Hello good people.
Meet Benja, a very friendly, sociable, confident young man. A professional model, entrepreneur and a geologist-First class honours geology graduate from the University of Nairobi.

Briefly describe yourself
Simple, humble, outgoing, adventurous, God fearing and a strong believer of hard work.
You are alumni of University of Nairobi, what did you study?
Yes sure I am. I took Bachelor of Science in Geology.
You are a model, when did you start to model?
Yes I am. I started modelling in 2013. To be exact 28th August 2013 after I was crowned Mr. University of Nairobi 2013/2014
Before then you had not modelled?
Yes. Before then I had not modelled but I had always tried to train with a guide of YouTube videos and a very good friend-Josiah Karanja.
Tell us more about your crowning as Mr. University of Nairobi 2013/2014
It was a major platform for me to start a career in the competitive modelling industry. Since then things generally changed in my life. Even people who snobbed me before started seeking an audience with me.
What have you been up to since you finished school?
I cleared campus last year in September. Graduated with a First class Honours he he. I have been into farming, fitness training, borehole investigations and drilling, writing science papers, worked with two geological firms before I decided to go solo. I have also been working to see how I can further my studies and if all goes well, God willing in September I will be starting my MSc.
How do you handle all these activities?
It is just discipline in time management and staying true to my course. Though some, I do with the help of other people. No man is an island.
Your take on the modelling industry in Kenya and does it pay.
It is growing to be a better one though it is quite flooded. It depends on the type of jobs you take. The industry does not pay, unlike outside there where it pays. However, it can at least help clear some bills. One just needs to perfect his/her art.
Is it hard to be a male model as compared to female models?
To some extent yes. It is hard being a male model. I believe you just need to be good at what you do and sell yourself as a brand. In addition, many designers are mostly female biased, but I do not blame it is hard to make male collections entirely and stay relevant for a long while. Mad respect to male designers who stay true to the course.
What challenges do models face?
Challenges, quite a lot. Cases where professionalism is not observed rather favouritism. As a result of a relationship it takes precedence, poor industry practises as regards to pay rates for different assignments (a lot is expected of a model and little is given as remuneration), perspectives that people have about the model society as a whole. Just to mention but a few.
What inspires you?
My twin sibling who have always believed in me. My family generally which has always supported me. I have always wanted to be a better version of me in each aspect day by day.
Who are your role models?
Tyson Beckford, Ajuma Nasenyana and David Beckham
Are beauty pageants the best foundation for models to start from?
Hehe not really it depends in what genre of modelling you are going into. Pageants so long as you have a good trainer you can get the basics for runway fashion modelling. In actual high fashion, modelling it is all about the clothes and no longer about you as in pageants.
Miss Kenya beauty pageant is very vibrant, what happened to Mr. Kenya beauty pageant?
About Mr. Kenya pageant, I am not in a position to make any comment. I hope the organizers see this question and elucidate much on the same.
In Kenya some pageants end in somebody just being crowned and that is all but internationally you find that the crowned persons are highly valued and treated as brands and there is almost certainty that they will be supported highly in their set projects, which are known even before they are crowned.
Compare and contrast local and international beauty pageants
We are back in Kenya especially in terms of the valuation. However, some organizers are really working hard to keep us at par with the international levels. Kudos to all of them for the spanners they are throwing into the works.
Most models are conned and misled by agencies and agents, what should be done?
About the conning by agencies, all I can say is that much as one is an upcoming model, they should not run into agencies blindly. In most cases, a model is ‘used’ when he/she acts desperate.
One should have a complete know how of the agencies they want to join. Also get a good mentor (for instance somebody you look up to in the industry) to walk you through the whole process. One should be informed of the existing market rates and practises that is apart from one having their own rates, based on what they think is their worth.
What makes a good model?
A personal opinion, I think humility versatility and diligence make a good model.
Many youths want to be models, what do you think attracts them to this industry, is it the money, fame or passion?
Most youths love the glam and fame that comes with the industry. All I know is that if you do not have the passion it will be an ephemeral thing, which will be worthless.
You are very passionate about charity work, what projects have you done, current and future ones?
I have been a sanitary towel distribution ambassador for Pamoja Africa initiative, which was mostly a school program. Currently still ready to work with any more sponsors to continue with the project. I have been doing personal visits to some children homes to give out my clothes. It was something I had been doing since I was a small boy. It was my family’s culture especially with less fortunate. I have been a little bit tied up with my career since I cleared campus but I am just seeking stability as a scientist. I am working with a footballer friend of mine to support a local under 15-football club in Lower Kabete area. It is a good way to relax too after long periods of research work.  Something is cooking and it will come to the public eye very soon.
What are your best and worst modelling experiences?
I am still waiting for the worst experiences as I hope for the best. Best experiences are modelling David Tlale’s collection (he is a fashion god), shared a designer with my role model Tyson Beckford (though in different runways). Was also working with the African shirt company from the states.

Apart from training, what else do you do or eat to maintain such an appealing body?
Hehe. Thank you for the compliment. I take a lot of fruits, greens and water. I do not use sodas and I try any way possible to avoid any form of additive sugar (sugarless tea for example).
What can we expect from you?
I will not promise anything but prepare to be wowed.
Describe your fashion style
My fashion style is classy, tailor made suits if I am doing suits (check out le’Kasri website then you will understand what I mean). Mostly smart casual, unless I am doing geology fieldwork where I get sporty or simple casual.
Fashion advice to men
Know your body and know what suits you. This is because, the way one is dressed may determine how people address you. However, I am not a serious dresser myself. Hehe

What would you tell youths out there who want to be models?
Choose a genre of modelling that suits you after thorough consultations with people who know what modelling actually is. Then go for it. Start by doing what is necessary then do what is possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible.