Oh, to be new Face of Africa

FOR a long time people of African origin were made to feel inferior about a lot of things, including their faces and figures.

That is why in the 60s and 70s our parents used skin lightening creams that contained the damaging ingredient hydroquinine.

Then came the Twiggy era. Suddenly African model's ATM (African trademark) full figures, which had turned their men into instant poets, were taboo. Our beauty queens and models had to starve themselves to match the iron board flat attributes of their European counterparts.

So competitions like Malaika and Face of Africa restore our dignity and sense of who we are.

For riveting viewing of exotic African looks watch the Face of Africa on M-Net on Saturdays at 5pm .

It's going to be a 15 part series. Intense and revealing, the first three episodes have already given audiences across the continent a closer, fresher and more intimate look at the search for Africa's latest ramp sensation.

From learning the basic ramp skills, to tackling the challenges of cover-girl glamour, the series delves into it all. From the tears to the triumphs, from bad hair days to the star turns, from the tough eliminations to the stand-out successes, it's all showcased in full colour as some of the continent's rising stars head into a whole new world of high fashion and high pressure modeling.

Watch work in progress as semi-finalists are prepped and undertake the tasks at hand . floating over a serene sea on a dhow, dressed in white from head to toe, where focus and balance is the difference between being on the water and in it.

Plucking a crayfish repeatedly until the light is just right for the shot, lying completely still on the shoreline dressed in a fashionable metallic gold swimsuit, waiting for the perfect wave and swimming under water in a lime green bikini as take after take is shot for a segment that will last just a few moments.

Encouraged, supported and guided by fashion expert and ramp professional Juanita Daniel, the semifinalists discover their talents and ability to transform into visions.

Meanwhile, the stage is set for more drama with a tense elimination session. And the big question in episode four is, who will be the next semifinalist to depart the series?

In Lagos, Nigeria, in February next year the M-Net Face of Africa 2009 will walk away with a modeling contract from O Model Africa, more than R375372 from M-Net, skin care products for 12 months from Iman Cosmetics and a trip to New York, courtesy of Arise Magazine, to take part in New York Fashion Week.

It's a calling card that any young model would want - a glamourous entry to the haute couture club.