Working against all odds has never been easy but when you make a decision to live with positivity and consistency, you can’t go wrong.
This is what Anthony Walters, 21, from Strandfontein lives by every day.
His parents got divorced when he was young. He moved around from Tafelsig, Portland to Strandfontein. “Growing up wasn’t easy for me yet it made me stronger than I ever was before. I decided that where I come from should not determine where I’ll end up one day.”
After matriculating in 2014, Anthony decided to take a gap year. He joined a government internship for young people.
In 2016, he started studying analytical chemistry at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). Anthony, who is also a part-time model, is currently busy with his internship and practical at Chevron Caltex in Milnerton.
“I am working and studying so that I can finish my studies by the end of this year. I am trying to survive so that I can make something of my life and inspire those who cannot,” said Anthony.
His love for modelling started in 2012 when he was in Grade 10. His educators and friends spurred him on. Locally, he jumped around from one modelling gig to another to gain experience and meet new people. He then joined Figures Finesse International Modelling Academy in 2017 and loved every opportunity that met him.
“I did not have money to register for the modelling academy but I did it anyway because this was something I really wanted to pursue, it makes me happy,” said Anthony.
At the end of 2017, Anthony went to Johannesburg to compete for the Model of the Year competition. “I won the competition by making history with the highest score in 36 years of Figures’ history of modelling in the National Model of the Year category.”
After his win, he was sponsored a paid cruise trip to New York to compete in the International Modelling Talent Association competition. This is where Ashton Kutcher and Katie Holmes, to name a few, got scouted. He landed himself in the top 6 of the competition with two call-backs from New York’s Fenton Modelling agency and Japan’s World Top Models.
While his parents did not have money to fund his studies or his modelling, they never stopped supporting him in his journey for success.
He has been working odd jobs, washing cars and working in movies for extra money to pay his fees.
His mentor and inspiration, fellow Strandfontein resident, John Fredericks, the author of Skollie, his autobipgraphy and the man behind the film, Noem my Skollie, based on his book, said: “I met Antony with his grandma. He was so eager to see me and write for me. I knew he had something special. He ran with his vision and I continued to inspired him to follow his dreams and do the best that he can.
“I told him to never give up, he will get to where he needs to be with time.”
Anthony’s grandmother, Joan Arendse from Portland, said: “I have known him to be educated and dedicated. Anthony was involved in the film Mitchell’s Plain – the movie and the modelling academy. He won all these awards and I was so proud of him. He is a strong man with good morals. He has great faith despite his challenges as a child and is a great role model for the young people out there.”
Anthony’s mother, Valencia Citto from Highlands Village, said he was an inquisitive child and loved school.
“When he was little, he would tell his father to drive faster so that the (speed) camera would go off so that he could be in the picture. He will always keep his head up high and succeed in his dreams and aspirations.
“I believe in being patient and consistent in all you do, I cannot preach that enough,” said Anthony.
“Once you put your mind to a goal you set out for yourself, you will achieve so much more.”