After scooping several titles, Wycliffe Mageto was among the top 10 finalists in the coveted Mr World Kenya.
The model and entrepreneur talks about his journey in pageantry.
You have been modelling for four years now. How did you get into pageantry?
I always say it was almost accidental. I had a big crush on a classmate who liked models and fashionable guys.
It was around the time Mr and Miss University of Nairobi was about to happen. My friends persuaded me to contest for the show as a golden chance to impress her if I won the title.
I scooped second runners-up for Mr University of Nairobi 2016. That’s where it all started.
Oh, the things we do for love. That motivation worked in your favour though, careerwise. Did you win the girl’s heart?
No. I didn’t and I was actually laughing about it the other day. But I met better ones after that.
What you are simply saying is that modelling wasn’t initially an aspiration of yours.
Correct. It’s not something I aimed for but during the first training I went through, I interacted with more experienced models and fellow contestants and it grew on me.
In fact, the guy who dressed me for the first show, former Mr World Kenya Bungoma County, continued to mentor me and totally changed my closet from a basic campus guy to a dapper fashion icon.
A few months later, my hunger to advance in modeling became insatiable when I began taking on the runway at bigger shows at the county and national level.
It sounds like it’s been a game-changer for you. Hasn’t it?
Indeed. Prior to that, I had been very shy with low self-esteem. Thanks to modelling, I have become bold and very confident in every aspect of life.
It has been my source of income for the last few years. Through modelling I also got a passion to do community service especially in environment conservation and mentorship for upcoming models who look up to me as a role model. I also extended this programme to primary school pupils.
Has it been paying your bills or must you supplement it with other sources of revenue?
I have to do other jobs for sustenance. I’m very good at networking and maintaining existing work relationships.
Thus with time, I have been able to get some permanent clients who I can rely on as well as referrals for new gigs.
My motto is to show up and always be the hardest worker in the room, and opportunities do come.
I also have a startup company called Wyckmer Agencies Limited that supplies stationery, computers and accessories and merchandise for corporates.
Are you signed to a modelling agency or are you independent?
I’m not signed to any agency. I’m a freelancer. Getting gigs as a freelance model is tough but it’s worth it.
You become more knowledgeable on how to close a deal and it makes you hungrier in chasing opportunities and being versatile without being bound to any contract with agencies.
You have to do a lot of networking and stay alert for opportunities. I also work closely with casting agents who introduce me to clients and I pay them their due commission. I would like to work with more designers with premium brands.
Given your experience, what remains a nagging impediment to success for local models?
Sometimes, we get poor remuneration compared to the services we provide. We put in so much behind the scenes in terms of grooming, dressing, keeping fit and delivery of services but some clients want to get cheap models.
There are currently very minimal jobs in modelling, so, if you are selective in terms of pay, you miss a lot of jobs since there is always someone willing to take the meagre pay. But clients who go for quality will always value your services.
While exploring this avenue, how do you keep your brand reputation intact?
I don’t restrict myself to certain roles. I always want to have fun and create memories. But at the end of the day there are boundaries I wouldn’t break, such as extreme nudity.
I want to make something people can enjoy and that my family would be proud of.
It’s obvious that you take fitness seriously. What’s your gym routine?
Being a model, you have to be competent in as far as fitness is concerned all year.
Thus I have to work out at least four times a week in the gym and twice morning runs when I don’t go to the gym just to ensure my body fat doesn’t go up.
Are you always dressed up when stepping out?
Most of the time. Cliff Mageto is now a brand and public figure. I have to dress up to maintain my public image.
No one would want to associate with you as a model if you can’t match up to class and standards. As a model, you are already a walking billboard.
What is your go-to look?
I love suits. Most of the time I do bespoke suits, which is my signature look. If not, I can break the suit and do smart casual but there is always an element of suit in my look.
Which local designers are your best pick and in your wardrobe?
I wear Ashock Sunny, Genteel and Le Smith Wear for suits. They are very good in terms of quality, delivery, and reliability.
For the African look, I go for African Fabrics and Designs Kenya; I would say they are the best in Kenya.