Posted on 17 April 2013.
How would you introduce yourself to someone who never met you?
Palesa Mamokoena Masiteng, born and bred in the East Rand Katlehong. Not your average young lady, a rebel at heart, a flower child, and always against the grain. Former Miss City Press 2004, Fear Factor 2nd season finalist, Miss SA 2007 finalist, a student, a model, philanthropist and a business woman. And don’t ever wonder about the permanent contagious smile on my face, its not going anywhere. I’m a happy soul.
You have also made your mark as an international model, a reality star and done ads. Where did it all start?
It all starts with dream. Growing up as a tomboy I never thought I fit the social construct of how the world defined beautiful and not to say I didn’t think I was beautiful, it is because I thought I am beautiful I ended up in this industry. I was never out to prove any point except being myself in a world that insisted on telling people who they are and how they should be. For the most part of my adulthood I’ve been bald and it was by choice cause I was better suited to short hair. As women we are constantly told that “your hair is our crowning glory” and when youre bald there is an assumption made about your femininity I don’t get. Anyway, with that look I took part in pageant, which is one of the many media institutions that insist on defining women. It was destiny with a lot of tenacity, hard work and dedication. Like I said, I’m a rebel at heart.
You are also a successful businesswoman, tell us about FullKream.
FullKream is a destination store that caters for the niche fashion forward enthusiast. At FullKream we offer a bespoke service, an emporium for African designers such as Taibo Bacar, Augustine Men’s Apparel and our very own FullKream clothing line.
Why did you choose to get into a partnership with Kyle? Why a fashion business?
Beside his flair and passion for fashion, Kyle and I have always shared this dream of becoming young leaders within the fashion industry.
What are highs and lows of running a fashion business?
Any businessperson will tell you “business is not child’s play.” As a new brand entering the fashion industry, it was a challenge introducing this amazing brand and gaining support from our targeted consumers. Nonetheless a challenge well received. The highs would be getting home tired after a long day at the store, event, shoot or fashion show and knowing that you are living your dream.
What are your thoughts on the celeb scene in SA?
The current South African celebrity is taking ownership of their status. In understanding that their craft/talent and who they are as an individual is more than just being on TV or any media platform as a job but have realised that they are a brand. This has allowed them to build and market themselves as brand and run that entity as a business, because their talent and passion is their livelihood. This also gives room for consistent growth in both their personal and business lives because lines are defined and roles are clear.
What has been the highlight of your career?
It’s hard to point point out one experience and achievement, I tend to celebrate all my achievements equally so as the one accomplishment tends to lead to the next and that keeps me motivated and striving for more.
What is your biggest fear?
I only fear God.
Education is important to you, what made you decide to go back to school?
My decision to go back to school came at a time when I was facing one of life’s adversities and knowing the power that knowledge has in freeing and liberating a person, that was an obvious choice. I wanted to be empowered. You would be surprised as to how many models are actually studying and are graduates. That stereotype is based on the notion that models don’t have no opinion because of the nature of the business (fashion industry) The client and/or the fashion designer already has a vision of the final product and models are chosen based on how they look to in order to achieve the client’s vision. A baseless stereotype I think because if the model doesn’t understand the client’s brief, the client won’t achieve their required end result. And I guess this fashion business wouldn’t exist and the powerful images we see would be by default, right? I don’t think models are dumb, they also contribute intellectually to the industry as its their career not a hobby.
What would you like to say to someone who wants to follow in your career path?
Understand and love yourself. The modeling industry is not easy, rejection is part of the business and one needs to have thick skin and know that a “NO” is not a bad reflection or incompetence on your part as a model. You are probably not what the client is looking for at the time. Work hard, be tenacious, look after your health and be aware of the tempting glamorous life, not all that glitters is gold . Inform yourself about the industry and take charge of your career.
We only ever get to see the glam parts of your job, are there any downsides to being as awesome as you are?
Like most things in life, there’s the good and the bad. I think for most models the rejection side of the business is the worst, you need to be motivated enough to go back. The pressure of wanting to stay in shape or rather be the size that the industry dictates can lead to extreme dieting and potentially doing drugs, in this case I would cite Kate Moss as an example, according to media reports she was caught doing drugs in a club toilet.
As a black model and businesswoman do you feel like you are making history?
I am a legend in the making; it would be a sad story for anyone not to be remembered for anything or to leave a legacy, irrespective of my skin colour.
Who would you like to work with?
I would love to work with Tyra Banks, I admire the amazing super model and businesswoman that she is and most importantly the teacher she has become.
Any misconceptions or rumors about you that you want to clear up?
LOL… None what so ever. If people are talking, I’m glad they’re talking about me because that means I’m worth talking about. Whether there’s any truth to what they are saying, it really doesn’t matter because everyone is on a need to know basis anyway. They will know the truth if they need to know and if they don’t know or are wondering about its probably because they don’t need to know. They must keep wondering, I love the mystery.
You have a great body! Do you work out?
Thank you. I’ve been genetically blessed but God helps those who help themselves. My skin routine in the morning, face wash, moisturiser with SPF 15. I usually don’t wear any make up, except for when I go for a casting and I’m shooting or for a special occasion. I never sleep with makeup on, at night I wash my face and moisturise it with a night cream. I struggle to get my required 8 glasses of water a day but going to gym 5 times a week does help as I do drinking a lot of water when I’m working out. I do a facial once every two month and I don’t party as much as I used too so I get enough beauty sleep.
How do you deal with people who cross the line or overzealous fans?
I’m always happy to receive the love and appreciation for my work, I’m generally a friendly and welcoming person so it really doesn’t bother nor phase me. However as friendly as I am, I set boundaries. But when it does happen, I just calm them down politely and officially introduce myself, then have a conversation like I would with any other person.
Did you always want to be where you are right now?
I’m where I’m supposed to be, and striving for more.
What do you like to do to relax?
I enjoy a lot of the work I do, it’s fulfilling. When I want to relax, I stay home, cook, listen to music and do absolutely nothing but CHILL.
Tell us 4 Africans everyone should know?
Palesa Masiteng, Robert Sobukwe, Vimbai Mutinhiri, and Dr Maphela Ramphela.
What/who inspires you?
My family. They drive and motivate me in wanting to be the best in everything that I do. I want my loved ones to be proud of me, I’m one of four children and being the older sister, my siblings will look to me as a role model and I want to have a positive effect on them and some of the decisions they make based on my conduct.
Who do you think is Jucy?
Guy or a girl, LOL! I think Boitumelo Thulo is hella JUCY. And the young lady is doing amazing things in positively influencing the youth of South Africa. Her can do attitude adds a lot to her sex appeal.
What is your favourite food?
Chocolate. Yummy!!! Can’t go a day without.
What would you spend your last R50 on?
If R50 petrol in my car tank can get me home, (I guess that would depend on where I am at the time, hmmm… hopefully not to far from home) I’d spend my last to be with my loved ones.
Favourite type of music?
Rather who’s my favorite artist? Frank Ocean
What are you currently reading?
Positioning: The battle for your mind by AL Ries and J. Trout
You have already achieved a lot, what are your next goals?
I am current perusing more business ventures that are in line with what I’m studying. During my modeling career I’ve been blessed to be given opportunities within the acting industry, I had cameo roles on soapies such as Generation and Jacob’s Cross. Part of growing my brand I intend on giving more focus to my acting career
Bonnie is pretty awesome too. When she is not writing for JucyAfrica she is honing her plans for world domination
Make up: Mina Shembe @Minaashe
Photography: Jessica Hunkin @Jess_Hunkin
Styling: Sthembiso Mngadi
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