Benedictar Sibanda is living her beauty dream and she’s doing so with a very supportive audience of family and friends.
For Vol. 1 of the October Edition of Director Woman Magazine, we had a fun time getting to know the commercial and fashion model, Private Investigator and licensed Cabin Crew member.
Early life of Benedictar
The rising star in-waiting had an idyllic childhood and wanted to become a lawyer as a child. “I come from a family of investigators and police officers and so I [felt] I needed to become a lawyer. My second choice was to become a private investigator which I ended up doing. I of course had very supportive parents, my mom and dad were very supportive, my siblings too. If I wanted to do something they would push me to do it and always encourage me when I felt like giving up.”
Unfortunately for Benedictar, a low Afrikaans mark in matric meant she would have to take a more expensive route to fulfil her goal of studying law. “I decided that it wasn’t worth it to pursue law anymore so I registered for private investigations but I never got any feedback or admission,” she says.
After the set back, a friend advised Benedictar to go into aviation. “That’s when I decided to register for and was accepted into the school. I actually enjoyed all the travelling and everything within the industry. Soon after I found myself wanting to go further and get a license as a Cabin Crew member.”
The now 27-year-old worked the industry for a couple of months more before she heeded the call to be a Private Investigator. “I got a bursary to study private investigation which I’d previously applied for. I started doing public investigations and while I was doing that I was called by yet another private investigation company to do an internship with them. They offered to pay me while I was studying and accepting the offer was a no brainer for me. I soon graduated and they hired me permanently.”
THE GLAMOUROUS BUT CUT THROAT WORLD OF MODELLING
The life of private investigator was smooth sailing for 3 years before things started getting dicey for the young woman. “It was getting very risky and dangerous because I had to do things like go undercover and go to clubs obviously dressed for the ‘occasion’. My mom wasn’t comfortable with where it was going and felt I wasn’t safe.”
That move would be the beginning of a glittering career in modelling. Benedictar tells Director Woman, “After leaving the PI company, I found I enjoyed modelling. I am a very quiet person but once I started modelling I gained more confidence, became more outgoing and was smiling more – I was happier. Then I started getting scouted for TV commercials and some TV shows and well, the rest is history.”
When it comes to her life as a model, her family definitely saw it coming. “They’re always asking why I didn’t do modelling as my first choice. They always said I should do modelling when I was growing up but I didn’t think they truly saw it in me because I just thought they’re my family and are just saying.”
TYPICALLY, THEY’RE TALLER
And by the long-standing industry requirements, she isn’t one of them. “My height was a ‘problem’. Every time I went to castings they would say you’re too short for this. Through it all I quickly realised I needed to love myself as I am. My height wasn’t something I could change, there’s nothing you can take to become tall. In some sense, modelling taught me to love myself and to put myself out there. I know I won’t be the perfect model for all castings, but I’ve learnt to appreciate those that give me opportunities to shine as I am.”
Models aren’t just typically taller, they’re usually skinnier than us little people. In recent times, the industry has done it’s best to be more inclusive and Benedictar feels some convincing progress has made. “I believe we are getting there. When I started modelling all I knew was you’re supposed to be tall, skinny and look a certain way. As time went by I realised that there’s room for everyone – petite, curvy women, etc. When I learned about commercial modeling I was like oh so everyone can do it?!”
Describe yourself in two words
“I would describe myself as hardworking and fierce.”
What would the title of your autobiography be?
“The title of my book would be my name, Benedictar (which means blessing), the fierce and brave woman who conquers all.”
What do you do when you’re not working?
“I love boxing, when I was growing up I was into martial arts. If I’m not boxing then I’m at the gym, Netflix and chilling or reading a book.”
What does the future look like for you?
“I’m still learning and growing. I remember I used to say I want to see myself on the cover of a magazine or on the big screen, by God’s grace that has been fulfilled. But I still want to see myself out there and continue to pursue this modeling career. I want to be someone others look up to me just as I look up to women like Tyra Banks. I want young children to say- if Benedictar could do it, so can I.”
Love, Benedictar 🖤
“You have to believe in yourself, never give up. Learn to ignore negative noise and focus on what you can do.”
NOW THAT WE’RE CAPABLE WOMEN: May we never forget, that we are
Now that we’re not just sexy and all thigh.
Now that we know we can soar and soar high,
And be decisive about what happens next after we cry.
Now that we’re capable women,
Capable black women,
Capable of occupying spaces where important decisions are made,
And standing bold in places where conversations that matter are held.
Capable of leaving traces of our magic for those that come behind us,
And thriving on the basis of THE BATTLE MAY COME LOST BUT I’M SO USED TO WINNING.
Grinning. Because the wheels of the machine, though slow, are turning,
Singing. Because the system, though stubborn, is starting to see people who look just like me, being.
Breathing. Because though imbokodo is our pride, we’re soft, shameless and living.
Now that we’re not just the neck and all back.
Now that you know this code we can crack,
And aspire never to engage from a place of lack.
Now that we’re capable women,
Capable black women,
May we never forget to see the beauty with which we were made;
May we always remember we can run this world and never fade;
May we never forget to hold ourselves down and remain grounded;
May we never neglect to count ourselves in and challenge the hate with which this system was founded;
May we always remember to heal slow, and heal whole;
May we always live by our own rules and set alight the passion in our souls.
Now that we’re woovers with the ideas,
Now that we’re groovists and movers!
Unmoved. Never shaken by the challenge.
Challenging, but never impossible.
Now that we’re the takers and the bankers,
The change makers and the ballers!
Soarers, receivers, and believers.
Believing. Changing me and amazing you.
Now that we’re not just ghetto and all anger.
Now that we know we’re ‘baddies’ and bangers!
Cliffhangers. Shattering high standing ceilings.
Believing. Advancing her and being me.