For the November Edition (Pad-Me-Up Edition), we spent 5 minutes with model and startup entrepreneur, Khanyi Letsoalo (18).
1. Have you always been into modelling?
My interest in modelling began when I was 9. From there on it was modelling and nothing but modelling. My aspirations have changed drastically since I started off. I used to see being a model as dressing up, looking pretty, taking pictures. Until I realized that there’s a lot more to it. Such as an opportunity to be someone’s voice through my voice, do everything in the industry that seems impossible. Getting into the discipline meant having to deeply get into staying true to myself, at all costs. Because when you don’t know who you are or where you belong? Anything will go.
2. What do you advocate for?
This may sound cliché or rather typical but the cause that I FIRMLY stand for is mental health. Due to personal experiences, a HUGE drive to want to largely create awareness on what mental health ACTUALLY is grows bigger every single day.
3. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I’ve received, is to embrace rejection. This has helped me to remain optimistic, learn something new especially from the things I was unable to bag. Use those losses to my advantage, and grow from it as a model.
4. What is the best thing you can say to aspiring models?
Some people make it big at their first try and others only after multiple attempts. But none of that matters, because the only journey you should focus on is yours, everyone’s journey is going to be different. What’s meant for you, will always make its way to you. People will ALWAYS have something to say, if you want something? Go for it, no matter how impossible it may seem.
5. You’re a start-up entrepreneur, tell us a little about that.
The business is a partnership between myself and a close friend of mine, hence the name Kelii x Keli. It was founded in January this year after we realized that if our vision of one day going big in the business world is going to come to life, we had to start now. We currently only specialize in selling beauty products, e.g make up brushes, eyelashes. But we mostly definitely plan on widening our range in the near future!
6. What are some of the biggest misconceptions about models?
The biggest misconception that first came to mind has to be the fact that many assume that models need to look a certain way, have a specific body type, height or even as far as the kind of skin that they should have in order for them to “make it”. Except, none of that is realistic. The entire beauty of modelling is found in the authenticity of every model. Each model will be placed in a specific place, e.g ramp, commercial. Because that is just where they uniquely fit into. Another is that petite models starve themselves in order to look that way. The truth is, those? Are probably the people that eat THE MOST food, they just have Usain Bolt metabolisms!
7. What would the title of your brand autobiography be?
“Kgole ke mo ke tswang.” (I come from far.) This simply means that if I was able to overcome and achieve what I have, I can do anything!
8. What does a typical day in your life involve?
A typical day in my life includes a mixture of school, attending castings if I receive any, finding ways to get myself out there as a model. But the most important part of it all? Squeezing in an illegal nap!
9. Has how you handle criticism changed overtime?
The way in which I handle criticism has most definitely changed. I used to personalize criticism, assume that there was something wrong with me. Until I realized that whatever may have been said could’ve been to make or break me. Regardless of the next persons intention, I’ve learnt to always somehow use it to my advantage.
10. Who are your top 3 black girl models now?
Eva Apio, Winnie Harlow, Adult Kech.
11. Share 3 facts about you!
First – I am both an introvert and an extrovert at the same time. How? I wish I knew LOL. Second – I am a HUGE fan of aesthetics. Beautiful restaurants, sunsets, beautiful looking food. You name it. Last – My biggest accomplishments thus far have to be modelling for MaXhosa and the Indonesian Embassy.