I count myself fortunate or lucky I have the genes of both my parents. A mixture of Indian, Irish, Dutch, and African -they call us Colored in South Africa.
I don't. I think we all express ourselves in very unique ways..unknowingly. Like every young model out there, NYC is a tough city with lots of competition, so I make sure I am always focused and never lose track of where I am headed
Q. You have a unique beauty which is hard to find in several of the world's top magazines. Many of the models tend to have a similar look and style, but you are certainly different. Do you agree with this statement and is that something you are proud of
I love Angel Colon's work so it's no surprise the magazine chose that picture but It's certainly very flattering that the picture chosen was of my face.
Q. Your work alongside American photographer Angel S Colon was recently featured on Dark Beauty Magazine. How does it feel to be featured on such a well known magazine with a large following
Q. How else do you try to differentiate yourself from everyone else?
"I think we all express ourselves in very unique ways..."
I have to attribute my qualities to my mother and my grandmother. Both strong women of their times who can overcome any hurdle placed in front of them. My Dad instilled the Positive outlook on any bad situation. If you fail, keep trying and at some point you will find satisfaction.
Q. From the social media posts of your website it seems Nelson Mandela is a very influential figure to you. Tell us more about how he affected your life and why he is so important
Q. Which other personal figures have inspired you to become the woman you are today
Yes he is my hero, but he's not my only hero. There's Steve Biko (an activist of the 70's also from the Eastern Cape) and many wonderful freedom fighters of the past. Nelson Mandela's legacy, is synonymous with Love for kids. It's not just about being free. It's about the Togetherness of Community. We call it Ubuntu. No matter where we south africans find ourselves, we look out for each other. Protect each other and take care of the elderly, the weak, the frail the young. With the changes of the world, people change and often forget that it's Community Values that uplifts one's soul.
Interview by Keran Look Loy
Q. You were born in South Africa, a country rich in history and culture. How has this international background helped you to become such an admirable figure in your own way
I do praise my culture and tradition a lot in this regard. Coming from a place where poverty is rife and unemployment rates extremely high, it makes you humble seeing that and you remember it always when you move to a better land and better opportunities. You think of all those who do not have that chance
Q. You are the founder of 'I Am Hope', a foundation which focuses on charitable donations to children in South Africa. What motivated you to start this cause
Every year on Mandela World Volunteer Day, July 18th. my family and I do something special whether it's feeding the less fortunate or volunteering at a hospital for the day - but I wanted something permanent where I can truly make a difference. And so, I adopted a Primary school in a rural area of the poorest Province in South Africa. It's tough raising money and participating when I'm so far away but I have a handful of dedicated volunteers who help with after school homework and the feeding scheme I started. Most of the money comes from my own pocket. People just don't trust yet another far-away charity while there are poor families struggling to survive right here in America.
I plan on spending a semester abroad, and adopting another small farm school with about 300kids. So the two schools combined will be 800 kids that I supply food and volunteers from close by high schools to help with homework assignments. I'm hoping to buy a few computers next year and start with computer lessons. Rural schools in South Africa still do not have computers, some not even a simple printer. It's tough for those teachers to do their work as well. These are Schools that fall through the cracks of government funding. The government there would rather close small farm Schools and bundle kids up in larger far away communities with overcrowded schools. I'm talking about 50-70kids with One teacher. Then there's the issue of social problems writhing such communities. Rape a major unspoken crime in the Eastern Cape...schools do not have counselors everyday at school. Everything is difficult or impossible for a child to obtain.
Q. What else do you have planned for this organization in 2015 and how can people get involved
Q. Leave us with some words of inspiration
Q. Tell us a fun, interesting fact about yourself
I have an obsession with the solar system. During the summer I lay out in my backyard and stare at the stars. I do my research on planets and follow the news about the latest discoveries. The unknown intrigues me. I find the night sky very peaceful
Be positive..take the bad with a pinch of salt and say to yourself "Tomorrow - the Sun shining is an unbroken promise.