South Africa-based Jacel Badelin Ouaboutadia is an international model and amateur footballer, originally from Congo Brazzaville. With just around 5 years of modelling under his belt, Jacel has become a regular face in campaigns and runways not only within South Africa but across Africa. Although he started modelling for fun during a charity fashion show in his school, Jacel’s contact with agencies such as D&A Model management changed his fate forever, making him one of the most sought after professional male models in the business.
I caught up with Jacel on my recent visit to Cape Town, where he shared his journey thus far and his future ambitions.
“I took part in a charity fashion show just for fun. When the show was done I was approached by a professional scout who gave me his card and told me to look for a professional agency to join. I did not have any ambition of being a professional model then. I however took the opportunity with both hands and found an agency and that’s where everything started for me”
Jacel had his lucky break with his previous agency before D&A when he featured in a Maltina drink commercial, which was mainly for Nigeria and some parts of West Africa. Since then, he has featured in several other commercials from Coca Cola to Nivea and Glo, for South Africa, West and Central Africa. In Ghana he has featured in commercials for Royco, Vodafone among others, and can currently be seen on billboards for Regus/Landmark Offices in Accra.
He often looks back on his journey with fulfilment especially for his achievement in such a competitive industry for which he started with very limited experience.
“The feeling I had when I saw my first TV commercial was one of excitement, it made me feel very proud. The modelling industry is very difficult to be in, especially for someone like me who didn’t have so much experience. My friends used to tease me saying I am a star now, and it feels like a good achievement.”
Jacel attributes his great physic to the fact that he was an athlete before coming into modelling. It is therefore not surprising that he has featured in several local sports campaign in South Africa.
“I was an athlete before becoming a model so I had the physic and I have always been in a good shape. I work out three to four times a week and also have football training. It is also important to eat healthy and I check my diet.”
Jacel spends most of his time playing football, so branching from modelling he would want to be a professional footballer. He is currently a free-agent, training and playing with a local team in Cape Town but he is waiting for the January transfer window to go professional. So which team are wel likely to see him play for?
“Europe is definitely the place to be. I am a big Arsenal fan but I am a Chelsea fan too. It is one of my greatest desires to play in the English premiere league. I can’t name a team but I want to play in the EPL”
Do watch the full fun interview on YouTube