The modeling industry can be a tough place to try and make a living from. Many designers, agents, clients, and photographers have no problem pointing out your flaws or imperfections, and if they don’t like what they see, they move on to the next model.

Unfortunately, the modeling industry is very narrow and furthermore, rejection is inevitable. But that is only a problem for those who don’t know how to deal with it. Yolanda Dikobe, a 22-year-old model from Hammanskraal in Pretoria knows how to bounce back from rejection.

She started modeling two years ago but says she would have liked to start modeling sooner. However, she was rejected many times before by agencies. “Honestly, I didn’t believe it when Fabulous.Com Models invited me for an interview. So, when they signed me, I was very excited,” says Yolanda.

Since being signed, she has been featured in magazine editorials and has travelled to Paris through the agency. “It was my first time on a flight and also my first time out of the country. I’ll never forget that moment. Travelling to a country where most people don’t speak English was quite challenging. As a result, I’m currently learning French online,” she says.

“Modeling was my dream. As a teenager, I was inspired by Kimora Lee Simmons and I wanted to be like her, a model and a businesswoman. I have many models that I look up to, like Naomi Campbell, Joan Smalls, and our very own Candice Swanepoel. All of them have achieved many things that I also wish to achieve,” says Yolanda.

Rejection is tough. There’s no way around it, and most of us will deal with it at several points in our lives. What separates the pros from the amateurs, however, is how you deal with being rejected and told “no.” If you are a model, and you are told you weren’t chosen for a specific job, are you going to give up and let that break you, or are you going to work on becoming a better model so the next time has the outcome you desire?

Models are constantly at risk of being told no, especially when they are just beginning their career. Yolanda says she hasn’t been criticised for her looks, but she has been told that she doesn’t have the look for particular jobs. But she never takes it as a criticism because she believes that different features work for different jobs.

However, she says; “Previously, I used to hate my features, thinking that they are not strong enough, but I’ve realised that they are perfect for me as they allow me to do high fashion and commercial modeling,” she says.

Remember, even Kate Moss who is now an iconic supermodel was often told no because she was “too short” to model. And, supermodel Gisele Bundchen was turned down by over 40 agencies before she was signed and is now one of the highest paid models of all time.

“I’m convinced that I can achieve anything! I just have to put in the work. One of my fellow models always says something very profound to me. She says, “trust your process”, and this is working. Now I know that when the time is right, I’ll get what’s mine.

Over time, Yolanda has learned that “no” will turn into “yes” and understands how to turn rejection into lessons that will better her as a model.