Search for Africa's next top model

AFTER 21 seasons since its debut, an African version of the hit modelling reality show conceived by super model Tyra Banks America's Next Top Model, is finally being launched and is due to be screened on Mzansi Magic later this year.

The local version, to be known as Africa's Next Top Model, is due to be hosted by Nigerian super model Oluchi Orlandi, whose illustrious modelling career spans almost 15 years since she won M-Net's Face of Africa competition back in 1998.

Orlandi, a tall African beauty, has walked ramps in the world's fashion capitals including London, Milan, New York and Paris for globally renowned luxury brands including Christian Dior, Chanel and Giorgio Armani.

Announcing the Africa's Next Top Model launch in Johannesburg this week, Orlandi said she felt that the time had come to "pass the torch" to a new generation of African models, and that she would be doing her part through the talent search.

"I can't do it forever," Orlandi said. "I may look 22 but I'm not. It's time for me to give back, and to hand over to the next generation."

Africa's Next Top Model is due to be shot in Cape Town between August and September, and is expected to feature 12 young women aged between 18 and 27, who would live together in one house.

A panel of judges would eliminate one hopeful at a time, based on their performances in various modelling challenges. While the show will be based in Cape Town, entries are open to anyone with an African passport.

While the traditional idea of a model is one of rake-thin and tall beauties, the competition is also open to plus-size models, according to Orlandi.

"I think it is important that the typical African woman is represented."

Scouting for the girls to make up the 12 contestants began in Maputo, Mozambique, last Saturday and also took place in Johannesburg yesterday.

The winner will walk away with a modelling contract worth R10-million, and about R500000 in cash prizes. -