Stecya Yvonne Minkoue-Mi-Ndong is a professional model whose been on the African fashion scene since 2015. A former student who completed her bachelor’s degree in Environmental studies, she lives in Gabon, where she first got her start modeling. Since the start of her career, she has had the opportunity to work with Gabonese designers ChouChou Lazare, Yezdad Designer, Olga O, and Marvely’s Art. She also a regular participant in local fashion shows, like the much-hyped 2016 Fashion Week, 20 ans de Top Mannequin, and the Gabonese fashion awards. She shares her experience of participating on different stages, “I hit international withinAfrica in the francophone side, by being involved in the fashion week of Douala in Cameroon, the Piwele Yaoundé Fashion Show, Brazza International Fashion 2018in Congo and the FESMNA in Benin this year 2018”.
She also participated in a couple of national competitions, including the “Festival des People Forest”where she won an award for her work. She considers herself lucky to have been able to work with so many different international designers, as countless models in Africa don’t get the chance to cross borders to be able to participate in shows. Her long-term goal is to establish an agency in theUnited States, gain notoriety in the world and develop into a professional model with a career like Constance Jablonski or Josephine Le Tutour.
When talking about the African fashion world, Minkoue describes how she sees its current state. “There is a lot of potential, [even] just by seeing what is on social media and numerous fashion shows hosted in the continent. I believe in the future Africa could be a reference for the fashion industry. With the right guidance Africa could be on the same level as modeling agencies in the States,Europe, Asia etc.” She envisions an Africa that will have a large influence on the global scene, a vision she says can be made possible with the support of investors and a lot of hard work. In addition, Minkoue thinks that government ministers involved in promoting local culture in every country should encourage the modeling field as a viable career option for their young citizens.
Government involvement that encourages the youth to embrace the profession will create a huge difference the fashion industry. In her native country of Gabon there are a few local agencies who are taking on this work. However, because modeling is not seen to be at the forefront of importance in the society, there are a lot of challenges to be overcome. Minkoue is convinced one solution to this problem is to have good managers that negotiate favorable contracts geared to expanding model careers to the international stage. There is lots of brewing potential and talented models in Gabon that she thinks do not get the attention they deserve. Still, she has hope that one day Gabonese models will become known all over the world.
By : Yussuf Yanni