Brain and brawn wrapped in beauty

Who said beauty, brains and brawns cannot come in one package? TABBY ROSE WANJA, 26, rolls her sleeves everyday, gets her hands dirty then later transforms into a swan on the runway. She spoke to AUSTINE OKANDE

Q: What do you do for a living?

TW: I Am a contractor with the Interways Works Limited in Nairobi and a professional model.

Q: What does your work at Interways Works Limited entail?

TW: It entails general building work, civil work such as road constructions and civil engineering works that include sewers in category ‘A’ under the Ministry of Public Works.

Q: What do you cherish the most about your profession?

TW: I cherish the fact that it makes me unique. Being a young woman and handling construction work and doing it well, often astonishes my clients, which is a bit of a joy for me.

Q: What challenges do you encounter in the course of your work?

TW: The challenges are many but the major ones are when people I hire, especially casual labourers, assume they are dealing with a schoolgirl. I am forced to deal with them firmly, yet professionally at the same go. Some understand, but a few take it the wrong way. Respect is a two-way traffic, I require their services and they, pay expect from me.

Q: Tell us about one weird moment as you performed your duties?

A: One that always tickles me is when a client, in all honesty, inquired if I was sent by ‘Wanja’ my employer.

Q: What was your youthful fantasy?

TW: I wanted to be a news anchor.

Q: Where did you attend college and what were your majors?

TW: I studied at Griffins College in Nairobi, where I studied for my undergraduate degree in civil engineering.

Q: Any advice for young women out there who might have an interest in the construction industry but regard it as blue collar job?

TW: I urge them to identify a career path that will conform to their desires. They should also remember that pride comes before a fall; one’s job and life is what the doer makes of it. I worked as a tea girl at Equity Bank years back, but always had a desire to work in the construction industry which I nurtured to my current title.

Q: Where do you place yourself in a decade?

TW: In decade I see myself handling major construction works such as towers, petrol stations, hospitals, schools and rural roads across the country.

Q: For how long have you been modelling?

TW: I have been in modelling since 2005, when I did my first print advertisement dubbed ‘Putting a smile on your Face with the Ministry of Gender.’

Q: How do marry the two (modelling and construction)?

TW: Modelling is my side gig; it is my hobby. I model during my free time. Interestingly, modelling can be quite challenging unlike what many assume. Working hours, for instance, are longer. You can take a whole day at a photo shoot while, a construction job, for instance, might only require an hour-long site visit.