Botswana born model Thato Edward talks to Zen about life as a fashion model in Ireland, fashion from African designers and 5 things you probably didn’t know about her.

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Zen: Tell us about yourself. Where are you from?
Thato: I am a Botswana born model based in Ireland. I am from a small village in the North East of Botswana called Moroka but I grew up in Francistown city were I went to school and did most of my tertiary studies. I moved to Ireland back in 2010 to further my studies and pursue modelling professionally because I have always wanted to be a model.

Zen: What does modelling mean to you and how did you get started in modelling?
Thato: To me modelling means having a great attitude and personality that will reflect in all your pictures. It is a very tough industry but if you are confident and if you persevere, you can definitely go far. In 2011, I attended the Absolute School Of Modelling in Ireland where I learnt a lot about modelling and did my first shoot with them. It was an incredible feeling!

Zen: Who are some of your favourite African models?
Thato: A few of my favourite African models are Kaone Kario and Alek Wek.

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Zen: What has been your favourite shoot or campaign(s) work to date?
Thato: My favourite shoot has always been with Anita Kulon of Anita Kulon photography. She has a great eye and has the natural ability to get pictures from a perfect angle. I also recently worked with Kristina Sandaraite of Photography By Kristina. She is super creative and fun to work with.

Zen: How would you describe your style
Thato: I really wear anything I look good in and anything I feel comfortable in. That is my style. I do love fashionable clothes but I don’t follow trends.

Zen: What do you think about African fashion?
Thato: I think the fashion industry in Africa is growing rapidly. The great thing about African fashion right now is that we have beautiful bold colours and prints that look great on all women. It’s the fashion in vogue across the world and I think it’s amazing.

Zen: Who are a few of your favourite African designers across the world?
Thato: My favourite African designers would have to be David Tlale, Koketso Chiepe, and Neo Ooke of African Lace.

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Zen: 5 things you can’t live without
Thato: I can’t live without my daughter, my phone, music, true love and food.

Zen: Your favourite African musicians.
Thato: My favourite are Ndingo Johwa, Vee, A.T.I, Oliver Mtukuzi, and Zahara.

Zen: 5 facts about you people may not know
Thato: I love horror movies, I can’t dance, I can’t swim, I am a very strong woman and I have young daughter.

Zen: What’s next for Thato?
Thato: I am interested in acting although I haven’t tried it before. It’s one of the things I aim at doing in the future but right now my focus is on becoming a better model. My biggest goal is to successfully break into the modelling industry and I believe I have what it takes to make it happen.

Photography by Anita Kulon