The top male model has been enrapturing the local fashion world, but the success has not come without a few lessons. He takes ‘Blacklight’ through his life as a model.
Compiled by: Blacklight writer
All Photos: Coutersy of Alino
Born in The DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) and raised in Johannesburg, Alino’s regal and alluring looks have made him a favourite of high profile brands, like David Tlale and Fabiani, to name a few.
Signed to the prestigious modelling agency, Boss Models, he has graced countless magazines and is a permanent feature on Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and African Fashion Internation (AFI) runways.
The UJ (University of Johannesburg) honours graduate is also an entrepreneur. He launched his company CON-FIT-ENCE, a personal training service that is tailor-made to the convenience of each client.
The model also hopes to break into Television, as a presenter and actor, and with his determination, he is bound to achieve all he sets his eyes on.
I first realised I wanted to be a professional model in 2014. Being crowned Mr University of Johannesburg gave me the confidence boost and belief that I could do modelling professionally.
One of my biggest jobs was my very first photoshoot for GQ magazine. It was a very surreal experience because I had been buying and collecting GQ magazines for years. To have the opportunity to be featured in the world-renowned magazine was amazing because it made me feel like I could compete with the very best models in the country.
One of my lowest moments as a budding model was when I reached out to a young photographer for a shoot and got rejected. The photographer had posted on his Instagram that he was offering a free shoot to any model looking to shoot.
I jumped at the opportunity and emailed him. He replied by asking if I was professional yet, I said that I was still in training, and he flat out ignored me from thereon.
That was very disappointing because, even though I was not signed by a big agency yet, I felt I was good enough, at least for a reply.
That incident gave me my first glimpse into how brutal the industry can be. However, I am generally a thick-skinned person. I don’t really take things personally and I bounce back from disappointments very quickly.
As a black man, when I am in front of the lens or walking down a runway, I am trying to portray pure African masculinity – what we are renowned for, what we are loved for and also feared for.
I am showcasing our strength, power and dominion. And that is what I want someone to see when they come across my work.
The greatest reward I get from modelling is making my family proud. A few weeks ago, I got a photo from my older brother of his daughter posing next to a poster of me in the mall, captioned: ‘’I love my famous uncle”.
I wish people understood that modelling is not as easy as it looks. Behind the glitz and glamour are some really dark days.
These days, good manners tend to be overlooked, but that is one quality I pride myself on. Being respectful is a value I learnt at home, which keeps me grounded because no matter whom I interact with, be it my agent, a photographer, a designer or a fan – I try by all means to be respectful. I believe that is one value that has led me to be where I am, now.
One of the big lessons that modelling has taught me is that “Beauty is fickle”, if you let the media tell you what beauty is. It’s impossible for the average person to keep up with the standards of beauty portrayed on the TV and magazines. Each person must define beauty for themself.
Through my work, I hope men want to be me and women want to be with me, because that’s what sells products.
I’m extremely proud to be black and wish to be a positive ambassador for black people in whatever I do, wherever I go.
Follow Alino on Instagram: Alino_katombe