Born on the 1st of April many years ago is a face many in the fashion industry will recognise – veteran model Dennis Hendricks, a definitive but unique male model. Hendricks was born in Windhoek but spent most of his childhood in exile and has lived in countries such as Angola, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Tanzania and Mali. He returned back home in 1993 with the hope of pursuing his dreams of being the best athlete this country could produce. Dennis was able to represent Namibia in Mozambique and Nigeria; twice competing in the 400m and 200m races and bringing home medals and trophies with his name on them. He was, and is still, a passionate athlete.
Growing up, Dennis was of slender build and quite tall. A few people advised him to do modelling but he felt there was no place for men in the modelling industry. In spite of that belief he was scouted in a shopping mall in Windhoek by a German model-scout, at the age of 14. She lived in South Africa at the time and took Hendricks and placed him in a boarding school in the heart of Cape Town where he recieved tremendous training for a year. Dennis returned home in 1998 and did his first big show, “The Pan-African Fashion Show”, which was held in the same year. After that he never looked back. He went on to do the Merdecez Benz Fashion Show in Germany, Angolan Fashion Week and Tanzania Fashion Week to mention but a few. Hendricks has been the face of many brands. He has been in television adverts, billboards, magazines and graced many runways around the world, making him the only successful Namibian male model from the 90’s.
Dennis is currently the male face and brand ambassador for SADC Fashion Week 2014, which is an initiative by Zimbabwean fashion practitioners to celebrate the SADC region’s natural resources and diversity. The fashion week is scheduled to take place between the 20th-27th September 2014 in Harare, the capital of Zimbabawe. Dennis Hendricks is expected to grace the event, proudly flying the Namibian flag. When I asked him what his motto in life is, the bubbly model said, “If you can dream it, you can live it” and went on to say “Seek God and all will follow”. He said that he enjoys being a model and a model activist, and enjoys his involvement in the fashion industry in Namibia. He added that he is proud to be one of the people at the steering wheel during the industry’s growth. He believes he is an inspiration to many and through knowing this, he feels fullfilled.
When I asked him, “Where to from here for Dennis Hendricks?” his face lit up as he said with a laugh, “Dennis Hendricks is an Empire that is meant to live for decades and decades!” He has created a brand for himself and sees himself in five years owning and producing his own Fashion TV show, which is a project he is currently working on collaboratively with a Zambian model. He is also looking at venturing into the hospitality industry, in areas such as lounge and lodge management. He holds a Diploma in Hospitality from the Polytechnic of Namibia. A man of dreams, ambitions and goals, Dennis Hendricks is destined for greater things. We all wish him luck, Namibia is behind you!
Bobby Kaanjosa is a fashion practitioner and student