There is something about Anoutchka Rugambarara (18). From the moment she strutted her first steps on the Ethno Tendance catwalk till the last words we shared for this interview.
With style and grace she posed at the end of the catwalk welcoming the flashing lights with a warm smile and a dimple. People lit up when she passed their seats. Maybe because she reminded them a little of Lupita Nyong’o (she gets that a lot), or maybe because they realized she could be the next best thing that will happen to Belgium’s fashion scene.
In between a fashion show and an African hair conference, Anoutchka was so kind to give us three little minutes of her time to answer some questions. Confident yet a little shy, the Burundian model blushed away my compliments on her natural beauty. She seemed a little overwhelmed by my request to interview her, so I couldn’t help but wonder how she experienced the third edition of the Ethno Tendance fashion weekend…
“Ethno Tendance was magnificent. It’s my first time here. I’ve actually only been in Belgium for a month since I left my home in Burundi. Although up until now I’ve only been to Belgium on vacation visiting my aunt, I’ve considered the Ethno crew as a second family. I regard the other models as my brothers and sisters. We’ve bonded over the past few days and became really close. Everybody has been so kind and helpful. If I would ever have a problem, they would be there to help me. I was actually too late for the casting, but they’ve helped me to get on track. So it’s with their help that I am here today and I couldn’t be more grateful.”
It’s hard to believe that this was your first fashion show. Have you ever done catwalks for other events?
“I’ve done one in Burundi so this is my second time. But I would definitely love to do more in the near future. I want to get into the modeling industry and start a career like Leila Ndabirabe. She’s also Burundian and happens to be my favorite model.”
You’ve been wearing some beautiful creations on the previous catwalks during this fashion weekend. Which designer’s clothes did you prefer to wear?
“There were many designers with beautiful clothing collections, but I really loved wearing the white gown of the Guadeloupean designer Eliette Lesuperbe. I fancy all her dresses. The designs and the colors of her collection were lavish and radiant. I also adored the Rwandese designer of Dady De Maximo. It was pretty cool to wear one of his bold designs on the catwalk. Then again, there are so many designers that I’ve discovered during the Ethno Tendance fashion weekend and they all share a great taste in fashion. I’ve seen plenty of great pieces of various designers from all over the world.”
We were suddenly interrupted by an Ethno crewman who alerted Anoutchka that the conference would begin in a few minutes. I thanked her for the interview and wished her all the best for her future model career. During the next catwalk I caught Anoutchka and two of her new-found sisters busting moves from the sideline to the accompanying Afro beats. Perhaps not so shy after all, but still very modest and a little mysterious.