Hi everyone and welcome to another edition of STREET @FRICANA “Where everything is African”! Buzzing on the streets of the African modeling world is Cameroonian model Njotu Denzel Joseph aka JoJo who turned a year older this past Wednesday and is one of the up and coming ‘big names to look out for’ male models in the industry and who has worked with a lot of Fashion icons and photographers from various parts of the World. THJ caught up with him for an interview where he spilled out some exclusive details on his life, career, achievements and challenges that comes with being a model. Read the exciting interview below:
THJ: Hello Denzel, glad you could spare time to accord us this interview. How are you doing ?
Njotu Denzel: I am very fine, Thank you.
THJ: Tell us a little bit about yourself… where in Cameroon are you from and how long have you been modeling for?
Njotu Denzel: I was born and raised in the city of Limbe formerly known as Victoria, I know that town like a Pastor knows his words. My Dad is from a small tribe in the North West Region known as ”Kunda” in Momo Division which I don’t expect you to know of Lol and my Mom is Bassa from Littoral. I have been Modeling professionally for almost three years now.
THJ: What got you into modeling and how did you get your big break into the modeling world?
Njotu Denzel: First it was a childhood dream and later I was been pushed by a friend named Lindsay, who will sing modeling in my head like every day and she would say things like “I wish Cameroon was a Fashion Capital, so I could see you walk the runway with other super models” . She believed so much in me and told me to give it a try which I did and here we are today 🙂
Njotu Denzel: I had to join Fredash Modeling Agency in Buea and after only three days I was selected in a photo shooting casting at the famous Alain Ngann Studio in Douala and that made me believe in myself even more; long story short, I later met the fitness trainer and Model David Nso online via Facebook and he introduced me to Kibonen Nfi and Kibonen introduced me to the talented Photographer William Nsai and Bam! Thing’s were never the same again.
THJ: Wow sounds very interesting! So, what challenges/obstacles do you face as an African Male Model in Cameroon?
Njotu Denzel: Being a male model alone is a whole topic of its own. Modeling is one of the few jobs or careers in the world were women earn better than men. The fact that I am in Cameroon makes it even worst cos there is this so called “Anglophone and Francophone” Models which means the majority are being favored in castings and commercial jobs. This is terrible because Cameroons Fashion industry is still at its infancy so making a living as a model in Cameroon is almost not possible and that’s why I am being force to travel and seek jobs from other countries and when I come back home (to Cameroon) no one respects you and the media pays very little attention to Models.
THJ: That doesn’t sound very promising. Where do you see yourself in 3 years careerwise?
Njotu Denzel: Like any hard working person, no matter their career, I see myself somewhere better than today in the next three years. I am in a career were being in Europe or USA is a great achievement!
THJ: Name one African and one non African Designer you would love to work with (model their clothes) and why?
Njotu Denzel: For a very long time I have admired John Galliano and David Tlale’s collections and their sense of creativity. Those two Designers are both out of this world and their collections have an identity and pass out a message.
THJ: Tell us a little bit about your travels. Have you done a lot of travelling and is it as glamorous as people think it is?
Njotu Denzel: Oh yeah I have and it sure is glamorous as you get to fly high class (he means Business or First Class), sleep in good hotels, eat stuff you can’t even pronounce, networking, learn new cultures, meet new people and get paid all at the same time Hahahaha, but the truth is you can only enjoy all this if you are working with a professional team.
THJ: Hahahahaha the Good life Huh ? You were very busy last summer (2015). Which fashion shows did you attend and how did you get to attend them?
Njotu Denzel: Yeah very busy indeed. The sad part is I had an on and off health issue during that period due to the tight schedule within that short time, also I have an agency so they are the ones responsible for booking shows or jobs for me and I was privileged to be booked for three fashion weeks in three different countries but I ended up doing just Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival in Ghana and the rest were called off for me due to health and professional reasons but the beautiful part is I still had to travel to those countries and did some editorial shoots and commercials with some outstanding and beautiful people such as Ivorian Shoe Designer Samarra Shoes, Cultural Diversity Campaign with Nigerian Comedien, Jara TV Presenter and Actress Helen Paul, worked with Photographers such as Hakeem Saleem, Ayo Alasi, Ofure Ighalo etc and my visit to Benin Republic for Fesmma Fashion Week was an excellent experience cos I made an extremely vast network for upcoming years.
THJ: What important advice can you give to people (and Cameroonians) who are considering getting into modeling?
Njotu Denzel: Know what kind of model you want to be and work hard toward that goal, cos modeling has so many departments within. I am that kind of person who believes in hard work over natural born talent, so for those of you who want to get in to modeling my advice is know what department of modeling fits you best and work hard towards that direction and don’t forget to find yourself a modeling agency or agent. There is nothing like being Lucky in my world
THJ: You mentioned before that you are under an Agency, which Agency is that and what is the best way for people to contact you for modeling work?
Njotu Denzel: I was with Xa! International modeling agency in Nigeria and left the agency earlier this year. Within Cameroon, I am a Freelance Model which means I can be reached directly via my Facebook page (Denzel Joe-Hova) and my website is currently under construction.
THJ: I hope you website is up and running very soon to showcase all those sizzling hot pictures of you! 😉 Your story is very interesting and I’m sure it will inspire many others in Cameroon and Africa who are hesitant to take upon modeling as a full-time career. Thank you very much for this interview and the THJ team wishes you the very best in your career as we look forward to more exciting stuff from you and will check back with you again.
Njotu Denzel: Thank you too THJ for having me, the pleasure is mine 🙂
There you have it guys. Talk about #NjotuPower! After this interview Denzel told the THJ’s Editor that he is currently working on signing up with another modeling agency that he has been very interested in but is keeping his options open. We wish him all the best with that. What do you think? Will he be the next Tyson Beckford or what? Tell us if you enjoyed the Interview.
*Runway photo’s provided to THJ courtesy of Njotu Denzel. All other photo’s taken from his Facebook page.
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