Monday, January 21, 2013

Exclusive Interview - Nyasha Matonhodze

Discovered at age 15 in the 2010 Elite Model Look competition, Nyasha Matonhodze's rise through modellings ranks may be described as nothing short of epic. Matonhodze debuted on the international show circuit during the Spring/Summer 2011 collections, sparking interest in Paris with appearances at Louis Vuitton, Loewe and Emanuel Ungaro. Over the ensuing year, Matonhodze's modelling options kicked into overdrive with key industry support from stylist and Love editor-in-chief Katie Grand, culminating in a heart wrenchingly beautiful Mert & Marcus lensed cover for Love and a Fall/Winter 2011 Louis Vuitton campaign shot by Steven Meisel. A single glance at Matonhodze's soulful melancholic gaze, luscious pillowy pout, and luxuriant caramel skin tone, is all it takes to fall under her magnificent spell.

With all eyes trained firmly on her 178 cm gazelle-like silhouette, Matonhodze logged a blistering trail through the Spring/Summer 2012 season appearing in 47 shows including Givenchy, Balenciaga, Lanvin, Versace and Yves Saint Laurent. Editorial appearances in Teen Vogue, American Harper's Bazaar, Allure, Russh, French Numéro, W, and the British and American editions of Vogue followed swiftly, heralding Matonhodze's full blown star potential. Represented by Elite Model Management in Paris, Matonhodze recently skipped the Spring/Summer 2013 shows to focus on completing her high school education leaving the fashion industry wanting for more. With the Fall/Winter 2013 season fast approaching, Inoubliable Model Army caught up with Matonhodze to discuss her imminent return to the catwalk, those inevitable Naomi Campbell comparisons, and what it means to be truly "Super". 


Nyasha Matonhodze
MAC Cosmetics Natural Radiance
Photographer - Unknown
Source - thebeautymodel.tumblr.com

Inoubliable Model Army: You have such a beautiful distinctive name, does Nyasha have a particular meaning?
NM: Thank you! Yes it does, it means mercy.

Inoubliable Model Army: How old are you? Where are you from originally and where do you call home now?
NM: I am 18 now. I can't believe how fast time has passed, it feels like only yesterday when I would have answered 16! I was born in Zimbabwe and raised by my grandmother until I was 8, then moved to England to live with my mom. I'm definitely torn between the two countries, as I have family in both places, so both feel like home to me.

Inoubliable Model Army: Are you able to remember much of your native Zimbabwe?
NM: I moved to England when I was 8, so I still have fond memories of Zimbabwe; falling asleep in the sand, bathing outside, the warmth of the sun, and just the way of living.

Inoubliable Model Army: You were discovered via the Elite Model Look competition in 2010 at age 14. How has your perception of modelling changed since then?
NM: Oh gosh, I have learnt a lot on this journey and one thing that hasn't changed is being happy with who I am and being grateful for all I've been given, so besides having more experience and a better understanding of the industry, I still get excited about modelling and enjoy my job immensely.

Teen Vogue - April 2011
Photographer - Sebastian Kim
Source - models.com

Andie Arthur & Nyasha Matonhodze
Teen Vogue - June 2011
Photographer - Jason Kibbler
Source - thefashionspot.com

Luis Vuitton - Fall/Winter 2011
Photographer - Steven Meisel
Source - models.com

Inoubliable Model Army: One of your first major campaigns was the Fall/Winter 2011 Louis Vuitton campaign lensed by Steven Meisel. How was the experience of working with Steven on such a high profile assignment?
NM: The first thing that was on my mind when finding out that I would be working with him was, "Lord, you are lucky!" It didn't actually hit me though until I was sat in a Rolls Royce facing eye-to-eye with Mr Meisel. He is a wonder to work with, he made me feel so beautiful.

Inoubliable Model Army: You were the blue chip girl of the Spring/Summer 2012 season walking in 47 shows including Givenchy, Balenciaga, Lanvin, Versace and Yves Saint Laurent. You've recently placed modelling on the back burner, skipping the entire Spring/Summer 2013 collections to focus instead on school. What prompted the decision to go back to school and how important is education to you?
NM: I guess the fear of never having the opportunity again to complete my education plus I've always been taught that education is power, so I had to make time for it.

Inoubliable Model Army: Will you be returning to the show circuit for Fall/Winter 2013?
NM: Most definitely, I'll be returning for the Fall/Winter 2013 collections.

Allure - December 2012
Photographer - Mario Testino
Source - models.com

US Harper's Bazaar - March 2011
Photographer - Daniel Jackson
Source - thefashionspot.com

Allure - March 2012
Photographer - Mario Testino
Source - thefashionspot.com

Inoubliable Model Army: You have appeared in editorials for a diverse array of publications. Are there any photographers that you have enjoyed working with most?
NM: I feel blessed to have worked with so many photographers, as they all carry a vision which for me as a model I feel honoured to have been able to help depict, so it's hard to single out a favourite.

Inoubliable Model Army: Your look often draws comparisons to supermodel Naomi Campbell. How do you feel about the association?
NM: Wow, it's amazing as she has paved the way for me and others. I would be foolish to frown when being compared to such an icon. I honestly bask in such comparisons because I also strive for that kind of success.

Inoubliable Model Army: What do you hope to achieve in your modelling career and do you have an ultimate modelling gig on your wish list?
NM: I've achieved things beyond my wildest imagination so I only hope to maintain it. I don't have an ultimate modelling gig to be precise because for me, I really want to just continue to work with and to meet great industry icons to learn and absorb their wisdom so that one day I can gain that title as an example of not just physical beauty but all the other attributes that make a person truly beautiful.

Russh - September 2011
Photographer - Alex Franco
Source - thefashionspot.com

Nyasha Matonhodze & Jourdan Dunn
W Magazine - January 2012
Photographer - Emma Summerton
Source - beautyisdiverse.com

US Vogue - December 2011
Photographer - Norman Jean Roy
Source - thefashionspot.com

Inoubliable Model Army: Who are your closest model buddies and why?
NM: Josephine Skriver and Ajak Deng because they are both just so kind and we love each other. They are the sisters I never had.

Inoubliable Model Army: Do you feel that the supermodel phenomenon of the early 90s can be revived and if you were to appear on a British Vogue cover as per the iconic Peter Lindbergh cover featuring Linda, Christy et al., who would you most like to share the honour with?
NM: Yes, most definitely! This unique group of women didn't become supermodels by chance, they stood for something far more significant; they supported each other as women. If ever I was to be a part of something so amazing, it wouldn't matter to me who I shared the spotlight with as it would be wonderful to reach such recognition not only as just a face but also as a strong, intelligent and powerful woman. To me that's my definition of a supermodel and I think we could revive the supermodel era if we supported each other.

Inoubliable Model Army: What makes you "Inoubliable" (Unforgettable)?
NM: I've learnt that you live in happiness knowing that people like you for who you are, and not the person you may be pretending to be. So to answer that question, my fans tell me it's my personality and I'm glad because I couldn't be anybody else but myself, and I wish everybody confidence, love and joy in who they are. 

Love - Fall/Winter 2011
Photographer - Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott
Source - models.com

British Vogue Supplement - May 2012
Photographer - Will Davidson
Source - thefashionspot.com

Inoubliable Model Army is delighted and honoured to be able to announce its partnership with Elite Model Management Paris on a series of exclusive interviews and collaborations, bringing you the very best of Elite Paris' modelling talent. For more information on Elite Model Management Paris, please refer to www.elitemodel.fr and Elite Model Management Paris Facebook Page for more exclusive content - www.facebook/eliteparis

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