The phrase ‘role model’ is tautological because ‘role’ is redundant. A ‘role model’ is just a ‘model’, so why add the word ‘role’ when it means the same thing without it?
The English word ‘model’ in the Oxford English Dictionary has several meanings, one among which refers to a person or thing ‘regarded as an excellent example of a specified quality’ (source).
Eg. Our late founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew was a model for temperance and frugality, if not compassion.