WHEN former Miss Tourism Zimbabwe, Vanessa Sibanda, clinched a deal with South Africa's G3 Model at the beginning of the year, it was not only a solid personal achievement but a ray of hope for Zimbabwe's faltering modelling industry.
And the beauty queen has not disappointed as she has settled well in SA and is now scoring big.
It is only four months since she went down south but Sibanda already boasts a lucrative international profile following a number of successful shows and commercials.
She has been involved in major projects like the SA Fashion Week and La Francophone Fashion Week in addition to featuring in promotionals for renowned designers such as JJ Schoeman, Luxion Kulca and Bridal Couture.
She will even be raising her head higher and silencing any critics when she travels to Sri Lanka in the next two weeks.
"I will be jetting off for my first runway job outside the continent at the end of the month.
"I will be in Sri Lanka between July 29 and 31 for the Asian Fashion Week," Vanessa revealed from her SA base.
Sibanda says she also took part in some FIFA World Cup promotions ahead of the soccer showcase that ended in SA last week.
It is indeed a commendable achievement for the beauty queen.
All eyes were on her when she surpassed most of her predecessors' achievements by making it into the last 12 of the Miss World contest last year.
Sceptics were doubtful that she would be able to take her achievements further considering the deplorable state of the country's modelling industry.
But the contract with G3 Model has helped Vanessa taste the fruits of her prowess.
"I am having a great time at the agency because I am working with fellow Zimbabwean models like Rachel Stuart, Jonathan Denga and Michelle Wallace who have all done well internationally.
"They have been with G3 for more than seven years and their support and encouragement has been instrumental in moulding my career to international standards.
"South Africa has been extremely enjoyable and has also given me a platform to improve and discover myself deeper.
"I can say relocating here has been a huge stepping stone to help me realise part of my dreams."
Now, when she sits in her two-bedroom apartment in Johannesburg's Four Ways suburb or drives around in her Mini Cooper Spider, Vanessa has every reason to dream even bigger.
The Mercedes Benz that she won with the Miss Tourism Zimbabwe crown is parked back home and she sees it as a symbol of the beginning of great things.
Sibanda last visited Zimbabwe in May but would be jetting back home early next month.
"In the first days, I used to visit the country every two weeks but I am now very busy.
"I have not been home since May. Sadly, I could not be with my mentor Kiki Divaris when her husband died.
"The schedule has been very tight."
During her spare time, she usually hangs out with friends or goes for a massage or shopping.
Her dream is to set up a modelling academy back home.