In a recent conversation with ELLE Magazine, Tanzanian beauty queen and model Flaviana Matata talks candidly about her personal style, being passed up by a major cosmetics brand for another Tanzanian model (Herieth Paul) and her own foundation- the Flaviana Matata Foundation. Throughout the conversation which works through different topics, one thing is a constant for Flaviana – a confidence and self- assuredness she credits strongly to her bold and proud Tanzanian father who raised her and her four siblings following her mother’s death,

The model, who was the first Tanzanian to compete at the Miss Universe Pageant and turned heads as she competed with a shaven head, had this to say about being in the beauty industry:

I always believe that everything happens for a reason. They say that if something is for you, it will happen. I don’t have a [fairy] godfather or godmother, one of those agents in your everyday life that’s going to push you, so for me it’s been about figuring out how the industry works

The model also talks about her personal style with a refreshing attitude to how she mixes style with substance rather than limiting herself with and to trends and high fashion:

Who I am will never change, but my personal style is as diverse as my experiences…Whether I’m rocking high-waisted trousers, classic sundresses, or runway gowns, I use my clothes and style to live out loud, to just be who I am or who I feel like. At the end of the day, you have to feel good about what you’re wearing. I just don’t want to be limited

However, Flaviana’s confidence is perhaps most obvious in her celebration of her friend and fellow model and Tanzanian Herieth Paul after the latter got picked for a major deal with an equally major cosmetics brand instead of Flaviana herself. Flaviana celebrated, despite how much she had wanted that deal and had made it to the final rounds. When asked about it by ELLE, Flaviana said;

I remember wanting that job so much. Sometimes you want it so badly, but instead of being jealous or bitter, it’s okay to celebrate others

Read the full feature on ELLE