HUGETTE Marara has walked many runways in her life, but the most important was the turn she took yesterday at the launch of the Africa Fashion Week.
Marara, 23, was announced as this year's face of the Africa Fashion Week.
The Rwandan-born model with unusually dark features and long legs will feature in all Africa Fashion Week adverts and endorsements. She will also walk at the second Africa Fashion Week at the Sandton Convention Centre which starts on June 30 where established South African fashion world heavyweights, including Marianne Fassler, Errol Arendz, Stoned Cherrie and David Tlale, will show alongside global talents like Deola Sagoe and Bunmi Koko, a British-based label.
Marara, who is slowly becoming the runway queen in Africa, says this is the best thing that has happened in her career.
Once surrounded by poverty and war, she's now a rare success in an industry that is tough to crack, thanks to her distinctive looks and radiant smile.
The model, who came to South Africa in 2005, has since graced the covers of big name magazines such as Elle, CosmopolitanIndia and Cosmopolitan Kenya, among others.
She told Sowetan that she was very excited that she was "chosen to be the face of such a big brand".
"When I was told that I was chosen as the face of the Africa Fashion Week, I screamed like a mad woman. This whole thing only sunk when I finished doing the advert.
"When they showed me the end product I could not hold back my tears because of excitement."
Marara says she receives a lot of attention from people when she is walking on the streets.
"My features really work for me. I get a lot of jobs and people stop me to take pictures with me.
"People really appreciate the way I look. This has increased my level of self esteem," says the Ice Models model who is studying financial management at Damelin.