckons the key to staying in shape is doing regular exercises – and reveals the 5 fashion models and African women that inspire her to be a better model and a better person.

Divine+ZenMagazine+ModelOfTheWeek+January+2014Divine began modelling last year (Photo by William
Bibet, Makeup by Virginie Taton)

Zen: Where are you from?
Divine: I am from Congo-Brazzaville. I was born in Brazzaville, the capital and largest city of the Republic of the Congo but I grew up in France. I have been living in France since I was 3 years old.

Zen: What inspired you to get into modelling?
Divine: I have always loved dressing up, trying on new shoes and new clothes and my personal favourite was always trying on different lipstick colours by MAC but I never imagined myself being a professional model. Modelling for me started coincidentally because I was studying in a park one day when a photograph who was randomly passing by stopped me and asked if I wouldn’t mind her taking my shot. At that time I was very adventurous and I wanted to see how it would turn out so I gave it a few goes and was totally blown away with the images. The results from that day made me believe more in myself and I since decided to give professional modelling a go.

Zen: Do you have any favourite models?
Divine: Yes my favourites are definitely Joan smalls, Jourdan Dunn, Katoucha, Naomie Campbell and Noemie Lenoir

Divine+ZenMagazine+ModelOfTheWeek+January+20141“The women who inspire me include Joyce Banda,
Leymah Gbowee, Rebecca Ayoko, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
and Bineta Diop,” says Divine GongaradPhoto by
Frederic Roland, MUA: Mc Up Coka

Zen: How do you stay looking trim? Do you have an eating diet or routine?
Divine: Let me be completely honest. I don’t really have any eating routine or diet. I love cooking and I love eating good food from all over the world. I particularly love my momma’s Congolese meals and French cakes. But to maintain a slim waist I work on my abs once every day and I do a lot of walking. I also practice African dances and combat sports so you could say I keep fit.

Zen: Who are the 5 favourite African women that inspire you?
Divine: The 5 African women who inspire me include Joyce Banda, Leymah Gbowee, Rebecca Ayoko, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Bineta Diop

Zen: What you do like the most about African fashion?
DivineI like the colours, the diversity and the fabrics. African fashion makes every woman proud to be African. The designs are always exquisite and the waist are adjusted to show the best of our beauty and the sexiness in every woman.

Divine+ZenMagazine+ModelOfTheWeek+January+20144Photo by Christophe Merviel, MUA: Mc Up Coka

Zen: Are you single or in a relationship?
Divine:  I am in serious relationship.

Zen: Who are your favourite designers? (African and International)
Divine: My favourite fashion designers are Elie Saab, Azzedine Alaia and Julien Fournié

Interview by Michael