Little Zinande has 23 modelling titles under her belt, and in the future, she hopes to emulate South Africa’s Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, who was crowned Miss Universe 2017 last Sunday. Nel-Peters's success has given the young lass of Empangeni confidence.
“I was so happy for her and I saw that it’s also possible for me when I’m older. For me, if you believe in yourself, it’s possible and it doesn’t matter where you come from,” said Zinande, who won Little Miss Universe in 2016.
The Grade 2 St Catherine’s pupil’s interest in modelling started at the tender age of five. Her mother, Ziningi, enrolled her at modelling school, Trelique Model, because “I loved standing in front of the mirror” and trying out different poses.
The bubbly Zinande said her passion for modelling has given her an opportunity to travel the world and learn new things. She has fond memories of her trip to Turkey where she competed against 80 other contestants.
“All of my modelling titles are special to me because I meet different people; learn new things and I travel a lot to enter different competitions. Little Miss Universe was definitely different and interesting. We stayed at a hotel for eight days in Istanbul,” she said.
Most of the contestants had to use signs to communicate with each other because some did not speak English, but they still had a lot of fun together, she added.
“We went on a boat cruise and did different activities like horse riding, swimming. We were judged on our casual walk, interviews with the judges; we had to do a two-minute talent showcase which I won as well and I also did a gymnastics dance,” she recalled.
Her schedule was busier than most tweenies as she has to juggle school, swimming, art, hockey, soccer and gymnastics - for which she has half provincial colours.
She has also started doing television work and has appeared on several adverts.
“Sometimes I hear my mom turn down some of the appearances because she says I need to rest. I enjoy spending time with my friends playing games, soccer, and we have movie and swimming dates,” she said.
Her mother designs a weekly timetable for her to ensure that she keeps up to date with her school work and goes to bed no later than 8.30pm. She also does assignments and studies when she travels. The young beauty queen with a big heart also does a lot of charity work, where she collects toys and food for needy children.
For her Christmas project, she approached companies and her school mates to sponsor with non-perishable food items, clothes and toys.
A bakery has already sponsored bread, cake and a jumping castle for orphanages through her.