A strong woman is filled with kindness, generosity, compassion, integrity, willingness to be vulnerable, and authenticity. No matter what, she is true to herself. And one of such kind is Thandiwe Kulate. Thandiwe is a young lady from Johannesburg in South Africa. The African model possesses an outgoing and full-of-life nature.
She loves everything! Right from Art, fashion, make up and dance. She also relishes maintaining herself fit by exercising and doing yoga.
For Thandiwe mental health is a top priority because she feels cognitive health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Despite the adversities along her journey, Thandiwe was determined to never give up. Her dream of where she wished to see herself has always given her the strength to always keep going. Talking about her modeling career, it began in 2014. The model signed up with an Instagram account and started modeling by herself. Initially, she used to model for her social media pages and took it as a hobby.
Hastily, she realized that she wanted to take up modeling as her career and take it to the next level.
Initially, Thandiwe’s family thought modeling was just a pass time for her and she would leave it anytime in the future. Later, they realized the model was quite serious about her work. Her dedication and the parent’s support have boosted Thandiwe to being where she is today.
“My family wanted to see me happy so they were there for me on every step”
Thandiwe’s journey in the industry has been a roller coaster! She loves fashion. She is always curious to know more about fashion and loves trying new hacks.
“The industry has its ups and downs but overall I love the glitz and glam of it.”
The model also loves dancing and designing. If not a model, she would have been either a dancer, fashion designer, or makeup artist.
Thandiwe reckons that it is often surmised that an ideal model is not deemed of having curves. Henceforth, she often faced criticism for the curves that she has, but she has always been flaunting them because the curves make her feel beautiful. Thandiwe has always believed in standing tall and tells herself that this shall pass too. The model makes sure that she doesn’t let these obstacles affect her journey and her high spirit.
The model has faced several challenges during her modeling Journey. One challenge that affected her the most was not being able to fit in some clothes. This even led to body shaming where people passed on negative comments and gave inappropriate remarks about her body and weight.
Thandiwe faced several hindrances or setbacks in her career because of her race. The agency that she worked with often asked for more white models. Preference for black models was very few. Being positive and never losing hope and give her the faith that she will succeed someday.
“Sometimes the agent wants black people, sometimes other races. Nowadays there are a lot of opportunities for us, people of our color.”
She feels that financial stability in a modeling career is very important. If necessary a person should have several sources of income. Many models are stable nowadays because of the good amount of payments they receive. However, it also depends on the quality and the type of brand you are working with. The higher the brand value, the higher the payment, and this is what makes a model.
One of the toughest parts that she considers of being a fashion model is working in bad weather conditions.
The model believes that social media is helping aspiring models the most these days. She says that social media is important because it allows a model to reach, nurture and engage with their target audience no matter which location do they belong to.
‘Social media is everything nowadays. You can just start with your phone and just normal clothes.”
The aim that Thandiwe has in her modeling career is to work with big brands and to fulfill all her dreams. She also wants to inspire other black kids like herself to dream big and never give up on their aim.
“Never let anyone tell you ’you can’t’, there will be obstacles on the way but your dreams are bigger. You can make it. Hard work is everything because it pays off.”
Some people often told Thandiwe that she was not capable of being a model since she never had the body type of a model. However, all she decided was to never give up. The model wants to work with Rihanna Fenty one day and make it big. She also wants to work with other several celebrity designers one day.
Thandi feels that Implied nudity is a part and parcel that comes up with the job and if that’s how the designer wants their clothes to be displayed, a model should not have a problem about it. In the end, Thandiwe would not change anything about her journey because all the struggles and challenges that have come along her way have taught her to be patient and trust the process. She believes in, “easy come easy go“.
Interviewed and written by Sujata Dwivedi.