Valerie Ayena is our model of the week. Valerie talks about her modeling career and so much more...
Valerie Ayena is a Dubai based Cameroonian model, Revelon South Africa Ambassador, Guinness Ambassador and LANA Biocosmetics Amabassador. Valerie was discovered by a South African Fashion producer Jalan Malan in 2011 when she went for a casting in Bonanjo for Kreyann couture a prestigious clothing label owned by Mrs Anna Ngann Yonn. After she was being discovered she later moved to South Africa a few month later to start a modeling career where she represented the designs of many renowned fashion label in also participating in some of South Africans profiled fashion shows. After winning Miss Cameroon 2014 which to her was just for fun was loved by all Cameroonians due to her hard work and the love she had for her Country Cameroon, To her she said Being a model is not only about your body but your brain as well. GM had the opportunity to chit chat with this Cameroon’s finest Model and here’s what she had to say. Enjoy
GM: What are your origins?
AV: I'm from Cameroon. I was born in douala, bonaberi. And I've got a very special mixture as my parents are Bassa and Ewondo, 02 Cameroonian tribes with special characters. Lol
GM: How would you describe yourself?
VA: If I had to describe myself, I would say that l'm a simple and funny girl. I'm open minded and easy going kind of person. People around me always say that l'm an authentic girl and I'm proud to be seen in that way.
GM: How were you discovered?VA: It was in 2011. I went to a casting in bonanjo, Douala. The casting was organized by Mrs Anna NgannYonn, Owner of the brand called Kreyann. In the casting room, there was a man called Jan Malan. He is the one who scouted me. He said that l was talented and thought I would be great for runways. Few months after our first meeting, he called me to say there was an agency who wanted me in South Africa. That's how l left Cameroon for an international modeling career.
GM: Would you say miss Cameroon was a spring board for you?
VA: Before joining the miss Cameroon beauty contest, l was already a model and l was studying in South Africa at the same time. I came to Cameroon in 2013 because l had to renew my South African visa. And while I was waiting, as the process was taking long, l saw the advert on TV and simply joined the competition. It was just for fun and turned to be a big journey. Winning the title gave me a bigger exposure in my country Cameroon and around the world via Miss World 2013. But at the end l see myself as the result of hard work, Because many can be beautiful but if you don't work hard, the world will immediately forget about you.
GM: How do you feel on the runway?
VA: How l feel on the runway is something unbelievable! Usually I feel the pressure from designers who are expecting me to make their creations being alive on stage but at the same time, my self-confidence shines so bright! The mixture of all that excitement, always gives me such a big dose of adrenaline. It's magic!
GM: If you weren’t a model what will you be?
VA: I would have probably be an artist….any kind of artist because I like arts in general; musical, Arts,fashion art, photography, painting…so I would have been doing one of these activities.
GM: Who are your fave Camer artists?
VA: My fave Cameroonians artist will be Annie Anzouer, Mama Nguea and other talented artist.
GM: What’s the one of the most interesting shoots that you’ve done?
VA: One of my favorite's shoot was for REVLON, the perfume "Unforgettable". I was playing the role of a girl who had to leave her beloved boyfriend to go continue her studies in another country. The scene is happening on a rainy evening. The guy is sad. She cries and then leaves in her dad's car. She leaves but her perfume stays in the air making that moment "unforgettable". It was so intense and l could feel the role as l sometimes have to leave my beloved ones for work reasons.
GM: Do you have a skin care routine?
VA: Of course l do. I'm suffering from strong acne and beside the medical treatment l receive, I use specific products. The shower gel l use on my body is not the same l'm using on my face. My face products are different from those l use on the rest of my body. In a simple way, just make sure that you first of all know what is your skin complexion. Is it dry, oily, mixed...? Once you know, a specialist should help you to find what is the right treatment for your skin. It's not difficult but you have to make sure that you're going to the right specialist. Myself l usually mix clinic treatment with homeopathic remedies from the spa.
GM: Do you change your skin routine between seasons?
VA: The only thing l do is to use more moisturizer on my skin during summer because it prevents the skin from dryness. And when it's raining in Cameroon, I just keep everything simple. It's more difficult when l'm working overseas as there are four different seasons there. In general, the idea is to keep your skin like it's a baby. You must take care of yourself everyday and being aware of the different signs. A dry skin will show some marks whenever you scratch yourself for example. A skin that is too oily will also show some signs. Just make sure you keep the right balance: not too dry, not too oily.
GM: Biggest luxury?
VA: It's the apartment l've got in Cameroon. I managed to make it so nice that the expression "home, sweet home" takes all its sense there. I'm in love with my own place. It's a great feeling when You finish your day at work and can't wait to go home.
GM: How do you stay in shape?
VA: To stay in shape, I eat everything in small portion and of course I do some gym exercises. A good diet and fitness are the best way to have a beautiful body.
GM: How do you define your personal style?
VA: I will define my style as casual chic. I don't necessarily follow trends. It's all about how I'm feeling in my clothes. Most of the time, I will choose to be comfortable as I'm always moving.
GM: Do you have a go to label?
VA: Not especially. For me the only thing that matters is how you feel in the clothes you buy and wear. I'm always playing in between "prêt à porter" and "Haute Couture". You will probably see me wearing a little black dress from Mango with a pair of shoes from Christian Louboutin. Like you could also see me wearing a cute little "KabaNgondo" with a handbag from Chanel.
GM: Stye icon?
VA: Don't really know... But I will say a mixture in between Grace Kelly and Kendall Jener. These two women represent well my two sides: the miss inside me for Princess Grace and the model for the new top girl Kendall.
GM: Your best Camer food, and do you know how to cook it?
VA: I like almost all traditional dishes in Cameroon, I’m a “Fin gourmet” and one of my favorite food is pounded cocoyams with palm nut sauce made with smooked meat. I like eating and I enjoy cooking,
GM: Best advice you’ve ever received?
VA: It was from someone l used to love. It says: "In this world, you only need one person beside you to be able to conquer the world, just one person". Living different experiences in my short life has proved it's true. You can't please the entire world. From the moment you start trying to please them all, you will lose yourself. Having a friend, your mom or your husband is enough to make you invincible.
GM: Are you thinking of marriage for now?
VA: It’s true I do think of getting married and having kids like most women do but it’s not the right time yet.
GM: What do you do in your down time?
VA: When l'm not working I enjoy time with my family. We play video games. We eat good food and we dance all together. When this happens while I'm not in Cameroon, I usually follow online courses as being a TV journalist is one of my aspirations in life.
GM: What do you most enjoy about your job?
VA: According to me, The most enjoyable thing about modeling is being always on the way to something different. It could be new countries, new places, meeting new people. This is something I really like.
GM: To you is the modeling and fashion industry in Camer evolving?
VA: There's still a lot to do for us to be able to put Cameroon on the international fashion map. This is one of the things l'm willing to work on later. For now, we need more involvement from the ministry of culture and fashion schools of Cameroon. They should be working together. It's only hard work and great talent that will attract the world's attention on Cameroon, nothing else.
GM: Any feature plans you have that you want to share with your fans?
VA: I'm working on something but l would like to keep it secret at the moment because I like making surprises (lol) if this project works, it will be a good thing for those who keep on asking me how they can do to be models. Besides that, I'm still going to be working as a model for few months but I'm now trying to reorganize my life. I would like to be able to go back to the university like a normal student.
GM:Your advice to upcoming models?
VA: If I want to say to anyone interested in modelling it will just to strongly believe in themselves but also to be ready to work hard because modeling is a real job with its own difficulties.
And that's it for our model of the week, hope you enjoyed reading this beautiful piece, you can connect with Valerie on face book @Valarie-Ayena and on IG @ValeriaAyena
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