CHARLENA ISHIMWE is a business model with huge dreams. As a child, she dreamed of starting a modeling agency and her dreams are coming true, although she still needs more financial support to expand it.
Last year, she founded ‘Aquira Fashion Agency’ to instill confidence in tall women.
After conducting research in Rwanda, she observed that most modeling agencies preferred to work with slim women, which limited the potential of taller women.
She believes that everyone is beautiful in their own body, hence her intention to give plus size women a platform to feel satisfied and embrace their beauty with the promise of offering all model services for free.
Its target is models aged 18 and over and 80 kg and over. Through her agency, Ishimwe teaches plus-size models catwalk skills, posing for photoshoots, feeling comfortable in front of the camera, and other skin, hair, body, and grooming tips. health.
Although her agency has yet to resume, she looks forward to officially posting on June 30 to allow supporters to apply for an opportunity to join her agency.
Going forward, she is confident that her modeling agency will partner with mainstream brands, fashion designers, photographers and artists to advertise a wide range of products in Rwanda and beyond. .
The commercial model’s wish is to work with fashion house Moshions. Her inspiration to strictly consider plus-size women came from her plus-size aunt who struggled to find clothes of her choice.
“Seeing my aunt struggle to fit into her clothes, especially on special occasions, was emotional for me. She was not comfortable, especially in tight clothes. I realized that there is probably many women like her who have to learn to accept their bodies,” she says.
Journey into modeling
Ishimwe’s journey to modeling began in 2017. After expressing her love for modeling to her grandmother, she connected her with a local modeling agency who boosted her modeling skills, posing for photos, in leadership, etc.
It was thanks to this agency that his confidence was reinforced. Within about a year, sadly, the business fell apart, the same time she lost her grandmother who pushed her to follow her dreams.
Ishimwe was puzzled what to do next, but her mother advised her to put her career on hold until she was 18 when she was mature and she obliged.
She started saving money as her mother helped her with more financial support so she could start her agency.
Regardless of the negative comments from people around her, she turned a deaf ear to them because she was sure of what exactly she wanted to do and wasn’t ready to give up yet.
Her role models are American rapper and songwriter Cardi B, due to her confidence, and reality TV star Kim Kardashian, whose sense of style inspires her.
Ishimwe is a fifth-grade student at Ecole Saint-Joseph in Kigali and is currently taking a three-month track-based, online course.