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Former stripper, Barbie Brazil, says she is living her best life

By Faeza
11 April 2017

SOCIALITE Ennie Thembi Tshabalala, popularly known as Barbie Brazil or Miss Piggy, says she has grown a thick skin over the years, especially for being mocked about her looks. She is known for lightening her skin and having five cosmetic procedures done on her body, but she says this doesn’t mean that she hates being black. The 32-year-old, who grew up on a small farm outside Thokoza, east of Joburg, says she will not stop doing plastic surgery to please anyone.

A DIFFICULT UPBRINGING

Ennie says she was ridiculed and mocked all her life because of her poor family background. “My life has not always been easy; I grew up on a small farm with my parents and little brother. My mother was a domestic worker while my father was a gardener. During the political conflicts in the country, my father moved me and my brother to live with his siblings in the villages," says Ennie. "It was hard; we were abused physically and

emotionally. I had to wash clothes for my aunts and their children and was sometimes denied food. We walked long distances bare foot, even when my parents bought shoes for us, which were instead given to my cousins.” She says she was very small and people in the

area used to say she was HIV positive and suffering from malnutrition or TB. "They compared my frail body to that of a scarecrow. I had to develop a thick skin and learn to

protect and defend myself at a very young age.”

WORKING AS A STRIPPER

After completing matric, Ennie enrolled at a private college in Joburg to study fashion design, but a few months into her studies, she learned that the college was not registered with the Department of Education. “I reported the college to the police and it was later shut down," she says. She says it was during this time she promised herself that she would work hard to improve her life and never live in poverty again. "A friend told me about an opportunity to work as a stripper at the Summit Club in Jozi,” she says. Her mother was very angry as she believed Ennie was going to dance and sleep with men to make money.

“I was tired of living with my abusive and angry father who was also poor. I had to make money to survive,” she says. However, she discovered that stripping was not as easy as she thought. “Unlike the other girls, I found it difficult to take off my underwear while the customers cheered and threw money at me. My manager used to tease me that I was very skinny and that I looked like a Barbie doll. The name stuck and my stage name became

Barbie Brazil,” she says.

GETTING PLASTIC SURGERY

Ennie says she had very small breasts and small butt. So she had her first boob job when she was 19 years old while working as a stripper. This was followed by a tummy tuck, butt enlargement, nose job and filling of her lips. She started lightening her skin in 2014.

“I also sell some of the products that I am using on my skin; I don’t sell products that I don’t use.” Ennie says while working as a stripper, she started taking cocaine with a group of friends. “I loved the feeling and it made it easy to concentrate at work. I was making a lot of money and loved it. I also worked at bachelor and exclusive parties.” She later moved to online stripping, where she had international clients. “This is where I met my husband. He was one of my regular clients and twice my age, but I didn’t care about that. He was

married at the time and living in London. I fell in love with him because he treated me like the queen I am. He never judged me for what I was doing for a living. Two years later, we got married and are blessed with a nine-year-old son.”

LIVING HER LIFE TO THE FULLEST

Ennie says because of her history, people spread lies that she used to be a prostitute. “I always respond to such statements by saying I am my husband’s prostitute. I am not embarrassed about this because I am living my life to the fullest. I don’t care about what they say because they don’t pay for any of my cosmetic surgeries," she says, adding that she will not stop altering her looks to please anyone. “I am planning to have my third boob job, growing my butt bigger and altering my smile by removing all my teeth and putting in false teeth. I am a strong woman and will not allow myself to crumble to the social media bullying,”she says.

BEING CYBER BULLIED

She says most of her bullies on social media and in public are women. “It puzzles me that women hide behind false social media accounts to mock another woman and try to bring her down. But I will not allow them to bring me down because I believe they have issues of their own. They hide behind thick make-up and have ridiculous eyebrows to cover up. If they had enough money to go under the knife they would change their looks,” she says.

She adds that some say she is changing her natural looks to fit in with her white family.

“I have never seen any white person who enlarged their butts. I don’t have a problem with

being black and will die black. The skin lightening doesn’t change my identity,” she says.