An Interview with Cameroonian Model Jencey Foje on Her Rise to Success in Africa's Fashion Industry
Jencey Foje: African Model of Elegance, Style, and Unparalleled Success
By Buhle Mbonambi
The supermodel era was renowned for its iconic models - not only were they showcasing the latest fashion, but their signature walks, infectious smiles and alluring turns ensured that their personality was always in the spotlight. It guaranteed that both they, and the clothes they wore, would be unforgettable.
Every time Cameroonian model, Jencey Foje, strutted down the runway at Cape Town Fashion Week, there was a feeling of excitement in the air. Taking after the 90s supermodels before her, she enjoyed the focus that was on her, striking out editorial-worthy poses that can easily force a financially savvy designer to forego campaigns and settle for her images from the fashion show instead.
Jencey Foje on the Cape Town Fashion Week runway for Kat van Duinen, Malondie and Palse!
It is not just her statuesque frame or striking features that make her stand out – although those certainly help. It is her presence, her confidence, and the way she carries herself that makes her a true supermodel. Jencey is the complete package.
Her recent performance at Cape Town Fashion Week has really catapulted her into the spotlight. Her supermodel worthy strut and smile captivated audiences and had everyone talking about her.
Following her star-making performance on the runway, HON by AFI spoke to Jencey about her modelling career, her goals, and her honest take on the modelling scene in Africa.
What was it like walking out at every show you were on during Cape Town Fashion Week and seeing people being excited to see you walking down the ramp?
It was amazing and humbling. I had been absent from the runway for such a long time, so getting such a warm reception from the audience was refreshing.
Did designers give you a specific brief on what to do or was it all your idea to bring your personality onto the runway?
Every designer’s collection told a story; during fittings, I made it a point to understand what their story was and tried to interpret or incorporate it into my catwalk. This made the presentation more of a performance than just a walk. At the end of the day, it is up to the model to bring the designer's vision to life. Flawless catwalk techniques will allow their creations to shine, leaving an imprint in the minds of spectators that could result in strong garment sales. On the contrary, if a model lacks poise and grace, not only does it take away from their work but also makes it hard for people to remember what was presented.
What has been your experience working in South Africa as a model, compared to back home in Cameroon?
It has been incredible. Whilst the sector is still establishing itself in Cameroon, I had the opportunity to witness and become involved with a very functional and organized industry here in South Africa. My career has taken me between these two countries; previously, I spent seven months away in London before returning to Cameroon and then coming back to South Africa. Now, I am signed with Boss Models based in Johannesburg and Cape Town, pushing myself even further as I aspire to one day cast models for AFI from my home country. Hopefully AFI will eventually host a fashion week in Cameroon, something I would be immensely proud of.
Jencey Foje on the Cape Town Fashion Week runway for Taibo Bacar, Alia Bare and Scalo.
Do you think African models still need to go to the US and Europe to become stars or should they first conquer the African continent before going over?
I believe that home is the most straightforward place to begin a modelling journey. Even if the adage “a prophet is never accepted in their hometown” proves true in some cases, building a solid foundation in Africa as a fashion model gives you something genuine to offer once you make it to Europe or the US. That way, your experiences abroad can add another dimension of success when returned home.
Has your perception of the modelling industry changed over time?
I would say my perception of the modelling industry has evolved. I’ve come to understand that modelling is not just about walking down the runway or posing, but an art form that gives the model so much power in the realisation of a designer’s vision.
Jencey Foje during the AFI Online Store Shop The Runway campaign shoot. Here she wears Imprint_ZA, Kat Van Duinen, Taibo Bacar and Scalo. Click here to shop our Cape Town Fashion Week collection.
What changes would you like to see in the fashion industry, especially with modelling?
Models occupy a central place in the modelling industry, which is why it is so important that they conduct themselves as valuable brands. As we strive to improve our rates, we must ensure that every step taken leaves an impression; one that will linger long after we’ve gone.
What excites you about the fashion industry in Africa?
It is exciting to see the emergence of more African models and designers who believe in themselves and are committed to growing in their craft. With platforms like AFI, every season there’s a new fashion talent discovery with an authentic African story to share with the world. It is a privilege to live in these times.
To read the full interview as published in the HON by AFI magazine, click here to read: https://africanfashioninternational.com/pages/hon-by-afi