International model and TV presenter Kaone Kario is a rare package of beauty, brains and talent. Born in a small town in Botswana she has become a formidable force in the modeling industry and travelled extensively. Known for winning the Face of Africa in 2005 and modelling in New York for Wilhemina models in New York Kaone has branched out into television as well. Jucy Africa had a chat with her.
JUCY AFRICA: Hi Kaone and welcome to Jucy Africa.
Kaone: Hey Jucy
JA: Who is Kaone?
Kaone: I am still trying to figure that out.
JA: How was life growing up in Maun, Botswana?
Kaone: Simple, rural and happy.
JA: Growing up, what did you want to become?
Kaone: Ooh my, I wanted to become an archeologist, a doctor, a lawyer, Micheal Jackson’s back up singer and be on TV. I went through all my phases.
JA: You have a very successful modeling career, how was winning the Face Of Africa competition in 2005?
Kaone: It was a life changing experience, I never thought something of that magnitude will ever happen to me. When it happened it was baffling and overwhelming at the same time.
JA: What have been your most defining moments in your career?
Kaone: I can’t think of one in particular, I have had quiet a few. Firstly, getting signed to Wilhelmina in New York and when I received my first pay cheque for Edgars club magazine shoot. I was the happiest girl, I had made R300 that day and I was on top of the world. That’s when it dawned on me I am now working in South Africa .
JA: Models are perceived as dumb and without opinion. Have you experienced this first hand?
Kaone: Yes, prejudice and criticism are some of the things one needs to learn to deal with when entering the modelling industry. I have stopped trying to prove to people that I am not stupid.(giggles)
JA: Has being in the limelight affected your relationships?
Kaone: No, I don’t think so. People in my life have learned to understand that all this is just an illusion. There is a difference between Kaone the model and the real me.
JA: As a young women in Africa, what are the major challenges do you think we are faced with?
Kaone: Access to information on sexual and reproductive health and education. Educating a girl child is very important and it is sad that some people fail to see that.
JA: How different is Botswana to South Africa for someone who hasn’t been to Botswana?
Kaone: It is less developed in terms of infrastructure, it has a smaller population and our airport isn’t as groovy as the one Johannesburg. Development in Botswana is much slower than South Africa. Come visit. It is an awesome and safe country.
JA: We saw you in the Top Billing competition, take us through that experience.
Kaone: Entertainment (Television) is what I meant to do in this chapter of my life, so I auditioned and made it to the top 4. It was nerve wracking, it is one of those moments where you want something so badly it hurts. I met some awesome people there, especially the crew I really enjoyed working with them. It is not as easy as it looks and I am glad I took some lessons from it.
JA: You’ve worked and lived in New York, which is most model’s dream. Tell us about the experience and differences between the African modelling industry and the American modelling industry?
Kaone: Whoo! It’s a lot more competitive. If you think you are good, there is always someone better than you. You need to focus a lot more and you need to constantly remind yourself you are just as good. Some clients can be brutal, models aren’t muses as much anymore so they are easily replaceable. Africa’s industry is still kind. New York is not an easy place, but also it’s not impossible. I should have gone when I was much younger because really if you want to be make it big you have to get involved at an early age. For a black model the pie is smaller in high fashion because there are lot black models already,on the other hand the great thing about New York’s market is that there is room for everyone to work from the youngest to oldest models. Plus size modeling is big, those girls are killing it. There is diversity but not as much as here at home.
JA: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Kaone: Let me deal with the next minute.
JA: What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Kaone: Write all my thoughts first. I keep a morning journal.
JA: How do you stay in shape?
Kaone: I work my ass off literally. I do Pilates, boxing, yoga, running, skipping rope and walking. Just movement.
JA: What do you do to unwind?
Kaone: Some spa time is always great. I also watch a lot of movies, read books and listen to audiobooks.
JA: Who are the three Jucy people you think we should know about in Africa?
Kaone: I have no idea, Jucy Africa knows everybody!
JA: Do you have any phobias?
Kaone: I do. I have a fear of snakes and creepy crawlies.
JA: What makes you happiest?
Kaone: Peace within.When I am calm inside I am happy.
JA: What makes your blood boil?
Kaone: Ooooooh, slow service anywhere and people who litter.
JA: Greg Hammond or Stevel Marc?
Kaone: Stevel Marc, of course. Is this a trick question!
JA: Joelle Kayembe or Precious Makgaretsa?
JA: What music do you listen to?
Kaone: Rock, gospel, acoustic soul, pop and whatever my friends recommend.
JA: What inspires you?
Kaone: A lot of things. People doing extraordinary things, wealth creation, my heartbeat and compassion.
JA: What is your favourite colour?
JA: If you had only R50 with you, what would you do with it?
Kaone: I don’t know. I am stuck.
JA: Kaone thank you so much for your time. We wish you well in all you do.
Kaone: My pleasure and thank you.
Wardrobe supplied by: FullKream
Styling: Les @Fearles Styling
Make Up: Noluthando