Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
Male model Ben Chest has been selected to represent Zimbabwe at the Mister Africa Continental that will take place in Ghana later this year and has described the opportunity as an honour and privilege.
The pageant will be held from 20 to 27 September.
Mister Africa Continental is a pageant that celebrates a definitive diverse men that are passionate and devoted to making African males’ continental icons. These are also men that protect, preserve and promote African’s cultural uniqueness.
Ben Chest, who holds more than 15 modelling awards in Zimbabwe including Mr Zimbabwe, was selected as Mr Zimbabwe brand ambassador by Mr Zim Board in Harare under Zimbabwe Models Awards.
He said it was an honour and privilege to represent Zimbabwe.
“This is a royal and magnificent initiative that seeks to celebrate, unite and lift the African child. Being part of Mister Africa Continent will open international doors for me and the many I represent. I would also use this opportunity to share my country’s beautiful values and culture with my other fellow Africans hence a step closer to my Mr Universe dream,” said Ben Chest.
He appealed for sponsorship to help him prepare for the Mister Africa Continental pageant.
“As male models we also ask the society to sponsor us as much as do to females. The amount of work to be done is equally the same. In order for me to do well at Mr Africa I need sponsorship for airfares and other travelling expenses because we shall be there for a week,” said Ben Chest.
Born Bernard Ndlovu, Ben Chest said he also wanted to use the opportunity to tell his story about overcoming self-doubt and depression from a tender age.
“Growing up I used to suffer from depression and had no confidence, fear was my daily bread, I struggled to discover my purpose and I thought I would amount to nothing. My dreams and hopes were like dry wind; they say life begins at 40 but I say life begins at a tender age. The day I decided to be a model everything started to change,” said Ben Chest.
He said being a model taught him to be kind and selfless and it also boosted his confidence and wants to inspire others with his story.
“You can never be a model and not be a role model. I believe God blesses you to be a blessing to others. I mentor young models and work closely with charity organisations and now I am in the process of establishing a modelling trust fund and agency,” said Ben Chest.
The family man bemoaned that there are few prominent male models.
“In our society the focus is more on female models than male simply because we lack male models who will take a stand and claim their place and lead by example. We need men who break the cycle and barriers and grow through hard work and achievements,” said Ben Chest.
He started his career in 2008 as a freelance model in Bulawayo trying to build his brand and was snapped up by Edgars Stores to showcase their clothes. He then joined AM Modelling Agency in 2014 who groomed him until he left three years later and now is a freelancer again.
Ben Chest has also featured in music videos such as Jah Prayzah’s Sadza Nemuriwo.