By Jemi Ekunkunbor
Tall and lanky Kate Mensah is the current Face of Africa. Since winning the competition, her life has been greatly transformed. She has worked with some of the best designers in Africa and walked down many runways. Recently in Nigeria for the launch of the 2009 edition of the competition, the dark complexioned model from Ghana took time out for a little chat on life since winning the competition.
Who was your biggest competition in camp?
It was the girl from Nigeria. Her name is Amina but we called her Aly. She was my biggest competition. When I went in there, and saw Aly, I was like, God, this girl has come to stop my dream. But she became my best friend in camp.
I said to her, I know Iâ€™m going to win and she said to me, â€œsorry, Iâ€™m going to winâ€. At the end of the day, I won, I am happy for meeting all those girls especially Amina. She is a fantastic model. She is as good as I am. You just need to find your market.
What was your dream before you won M-net Face of Africa?
Well, first of all, I had a dream to become a super model. At the end of the day, that is where I want to find myself. Right now, I am working towards that dream. It is my priority, that is what I want to achieve. So, I channel all my efforts into it to make sure it happens and Iâ€™m being supported. I have people helping me, and Iâ€™m sure that Iâ€™m going to get there.
The dream of many African models when you ask them is to be a super model. At what point would you say you have become a super model?
When Dolce and Gabanna will make you open and close their shows, youâ€™d be the highest paid model, everyone else would recognise you, then youâ€™d know that Iâ€™ve arrived at last like Oluchi.
Canâ€™t you achieve that in this continent?
It is possible but I would want to get exposed and open to the rest of the world and not just remain in Africa. It is better for the world to know you and your opportunity will be broader as well..
Was there any financial benefit when you won?
Yes. I won $50,000. after that, Iâ€™ve been working and earning as a model. When I work, I get paid. It is an opportunity for young girls. I didnâ€™t know how I was going to make money like thatÂ and now I am. So, itâ€™s beneficial and itâ€™s growing
What is your biggest asset?
I think it is my face and my body. I am an African woman and I have never had that figure. I have always been like this. I donâ€™t eat anything different from what you eat, we eat the same things but this is how our bodies are and that is why we qualify to be models. It is not by force to be a model. There are other things that you can do. If you want to compete internationally, how are you going to do that if you donâ€™t look the part? Lucky enough for us, this is how I am. Sometimes I do exercise just to get my body toned up.
What is it like working with African designers?
I think Africans in general are very warm and nice. I think our designs are exclusive. They are very different from the western kind of designs and itâ€™s a good thing because that is what shows that we are Africans and we have a lot to offer.
Who is your favourite designer?
Itâ€™s Jewel by Liza and she is from Nigeria. I love that woman and her clothes.
What is it like being in the limelight?
I think it is a wonderful thing to be in the limelight. I am actually enjoying myself. The only thing Iâ€™m missing right now is being with my family and spending time with them. Apart from that, I am having a good time, and my career is on its way to be successful and I think its an amazing thing.
What would you miss most when the new Face of Africa emerges?
Well, maybe just the fact that the attention wonâ€™t be on me anymore.
Are you still in school?
I was in school unfortunately, right now, I am on break. But Iâ€™m definitely going to go back to school. I need to get things settled and in place.
How do you think the girl in the village will benefit from this yearâ€™s search considering that many donâ€™t have access to the internet?
If you want it and you are in the village, believe me, you will look for a way of getting to a computer to make your dream come true. That is the determination they are looking for and that is what would make you survive in the industry. If you can get to a computer then you have a chance to be on the Face of Africa. It is a great opportunity for a young girl.