It’s in my blood, it is my passion ,’ says Tanzanian model Niler Bernard Mruma, who shot with Nigerian photographer Tope Adenola on the beautiful shores of Tanzania. ‘I want to become the best model I can be and also to stand out as an inspiration to other aspiring models.’ Words from Niler Bernard as Zen Magazine interviewed the Tanzanian model to find out how life has been 1 year after she started modelling professionally.

Interview+With+Niller+Mruma+For +Zen+Magazine+Africa1Niler is signed with BOSS MODELS South Africa

Zen: Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from?
Niler: Like you already know my name is Niler Bernard. I am 22 years of age and I am from Tanzania. I am a driven woman with a great head on my shoulder. I would like to say I am very humble, understanding, friendly and on top of it all I believe in God very much.

Zen: When and why did you get into modelling?
Niler: I officially started modelling last year around September, but before that I remember I once represented my college in a modelling competition which I came out as the winner. The reason why I got into modelling wasn’t very clear at first but after the TANZANIA TOP MODEL COMPETITION where I placed 1st in the competition I realized that this was a career I really wanted. It felt natural. Modelling is in my blood, it is my passion and probably the only thing I am best at.

Zen: Who are your favourite African models?
Niler: My favourite African models are Alek Wek from South Sudan, and Millen Magese and Ally Kheri, who are both from Tanzania.

Zen: Naomi Campbell, Iman and most recently Anais Mali have all called for an end to runway racism. Do you think racism exists in modelling?
Niler: Yes, there is racism in the modelling industry.

Zen: Have you ever experienced any form of racism since you started modelling?
Niler: I have experienced racism with this short time I started though I don’t let it get to me. I just do the job and move on. When I started applying to modelling agencies in Italy, I got rejected a lot or let me say I didn’t meetup to what they want. I was even told that there is not much dark skinned models in Milano so a friend advised me to go to South Africa to give it a try. I am so glad I did that because now I feel much more at peace.

Zen: What can be done to end this or what attitude can be changed to end this?
Niler: I think its about time they try to see the bigger picture in this industry. They should consider giving more dark skinned models the opportunity on bigger catwalks so that they can realize their talents. The industry should be equal to every model irrespective of race or skin colour. I hope there would be a change soon!

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Zen: If you could go on a dinner date with 1 top African celebrity, who would it be?
Niler: If I get a chance to dine with 1 African celebrity it would definitely have to be Nigerian actress Omotola Jalade Ekeinde. I always believe she is a strong woman and I would like to learn some things from her. Also she is so beautiful and I would love to take a selfie with her (Laughs).

Zen: How would you describe your style?
Niler: My style is a bit mixed up. It’s funky, a bit girly but mostly boyish in some looks.

Zen: Describe African fashion in 4 words
Niler: IT IS AMAZINGLY INTERESTING.

Zen: In your view what makes African fashion unique?
Niler: I think its the natural beauty. The fabrics when combined can produce something extraordinary.

Zen: Which fashion magazines, websites or blogs do you visit often?
Niler: The fashion magazines I visit a lot are Bang Magazine from Tanzania, Elle Magazine, Vogue and off course Zen Magazine. I also follow them on Instagram for updates.

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Zen: Describe your dream modelling job?
Niler: My dream job is to become my own brand. To become the best model I can be and also to stand out as an inspiration to other aspiring models.

Zen: Apart from modelling, what other passion or hobby takes your time?
Niler: My hobbies are writing short stories which  I usually read to myself “weird, I know” (Laughs). I also love music a lot.

Zen: What’s the most challenging thing you have done in life?
Niler: The most challenging thing I have ever done in my life was when I got on a plane and travelled to South Africa for the first time to get signed with a modelling agency. It was a country I had never been to before, and I am really happy I made that move because it was definitely worth it. It was risky but what’s life without a little bit of risks.

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Zen: Which country is on your bucket list to visit?
Niler: Italy is one country on my travel bucket list..home of fashion I call it.

Zen: Best advice for other aspiring models?
Niler: I believe aspiring models need to understand that modelling has a limited time career. The last thing you want to do is play with time if you want to be successful. Another thing is to be the best you can be because you are the one responsible for your dreams.

Zen: What can we expect next from Niler?
Niler: I just got signed with BOSS MODELS, South Africa so expect to see more of me in magazines, web and TV.

For more information on Niler, please follow her on Instagram @nilerbernard
Photography by Tope Adenola (Horpload Works Photography)
Stylist: Rio and Noel – Tanzania

MUA: Rahima Moore (Simply Gorgeous)
Location: Coco Beach, Tanzania