The lion has become the prey.
Late last week #paymodelske trended on Twitter and other social media platforms.
This was after model Sheila Kanini blew the whistle on the modelling industry talking of how models have to deal with crooked agents, magazines and brands that do not pay their models and the worst of all sexual exploitation.
One of the magazines that appeared over and over again under the hashtag was Couture Magazine owned by Lion’s Den investor Olive Gachara. It wasn’t only models that complained but also writers and stylists who have worked with the high-end magazine.
One of Olive’s ex-employees spoke about how it is working with Olive. Tony Ngige tweeted “I guess it's time I shared my opinion! I remember the struggles we (all of us working @coutureafrica) went through. From working hungry to hassling the 'admin' for transport fees. We'd be told to use our own fare to job appointments ati to be refunded later. Where?”
With another named Abigail Arunga adding “Delayed payments are one thing, taking 8 months to pay someone is a completely different issue. Can you explain why exactly you take so long to pay, regardless of the fact that you are using the work?”
Sheila Kari expressed her exasperation at the #AskOlive hashtag with a tweet that read “She not only doesn't pay models, even people working in her office. Writers, operations. This is the most stupid and insulting hashtag ever. #AskOlive doesn't deserve to run this conversation AT ALL!”
Taking to Twitter, Olive decided to defend herself by answering directly to accusations of not paying models and also trying to steer the conversation with the hashtag #AskOlive
In regards to not paying models Olive stated, “…A point of clarification… As per the @CoutureAfrica statement, all models have been paid, and those who haven’t should reach out. We have been trying to contact quite a number since January with little success. #PayModelsKE #AskOlive” Before adding “All delayed payments made to @coutureafrica talent have not been out of malice nor discrimination and the magazine is committed to refining our payment structures. #BeBetterDoBetter #PayModelsKE #AskOlive”
Olive also claimed that Couture was going through a ‘rough patch’ and that is why they couldn’t afford to pay the writers. “It was a rough patch for the business and like a child leaving the nest, you sometimes need to leave a business to struggle if it must, and let it find its footing.”
Others such as Vivianne @Rixviv wondered out loud how Olive could fund businesses on Lion’s Dena but could not pay models to which Olive replied with “COUTURE Africa magazine and Lion’s Den investments are different entities and stand by their own recognisance #PayModelsKE #AskOlive”