To mark the return of Calvin Klein underwear to South Africa after a 14-year absence, a special contest was held in August to find a male model that would represent the brand in South Africa. Durban based Lunga Shabalala won the campaign dubbed “X mark your spot” beating 9 other models at the finale. I spoke with the 1.80m/ 77kg new model about winning the contest and what he hopes to achieve with his new status.
Ameyaw Debrah: How does it feel representing CK underwear in SA?
It’s a great honour. I appreciate the fact that it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Ameyaw Debrah: What does winning the contest mean for you?
It means the beginning of great things. Not many people get this platform to showcase what they can do. It’s a huge advantage in terms of a modelling career.
Ameyaw Debrah: What is your origin?
I’m from Pietermaritzburg born and raised there. I’m currently in Durban but I have plans to move up to Jozi sometime in the near future.
Ameyaw Debrah: Which agency do you belong to?
I’m in the process of looking for an agency.
Ameyaw Debrah: When did you start modelling?
I’ve never done any major modelling, so I’d say that this is my first experience. Just reading magazines and seeing other models gave me the desire to try it.
Ameyaw Debrah: Were you inspired by any particular models?
Tyson Beckford. He’s been around for ages and is a well recognised face.
Ameyaw Debrah: What type of modelling would you be doing?
For now, I guess it is underwear modelling but I want to explore all forms. I’m just eager to try new things and keep challenging myself.
Ameyaw Debrah: Do you think African models have the opportunity to succeed internationally?
It’s possible but very difficult. The major brands are in Europe and the U.S but if you have a good agent it can be done. Winning this competition has been the highlight of my young modelling career and I’m hoping to go further.
Ameyaw Debrah: Are there opportunities in SA for you as a model?
Modelling is really growing in S.A. It’s evident in the amount of agencies around. There is a fashion week in every major city so the opportunities are there for the taking.
Ameyaw Debrah: What else do you do aside modelling?
I’m a student. I’m studying Town Planning and I’m also a part time coach.
Ameyaw Debrah: Do you have any other ambitions?
Most definitely acting is something I really want to do.
Ameyaw Debrah: What have been some of the challenges for you?
That would be, convincing my parents that I could do this.
Ameyaw Debrah: What’s the fiercest or wildest photo shoot or job you ever did?
Not many things beat modelling in underwear.
Ameyaw Debrah: Who is your favourite photographer?
Don’t have one. I’m not really clued up when it comes to that.
Ameyaw Debrah: What a routine day for you like?
I wake up early and pray. I shower and have breakfast and then off to classes. Afternoon I’m coaching and in the evening is my workout sessions.
I have short intense sessions. I start with 25min cardio and then I do some weights. I also play some soccer or rugby when I get the time.
Ameyaw Debrah: Any special diets or habits to stay in shape?
A protein shake in the morning and just being conscious of what I eat. But I never eat late.
Ameyaw Debrah: What’s your favourite African food?
Ameyaw Debrah: What do you hope to achieve with your career?
I hope to become a recognisable face in the entertainment industry.
Tarien Malherbe, locally and Calvin Klein, internationally.
Trendiest fashion tip
It seems like denim is back.
Suits or African wear
Suits- like the sharp lines and clean cut.
Boxers Shorts or briefs
Briefs- they are comfy and form fitting.
Cufflinks or buttons
Cufflinks, if you can go the extra mile you should.
Tie/ no tie
Depends on the occasion.
Leather watch or metallic watch
Shoes or sandals
Roll-on deodorant or spray
Roll-on deodorant and spray
Razor or shaving machine
Shaving razor- like looking clean shaven
Tattoo or piercing
Skinny jeans or baggy
Africab beads or chains
Favourite colour of cloths
Black, it’s a classic. But I try different colours to give my outfit more life.