Flaviana Matata, mrembo wetu wa Kitanzania ambaye hivi majuzi tu amefikisha umri wa miaka 20, ndiye kwa mapana na marefu, katika siku za hivi karibuni, ametokea kuwa balozi mzuri sana wa Tanzania. Ushiriki wake katika kuwania taji la Miss Universe hivi karibuni huko nchini Mexico, sio tu umeiweka ramani ya Tanzania katika sehemu nzuri katika masuala ya urembo, lakini pia umeacha gumzo dunia nzima. Hii inatokana na ukweli kwamba ‘utofauti” aliokwenda nao huko Mexico bado ni gumzo mpaka hivi sasa midomoni mwa watu hususani kuhusu sanaa ya urembo. Urembo ni nini? Ni nywele, ni rangi ya chocolate ya mwili au nini hasa?
Hivi karibuni mrembo Flaviana alifanya mahojiano maalumu na BongoCelebrity ambapo pamoja na mengi mengineyo, anaongelea mipango yake, kwanini yeye ni mrembo asiye na “nywele” nk. Yafuatayo ni mahojiano na Flaviana Matata.
BC: Do you get nervous going on stage, in the of event like the recently ended Miss Universe pageant, knowing it is broadcasted live and you are representing the whole country?
FM: I am not nervous at all as I am now used to walk in front of many people, I started in Tanzania during the Miss Universe Tanzania preliminaries.
BC: What is the hardest thing about being Flaviana (yourself) in Miss Universe?
FM: It’s all about my bald head. People do not understand when I tell them I was like this before. They think I shaved my head for the Miss Universe competition
BC: When you wake up in the morning, what do you see looking at yourself in the mirror?
FM: I see a uniqueness, beautiful face and it is where I get the courage to look at myself
BC: Majority of women probably want to know something about your style which is popularly different. Right now wigs and weaves are important part of hair fashion especially when you see Tyra Banks as your role model, whether in a fashion way or anything else. Your baldhead fashion is what you’re rocking with right now and quite proud of it, what message are you sending to those who believe beauty is all about hair?
FM: I never considered myself as a model before though people did due to my height, skin color and face. Friends encouraged me to be a model, the first thing I thought was my hair as I had long hair and I spent much time making my hair with weaves and extensions. One day I got very tired and I just decided to shave my head. People should know beauty is not hair it comes from inside and do not let anything from outside define your beauty
BC: Do you think there’s a difference between westerners’ standards of beauty and the ones in Africa?
FM: The difference is cultural, and it is true for Asian vs European, just as it is for African vs European. In Africa, women do not have naturally long flowing hair, yet we have beautiful plaits and afros. But because we want to fit the western standard of beauty, my sisters waste time putting on wigs and adding extensions. Also the shape of the nose and the lips are a matter of taste. Long aquiline noses are beautiful in European culture, while round noses are attractive for Africans.
BC: Within the black population, there has been a conflict, especially among women, between light skin and dark skin ideas of beauty. Does this transfer into the modeling world? Do you feel it getting better right now to represent our own skin and be proud of being a “chocolate sister”? What would you want to tell our new young girls who still believe in using self made lightening cosmetics a.k.a mkorogo in order to be considered beautiful?
FM: We should accept ourselves and be proud of our skin color. I don’t see any need of using ‘mikorogo’ to have light skin which is not ours naturally. Believe me, Westerners, really love our skin color and they wish to have it. Girls should be proud of our ‘African natural beauty’ and forget ‘mikorogo’
BC: The fashion industry has been criticized for sending a bad message to young girls–especially with the whole “heroin-chic” thing–do you think Tanzania will ever have that type of problem? Especially right now as we compete with the universe and see what is beauty through eyes of Universe?
FM: Drug and alcohol abuse exist in Tanzania but not at the same level as in the US and Europe. One of the reasons for this is that models do make that kind of money to spend. Those who get caught up in drug and substance abuse are well-off party girls and not professional models.
BC: Another contributing factor to all the insecurities about body-type seems to be the huge rise in plastic surgery. Most models have had at least some plastic enhancement. Do you think that adds to the problem as well? I mean, you have these girls looking at what they think to be perfect bodies which were actually sculpted by knives.
FM: Plastic surgery or enhancement is a big debate in the modeling and beauty queen industry. I think that girls have to have a healthy message about their bodies. In Africa, we still celebrate the natural woman and look down on women with enhancements. But I am sure that within a few years, young girls might start considering but as there are no services available in Tanzania, this is very remote.
BC: Most models in US and Europe represent brand name clothing companies, shoes lines, bags etc. Are you interested in using any of our designers from Tanzania and if yes would you explain why? Who are your current designers?
FM: To be honest fashion industry in Tanzania is still young .For example Ailinda Sawe is a famous designer and she has beautiful clothes but most of them I feel are for elder people and I wouldn’t wear them may be just for fashion shows. We still have to work hard in order to have also ready- to-wear clothes for young people not only for special occasions. Like this models will be able to represent different brand names/companies.
DC: In Tanzania so many models are either in school, or stop school for a while to pursue modeling and fashion careers, I know for example you are interested in becoming an electrical engineer in the future, Are you doing modeling as a career goal or just a hobby? And if you finally decide to stick with modeling, do you think modeling and engineering will interconnect.
FM: I have worked with different Tanzanian models but have never met anyone who has stopped school to pursue modeling career. They just do it as part time as you know that we are not paid well so we do have other careers. I am planning to do modeling as a career though I can’t just depend on it for long or do it up for 50 years. So I should have my own profession as other people do.
BC: Do you think there is any difference between the models who were trained in US and Europe and those who were trained in Africa? Now that you have had an opportunity to compete among them, what do you think Tanzania should do to have more opportunities for people like you who want to be Miss Universe?
FM: Modeling is not only about catwalk but also talent. We don’t have enough resources though we have huge talent. We know that the modeling industry in Tanzania is still young so we should keep on training the models and give them support. Personally I didn’t see any difference between myself and other contestants as I was doing everything they were doing like catwalk, poses etc.
BC: Do you have specific goals or dream set up for yourself? Is there anything that people do not know about you and you would like to tell them now?
FM: Apart from my ambition to be a top model I also want to be an engineer after I finish my modeling career. Also I want to be a role model in my society reflecting the bold and independent woman that I am to younger girls.
BC: Thank you very much Flaviana for this interview. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors.
FM: Thank you for the opportunity.