Johannesburg - The Intern by David Tlale was a 13-episode reality TV show for 12 up-coming fashion designers who were groomed by the fashion guru, and the winner got to work for him at the end of it all.
The last episode of The Intern aired on 4 October and Lesotho-born designer wannabe Kuena Moshoeshoe walked away with the bragging rights, a Mercedes-Benz CLA, the title of David’s assistant designer for one year, R200 000 cash and a design studio with equipment worth R250 000. In the more than three months of filming and working in Johannesburg some of the local interns felt mistreated by David.
One of them, who doesn’t want to be named, claims David failed to give them the R3 000 stipend they were meant to receive while on the show. “He didn’t give us a cent. We were suffering, we didn’t have food at the apartment and we had no toiletries.”
The intern also claims some of his designs were used by David in Paris but he didn’t receive a cent or a thank you. Besides not getting food, the young designer says they were treated badly too.
“He might be nice on the outside but David is horrible; he’s rude. When he’s sad we must all be sad and when he’s happy we must all be happy.”
Having moved on from the bad experience, the contestant says he joined the show hoping to gain some exposure and he thought being on TV would help his career, but he’s back where he started. “I’m now looking for a job – but I feel so used and betrayed.”
Since the end of the show some of the interns who were living in David’s apartment in Johannesburg were reportedly fired and evicted.
However, the design extraordinaire laughs off the claims. David says the interns were released from their duties due to internal issues. “I can’t really comment about the guys who have been fired, it is all in-house politics. It will be their story against mine and I won’t entertain it,” he says.
Meanwhile, the winner Kuena has still not received her prizes. “I am very grateful for the opportunity but I have been in Johannesburg doing nothing since October. I haven’t received any of the prizes, as promised. I have basically wasted my time and money.”
Kuena became frustrated with the lack of communication with her the organizers and decided return to Lesotho. “David asked me to come back to Johannesburg and I did but I have basically done nothing since then,” she claims.
With no work, no fancy car, studio and equipment, Kuena says she regrets being part of the show. “This entire thing is draining and David hasn’t even sat me down to explain what has been happening. The other day he sent me a contract but that’s about it.” Meanwhile, David says the reason Kuena hasn’t received anything is because her contract is still in the works. “Kuena is from Lesotho and she needs a working permit to start working here in January. We needed to draw up her contract before she can receive her prizes and start working.”