Chit Chat: Masego “Maps” Maponyane

2011-11-11 13:33

His father is the legendary soccer player Marks Maponyane, but this young man won’t be name dropping to get ahead – especially as his plans have nothing to do with sports and everything to do with fashion. Mokgadi Seabi gets to know the media studies student and youngest nominee in this year’s GQ SA’s Best Dressed Men

You probably get this question all the time, but what was it like growing up with Marks Maponyane as your father?

It was actually quite normal. He’s a great father and I don’t go out of my way to tell people that he’s my father. Then again, Maponyane is not exactly an ordinary surname so most people make the right guess as soon as I tell them my last name.

And do you get special treatment for it?

Not even. I try my best to disassociate myself from that. Most people call me Maps, which is a short version of my surname.

Did you inherit any of your father’s soccer skills?

Funny thing about that is that I started playing soccer as soon as I could walk. I even played in the Wits University under-17 team, but by then I had lost all enjoyment of the sport because people always expected me to play like my father.
I get quite intimidated and irritated because every kick is judged against his.I quit soccer altogether because I’d always have to live in his shadow. These days I only play socially and enjoy golf more.

So how did you go from soccer to modelling?

My older brother grew up doing TV commercials and when I turned 10, my mother signed me up at an agency and that’s where it all started. When I got to matric, I drew up a list of things I wanted to do with my life and the list included modelling.
After matric, I travelled to Europe for six weeks where my mind was opened to new experiences, different lifestyles and cultures. When I returned, I interned at SA Fashion Week with Lucilla Booyzen, who mentored me about fashion.

You’re only 21 years old and already you’re being listed as someone who knows about “style”. Is dressing well something you learned along the way?

Actually, my passion for fashion started a long time ago. I grew up as my mother’s companion. I was that child who went shopping with his mother. She taught me to appreciate clothes. I’m glad because she had a great sense of style, which helped guide my fashion choices.
She taught me about the finer details of putting together an outfit – what works and doesn’t. And she taught me about presentation and how to look sleek, neat and tidy without looking like you tried too hard.

What’s your personal style?

It all depends on how I feel that day. It also depends on the occasion, but one thing is that I never go for the mundane or ordinary look. I like clothes that are fitted and suit my body. The trick is to not look too dressed up and you must know your limits. Don’t just wear something because it’s trendy.

So, being a model who’s still studying, do your outfits get you attention from the opposite sex on campus?

I honestly don’t know how to answer this without sounding vain, but I suppose. Sometimes it’s flattering but there are other times when it’s off-putting.

So we’ll assume you want your better half to look as good as you do?

Not necessarily. But they do have to be very confident and also know how to dress for their body. I’m not too finicky about what a woman should wear, as long as what she’s wearing makes her feel confident and it looks great on her.

Which items are your essentials for this summer?

I’m very big on colour chinos in pastels like light blue, maroons and dove grey, and belts that compliment them.
Fitted shorts that are three to four fingers above the knee – never too short. I like them because you can dress them up or down. A good pair of high-top sneakers, brogues, deck shoes and a denim shirt, which is huge this season.

And what are your favourite shopping spots for all these fashionable items?

I don’t have particular stores that I always go to, but there are places where I spot good stuff like Arts on Main in the Joburg CBD, where they have great leather goods like briefcases and nice fedoras and poor-boy caps.
Loom and Paul Smith in Parkhurst are some of my favourite menswear shops. Also a whole bunch of stores on Kloof Street in Cape Town.

So what are your plans after you complete your studies?

I have already made plans to start a sports marketing consultancy, and clothing and personal styling companies. It’s a good way to combine all the things I’m most passionate about.

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