Crossing Borders To Make A Living

Staff Writer | The Republic Mail

By Mthethwa Thandeka

Model and hair stylist Zakithi Mthethwa (21) moved from Swaziland to South Africa in pursuit of a better life, however as is always the case with life, she had to resort to extreme measures that would enable her to reach her dreams even faster. She describes herself as a lovable person, someone who knows where she comes from and respects where she is headed.

What does modeling mean to you?

When I first started I didn’t know anything about modeling until I got to try it out. At first I always used to feel ashamed. I was not really sure what I was doing, but as time went by and became more comfortable with it, I finally realised that modeling is not just for white, slim, good-looking people, it is also for us who have nothing but passion to show for it. So modeling to me, is being able to do what you feel most comfortable with which is why I get motivated every time when I see young ambitious women as fashion designers and models showcasing their talent through a certain brand or company. This shows that they believe in what they are doing and are not ashamed of letting the world into their little world.

Who inspire you in the modeling industry?

I look up to Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks mainly because Naomi Campbell always has good publicity to support her career, you won’t find a single bad thing written about Naomi and I believe that is important not only in the modeling industry but for yourself as a person. Tyra Banks, on the other hand, is a power house. She is a force to be reckoned with. The work she has done within the modeling industry inspires, motivates and encourages me to have passion for modeling because things will eventually fall into place when you least expect it.

Do you ever find yourself comparing Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks?

Yes I do and I always find myself in favour of Tyra Banks most of the time. She started out as a model and then she created and began presenting the long running reality TV series “America’s Next Top Model”, which she produced and presented for the first 22 seasons until it was cancelled in October 2015. She also has her own show on CW which has been running for five successful seasons and on top of that, she has won two Emmy awards for an outstanding talk show. I really love her work, she inspires in so many ways especially in the modeling industry.

Wow, it’s clear you really love her.

You know, I was once really scared of being in front of the crowd and taking pictures. But in America’s next top model, there were people who were shy that sometimes they would start crying because they felt they were not confident enough thereby they would have a low self-esteem. But the show taught them confidence, how to relax and be focused which really appealed to me.

So Tyra’s show taught you self-confidence indirectly?

Yes it did. I was never a fan of high heels but because of the show, I started wearing them when I was part of Miss Teen which was also when I discovered that nothing is impossible when you dedicate yourself into doing something wholeheartedly.

Did you win Miss Teen?

No, I did not because I had low self-esteem and was very shy. But remember that in life you will get to meet different people; some will motivate and groom you to be better at what you do, some won’t and unfortunately in my case, I met people who did not point me in the right direction, people who didn’t tell me that you need to try harder so that you can do better next time. In high school, though, I had a lot of support, my teachers and school mates told me I could do this. That’s why I always tell people that I walk with power with my stilettos and no one will bring me down. I live with passion, I embrace my life, I see purpose and my spirit will never die because I am undefeated. The great moment though in my career was meeting my agent Zan Thusi who brought out the best in me.

How did you and Zan meet?
We met through my brother Ayanda who knew that I love modeling, he gave me her contacts so that I could communicate with her and it just so happened that at that exact moment, she was looking for models in Piet Retief and she gave me the opportunity to showcase her designs which I enjoyed.

What companies would you like to work with in the future and why?

I would definitely love to work with Woolworths and Identity mainly because I would get exposure and experience thereby extending my profile and get more people to see me.

Would you say your fashion sense is inspired by your modeling career?

Not really. Most of the time I wear what I am comfortable with, but my mood definitely influences the clothes I wear on a daily basis.

What other talents do you have that people do not know about you?
I love dancing, I am a hairdresser and I play netball. I will be doing my Bachelor of Admin in taxation.

How do you make time for modeling and hairdressing?

Modeling is not an everyday thing so when I have to model somewhere I take a day off at the salon and go do my thing.

How do people get in touch with you?
I am Zethu Zee Mthethwa on Facebook