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Durban teen to strut for SA in NY

Durban teen to strut for SA in NY

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Durban – All eyes were on teen model Juandre Nell as he stepped into the newsroom, turning hardcore journalists into gushing fans.

It’s the reaction he hopes to cause in New York at the International Performing Arts Championships next year when he represents South Africa through Talent Africa, joining young people from around the world.

The International Performing Arts Championship will be held in the US city in July.

The 17-year-old from Queensburgh said he started modelling by chance.

“I started about three years ago. I did not know much about the industry except for my love for fashion and clothes. I never knew how to get into the industry until one day, I got a DM on Instagram from a modelling agent, Andre du Toit, who is the owner of the Black Snow agency, telling me that he liked my look and he believed I could make a career,” said Nell.

He did a photo shoot, and Du Toit said he saw a “lot of potential in me”.

Nell won his first pageant at Mr Junior Teen South Africa, followed by Mr Junior Teen Universe and Mr Face of SA this year. He was the first teen to win the Karen Landman Pageant and became the Face of Durban North in September.

“The motto that I am the clothing I wear comes from the fact that I am passionate about fashion and I express myself through clothes. I am very neat, and I would say I’m a perfectionist. This obsession with fashion has led to my career as a model. I am fortunate to do what I love and pursue a career doing something I’m passionate about,” said Nell.

Nell said he learned some of his main strengths – being respectful and compassionate ‒ from his mother and stepdad, Yvonne and Alf Henery.

“I had a week to write and learn my speech, and I won best speech. In that speech, I outlined my core values ‒ that I’m determined to succeed in my dreams, passionate and loving. No matter who I become, I don’t want to forget where I come from, who brought me up, having respect for other people, and being humble,” said Nell.

He and his family started the Bellair feeding scheme during Covid, feeding about 200 people daily, and continue with this initiative at least once a month. It has since been taken over by Kathy Reddy. They also support an initiative that gives gifts to the elderly for Christmas.

“We get sponsors to help us. Not everyone at the homes for the elderly has children to look after them. I love this initiative because it gives me a chance to give back. For me, it is not about who you are but what you give back,” said Nell.

He added that being a model was often costly, and putting together outfits, paying for accommodation and flights to competitions was challenging. To raise funds for the New York trip, he is organising a golf day and a High Tea for early next year.

“I would like to say thank you to my parents and Andre du Toit for helping me to reach my goals. Without them, I wouldn’t be here,” said Nell.

You can follow him on Instagram at @model_re

The Independent on Saturday

Original Article

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