Life Lessons from male model: Alino Katombe

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.

By: Compiled by staff writer
All Photos supplied by Alino

Alino (24) has become one of the most prominent faces in the local fashion scene. Born in The DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) and raised in Johannesburg, his regal and robust looks have made him a favourite of high profile designers, like David Tlale. Signed by the prestigious modelling agency, Boss Models, he has had spreads on GQ and walked the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week runways.

“I am a thick skinned person.”

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 for the convenience of the clients.

The model also hopes to break into Television, as a presenter or actor, and with his bold vision and determination, it seems like he is bound to achieve all he sets his eyes on.

Alino is also a personal trainer

I first realised I wanted to be a professional model in 2014. I had just won Mr and Miss University of Johannesburg and that gave me a confidence boost and the belief that I could do it 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 mag was amazing. 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 had tried to organise a shoot with one of the best young photographers in the city. He 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 asking if I was professional yet, I said that I was still in training and he flat out ignored me from there. That was very disappointing because I felt, even though I was not signed by a big agency yet, I was good enough, at least for a reply.

That incident gave me my first glimpse at how brutal the industry can be. But I am generally a thick skinned person, I don’t really take things personally and I bounce back from disappointments pretty quickly.

“Behind the glitz and glamour are some really dark days.”

As a black man, when I am behind the lens or walking down a runway I believe 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 – 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 and saying ‘’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

Good manners tend to be overlooked these days but that is a quality that is dear to me. 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’s one value that has led me to where I am, now.

“I want to be a positive ambassador in whatever I do”

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. I say this because I’ve seen average looking people become extremely beautiful super models by the time they step out the hair and makeup room.

It’s impossible for the average person to keep up with the standards portrayed on the TV screens and magazines. Each person must define beauty for themself and live up to it.

What feeling I hope people get from 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.

You can follow Alino on Instagram: Alithenubian

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