Chit Chat: Thembakazi Mazaleni

2012-02-03 07:58

How has your life changed in the five months since taking part in Diamond
in the Ruff?
It is crazy. I haven’t become used to people stopping me for autographs and pictures and telling me they’ve seen me on TV. It’s still a bit overwhelming.

Now that you’ll be walking the catwalk, where does it place your electrical engineering studies?
I’m finishing my third year and will be done in July and ready to move to Joburg. I’m so excited to work with the big names in the industry. I’ll be doing my in-service training this year and then I’d like to study further and do my bachelor’s degree in technology next year.

Had you ever considered being a model before the show?
Every one has always told me I have a God-given talent for modelling, and I thought they were all crazy. I never pursued it and it was only during this competition that I realised my potential. Now I want to kick myself for wasting so much time.

What surprised you the most about yourself during the competition?
I’ve learnt that I do have a lot of perseverance. There were many challenging things I wouldn’t have even tried before the competition and I was really surprised at my confidence.

What are your goals for the future now that you have a foot in the door to a modelling career?
I want to start slowly in the local industry and build a name for myself. I know it comes with a lot of hard work, but one day I’d like to work towards an international contract.

Who were your fashion icons growing up?
I’ve never been fashion forward. I was a jeans-and-T-shirt kind of girl. However, I took note of Lerato Moloi when she became the face of Elizabeth Arden in South Africa and I’ve always admired Tyra Banks during her modelling days. I used to be a tomboy and read up about video games, but now I’m buying magazines to keep up with the latest in fashion.

You chose a cover of Sophiatown darling Thandie Klaasen for one of your shoots. How did you channel her to achieve stunning results?
I remembered it wasn’t a pleasant time for her, especially during apartheid, but she was always smiling. I thought about it, and realised that was how I could draw that energy. It doesn’t matter what you’re going through, you should always wear a smile.

What made your swimwear shoot so challenging?
Oh, that! I’m a girl so I was very self-conscious of all those people looking at me. I was practically half-naked and it was the first time I had done something like that, but I just had to perform.

What was the most difficult task you found yourself doing during the three weeks in Joburg?
The finale was probably the most intimidating as it was my first time on the catwalk – and in stilettos! There were so many people looking at me and all I could think was: I’d better not fall, I’d better not fall.

What makes a great model?
Someone who is always willing to learn. They have to be humble and not think they know it all.

What’s the most precious item among your prizes and other goodies?
It has to be the car – because that would have been the first thing I would have used the cash prize for. No more walking in the scorching sun for me. I have my learner’s licence and I’m working towards getting my driver’s licence.

What went through your mind when they announced you as the Diamond in the Ruff winner?
I couldn’t believe it and kept looking around at the other contestants. I was overwhelmed and happy, but I also had a sudden feeling of accomplishment.

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