These local models have been booked for New York Fashion Week - Plus, other SA models who've bagged international deals
By now you might have noticed the spike in young professionals leaving South Africa to pursue jobs in more economically stable parts of the world. The reasons for leaving obviously differ for each person - some of which are South Africa's unemployment crisis, safety, and the tenuous economy as shared by youths who wrote letters to News24 this April.
The phenomenon of migrating for an upward career trajectory, however, is not a new one, albeit more apparent now thanks to social media. In some instances this is a well-considered and intentional move, while in other cases it's an 'overnight success' story that took years and a golden opportunity to finally materialise.
READ MORE: Is Africa ready to be a luxury fashion hub?
This is often the case with the local talent we celebrate when they swim in international waters upon gaining long overdue recognition for their incredible work.
Elsubie Verlinden can attest to this, not only as the Director of 33 and Me Model and Artist Management but an agent for New York Film Academy Film and Musical Theatre as well as a South African Agent for IMTA New York.
Speaking to W24, Elsubie took us through her own journey as a local star who graced both big and small screens, boasting Mr Bones and Binnelanders as just two of the notable roles under her belt. The talent manager recalls how despite the applause she was receiving for her locally obtained accolades, "it was [her] biggest dream to get international recognition."
But in 2010, she acted on a dream that was bigger than herself, and ventured into the business of International Placement Education and Opportunity for homegrown talent.
"I enjoy working with potential - not perfection," Elsubie explains before sharing her list of models who've booked international gigs. The deep sense of pride is palpable as she gives the name and brief background of each one, whom she implies have the "passion and purpose" she looks for with each face she puts forward at the International ARTS Talent Showcase (IATS).
Something Elsubie emphasises is that "you need to have character and determination" in order to stand out to the bigwigs of the industry.
Five such models who have successfully - and perhaps naturally so - heeded this advice are those who have recently been booked for New York Fashion Week in September. These fresh faces hail from Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth, Durban, Johannesburg, and Pretoria respectively.
As irony would have it, none of these young models had been previously booked locally, but were instantly attractive to the international market at their castings in New York, notes their KZN-born agent.
Caitlyn Rockman, Selene Chiang, Caleb Bruiners, Siyabonga Mpontshane, and Ivan Engelbrecht will all be walking the runway in the Big Apple as a new fashion season kicks off next month.
We take a look at Selene and Caitlyn's profiles below:
Model, actress, singer, dancer, Face of Arts Africa top 3 contestant
Fluent in seven languages
Model, Face Of Free State Fashion Week 2017, actress, ARTS alumni 2017
Selene Chiang and Caitlyn Rockman add to the bevy of South African models who've walked the runway and fronted campaigns for the likes of Chanel, Gucci, Valentino, Philipp Plein, Fenty Beauty by Rihanna, KKW, and Kylie Cosmetics.
Paris Fashion Week
Paris Couture Fashion Week 2018
Fendi Resort 2019 collection lookbook
Having secured deals with both Chanel and Fendi, it's safe to say this rising star from Bloem had a golden nod from late fashion giant Karl Lagerfeld.
Milan Fashion Week
Stella McCartney SS20
Philipp Plein SS20
John Richmond SS20
Vanity Fair Italia
KKW Fire Collection campaign
Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Body Lava campaign shoot
Fashion Nova x Cardi B collaboration campaign shoot
Which local beauty do you think is next to pose and strut alongside their South African peers for all the world to see? Tell us here.
Sign up to W24's newsletters so you don't miss out on any of our hot stories and giveaways.