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Oakley Quentin: Don’t judge male models too harshly

At just the age of 23, model Oakley Quentin is already creating waves in the modelling industry. His physical appearance, tall with unique features might be the reason why, but the journey has not been all that rosy for him.

He shares his experience being a man in a predominantly “feminine career”.

Tell us about your journey.

Before I started modelling I did a lot of kickboxing. I had dreams of competing in the 2024 Olympics but my eyesight is not that good so I could not progress. I am now studying for a degree in software development at KCA University and I am in my third year.

When did you start modelling?

My interest in modelling started last year and at first, it was a way for me to make extra money but after my first show, I realised that I actually liked it. I was first recommended by a friend to a fashion show and I auditioned and got the job. After that, I joined a modelling agency, which has been keeping me busy with work. Software engineering is something I believe I have always been good at, and I really like it.

You took part in the Mr and Mrs KCA University tell us about that.

Modelling is all about confidence and after gaining that confidence I decided to compete in the Mr KCA University. It was a tough competition but I emerged as the first runners-up. It was a humbling experience and I took it as a win because it was my first time competing.

Do male models get any harsh criticism?

There is lots of criticism because modelling is perceived as feminine. So yes, I had instances where people consider me to be less of a man, especially with my long hair. Or they would assume I am stupid and could not manage other professions that are ‘manly’. But it does not really matter what people think of me as long as I know who I am.

What’s with the long hair…

Honestly, I only wanted to see how long it can get so I’m still on that journey. I like it because it makes me stand out in a room and modelling gives someone the opportunity to express themselves artistically. As a man, you are brought up to know that you must always shave your hair.

In your own opinion, how is the industry?

There is a lot of talent but at the same time, there is also a lot of exploitation of models. Agencies, whether it’s for commercials, pageantry or fashion show runways, also need to have better structures and good working conditions for models. Some agencies in Kenya take up to 50 per cent of the money earned by a model.

What next for you?

I believe the future is bright. I want to be on a thousand runways, do more pageantry and basically take any opportunity that comes my way for modelling.