She was among the 22 hopefuls who competed for Marc Buckner’s heart in season two of The Bachelor SA.
Although things didn’t work out between her and Marc, Qiniso van Damme (27) is now trying her hand at love again – and this time as South Africa’s first-ever Bachelorette.
Speaking to YOU, Qiniso revealed that the lockdown has highlighted her longing for a partner, as she’d love to have cuddles, some green tea, and great conversation with her man, instead of being alone in her apartment in Cape Town.
The model and masters student in social anthropology says she learnt a lot from her previous experience in the Bachelor mansion and is going full steam ahead with her heart on her sleeve and an open mind to welcome love.
“I’m so excited,” she tells us. “The Bachelor experience really challenges you in every way.
“I’m better because of the experience and I’m now more sure of who I want to be with and how I want my love journey to pan out.
“I also feel it’s a testament to how much faith I have in the process and how much hope I have in finding love on this platform.
“I’m really putting myself out there and I hope I attract men that want to put themselves out there as well.”
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Although some of her family members – her sister is DA MP Phumzile van Damme – might not fully understand her approach to finding love, they support her decision all the way.
“My mom is still a little bit like, ‘Qini, hayi man baby, what are you doing seeking love on television – why?’ But she’s also so into me bringing surprises in her life.
“My sister Phumzile, on the other hand, would rather lock me in a tower, but she is very confident in M-Net finding me the most incredible man.
“It eases her own anxieties because she always does her own research, before bringing a boy home. She says, ‘send me all his social media handles’,” Qiniso says jokingly.
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“A woman's sexuality is one of her many facets that she is allowed to express however she likes. The problem is that our media landscape shows, values and celebrates women’s sex appeal more than any of their other qualities, opinions or accomplishments.” - @beyondbeautifulbook ?? I normally share my quirkiness with you here - photographs from jobs that I loved working on that I felt reflected a part of my own creatively, art that evoked an emotive response within me, landscapes that took my breath away and recently, some of my most treasured writing. ?? Being in this industry sometimes means giving my sexiness a place to live in the eye of the capitalist consumer. ?? This photoshoot captured by @aidantobias for @rektmag was about being in charge of the way in which my sexiness comes across, about exploring and understanding it for myself through the medium that usually captures it to sell it. ?? It was so empowering to be able to put my sexiness back into my own hands and move and fold in the ways that I wanted to. ?? This shoot shows me in charge of and in love with this part of my being - reclaiming it and giving it the same credence and respect I give the others facets that make up Qiniso. #thebachelorsa
Her charismatic personality, good looks, and sharp mind are set to captivate fans and capture her potential lover’s heart too.
The Capetonian is looking for a caring, kind and honest partner – a tall and funny man is a bonus, she tells us.
Here are some interesting things you might not know about the first star of The Bachelorette SA, which kicks off next year.
She has more than one best friend
“We are really silly. I have multiple best friends because I really feel like how all of them bring out a certain part of me in my life, so my partner won't be my only support system, he will fall into a system that already exists.
“All my friends represent how my taste is, my friends are so different – I have friends in public health, computer programming, architecture and so on so. I have a vast number of people who bring the best out of me. I want him to be a part of the support system.”
She loves to groove!
“I’m a great dancer and love all kinds of music but drop some Amapiano and I will Vosho.”
She’s a self-confessed nerd
“I was a star student so I’m a mega nerd. I’m obsessed with the sky and the stars and reading about it. In another lifetime I wish I could be an astrophysicist.
She’s a people’s person
“When I was young, I dreamt of becoming a doctor. I took that love of working with people and just got shook by the universe. Studying social science fulfilled that part of my yearning to help people, my yearning to understand people and care for them.”
Her favourite movie of all time
“Her – it’s about this man who falls in love with an artificially intelligent virtual assistant. I just love the strangeness of the love story; how beautiful a connection can be without meeting a person and just falling in love with who they are and that’s me right now.
“I’m going on this love journey of a stranger’s love story and I’m so excited.”
The Bachelorette SA season 1 is set to air next year, with filming due to take place in 2020.