Interview: Prosper Taruvinga

Prosper Taruvinga is a male model based in Melbourne Australia. Born and bred in Zimbabwe, Prosper now lives in Melbourne with wife Angela and daughter Kaliyah. Prosper is a motivational speaker and mentor to a few people seeking to grow in their own self to achieve success.

Here is an interview with him about his creative influences.


TRM: What were your favourite texts growing up?
PT: I grew up in Africa where books where hard to come by, But I managed to get my hands onto Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels as it was a school project to read and review the book. The book is split into four different voyages that Gulliver undertakes. The first is the most well-known, where Gulliver is captured by a race of diminutive peoples, but the trip that most interested me was his final adventure. Like his previous three episodes, Gulliver once again (you’d think he’d learn by now) finds himself stuck on the shore of some unknown land. This then becomes my story later in life as I once traveled and stayed in a different country for 2 years, having left home with only $100.

The creatures populating this particular island are the most unusual of the whole novel. The principle inhabitants are a race of very intelligent and extremely logical horses, called Houyhnhnms. The Houyhnhnms initially react suspiciously to Gulliver because he closely resembles the other species that lives on the island — a barbaric, speechless humanoid race called Yahoos, We see them on the internet everyday now. And I soon find out there are yahoos that always make other people look bad where ever they go. In time, Gulliver learns the language of the Houyhnhnms and finds himself enamored with the noble creatures, whose society lacks base desires such as greed, selfishness or violence.

He begins to dread ever facing humanity again, unable to bear its multitude of vices after observing the equine utopia. While he began his tenure on the island explaining and defending his fellow humans, he has now changed to the point where he cannot go back to what was once so familiar. Not only did I do my best in the review I could get good grades, I actually got into the story. I badly wanted to travel. This desire allowed me to see Germany, France, Chicago and now Australia. Something my fellow countrymen can only wish they could do. From that point, I knew there was something out there that I needed to explore, and I would say, this book helped me realize this.


What texts do you keep coming back to and why?

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie had a tremendous positive impact on my life when I was younger up until this day. I was filled with a lot of social anxiety and was extremely uncomfortable interacting with people outside of my immediate social circle – and was sometimes even uncomfortable interacting within that circle. This did not help as I began travelling even though I was forced to meet and get to know people in a short space of time. Over a period of about a year, I used the ideas in this book to become substantially more outgoing, even to the point of being able to speak in front of a room of people and effectively carry on positive conversations with potential colleagues. I can’t even possibly guess how useful the content of this book has been to me over the last five years. I now host networking events for models and help others grow their brands and personalities. This book has become an instruction manual and every time I either go on the runway or deal with smart people who work for me on my investments, I find it easy to relate and get them to do what I ask of them. This is powerful. I wish everyone could get their hands on this book and they will drastically improve each and every one of their relationships.


Are there any artists and texts that influence you creatively?

Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All by Tom Kelley and David Kelley. Too often, we assume that creativity and innovation are the gifts or jobs of the “creative types.”  But Tom and David Kelly, two of the leading experts in innovation, design, and creativity, show us that each and every  one of us is creative.  This book is entertaining and inspiring  and it draws draws on countless stories from their work at IDEO, the Stanford design school, and with many of the world’s top companies. They identify the principles and strategies that will allow us to tap into our creative potential in our work lives, and in our personal lives, and allow us to innovate in terms of how we approach and solve problems. This is what every creative person needs. A lot of times, creative people are often told they can’t do what they set out to do. It’s hard to keep going without the support of your peers.  This book helps each of us be more productive and successful in our lives and in our careers. Knowing that, you are not alone and better yet, you are not crazy.

Are there any quotes or other words of wisdom you find helpful for your practice?
A lot of people will disappoint you in life, don’t let any of them be you. 
“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!” —Audrey Hepburn
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. —Maya Angelou
“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” —Henry Ford
What is a text that every developing artist should read/watch/listen to?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
“When you really want something, the universe always conspires in your favour.”
This is one of the key repeated phrases found in The Alchemist.  I am afraid I may not do justice in explaining what this book has taught me and the profound lessons in it. The plot line is that of a simple quest – a Spanish shepherd boy, Santiago, keeps getting the same dream that there is treasure lying underneath the Egyptian pyramids. After meeting an old king who offers him some advice and some magic stones, Santiago embarks on his journey to cross the Mediterranean and the Sahara to find his treasure and accomplish his Personal Legend (a concept equivalent to our purpose in life). Amidst swindlers, tribe wars and endless sand, Santiago finds his one true love, learns alchemy and the language of his heart, and of course, fights to reach his treasure. For anyone who reads not only to escape reality but also to understand reality, The Alchemist can offer the best of both worlds. you have to go on a journey to discover yourself. You cant be of service to others if you do not know yourself. Very profound lessons in this one, and like How to win friends… I always keep a copy of this one.


You can follow Prosper on Instagram for daily doses of motivation and inspiration.

The feature image for this post is by Santi Villamarín, via Flickr Creative Commons.

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