Kgaugelo is an Instagram model with 19K followers, which is very impressive for someone who just started their modelling career. She started modelling in June 2019 and got her first modelling gig just a month later.
What does ‘SUMMER YAMA 2000’ mean to you?
When I think of “SUMMER YAMA 2000”, I think of a time where different personalities and talents within the youth are being embraced and brought together through what we enjoy most – Coca-Cola.
Have you ever experienced peer pressure? What advice do you have for young people who are under pressure from peers to drink alcohol, when they are too young?
I think every teenager experiences peer pressure at least once in their teenage years and I am one of them. My encounters with peer pressure have presented themselves in many forms and my advice to anyone that experiences it is to think of how it will make you feel after you have given in. Feeling like you aren’t in control of your actions and choices is feeling like you are not control of yourself and if your friends don’t understand that, then find new ones. There are 7 billion people on earth, I guarantee you will find some who hold the same values as you.
How would you describe your experience working with Coca-Cola?
Working with Coca-Cola has been an experience I always will remember. The diversity in the people that I have been surrounded by during this journey has not only inspired me but made me appreciate differences more than I had before.
What is the story of ‘Kgaugelo’. What can you tell us about yourself for those who don’t know you but want to?
I was born and bred into an incredible family, in Mafikeng, that has made me a product of their belief that the sky is not the limit. I am this goofy girl with an outlook of radiating positivity, building my confidence and that of those around me, as well as living in my truth because of my family. I stop at nothing to achieve what I want. In terms of how I see myself, this question is always hard to answer because I am constantly growing and reinventing myself in the ways in which I express myself. These being my style, art, make-up and overall energy on a day-to-day basis. I live to be better and make things better around me in any way I can.
We know you are a well-known Instagram model, but nowadays with so much content out there what would you say helps differentiate you from all the other people that are trying to do the same thing?
I think what makes me different is my individuality and freedom to express myself through my hair, my makeup, how I dress, how I just carry myself generally and how I interact with the people that follow me. I take advantage of the platform that I’ve been given to showcase who I am and embrace that, no matter what barriers are put up against me. Trying to become a model at the height of 1,6m without the conventional model body is not easy. I’m not what the average mainstream model would look like and my page is filled with content that embraces that. It’s all about representation and I try all the way from my Afro down to my size, to take up space in the fashion world that has not always been provided.
What inspired you to become an Instagram model?
I’ve been walking up and down passages (that acted as my runway) in my mother’s high heels for as long as I can remember. But, if anything, I think it was the reception of girls who saw their faces reflected in mine that inspired me. To create the platform for them to feel that they can express themselves as I do while doing what I love, was perfect to me.
Can you describe the feeling you had when after kick-starting your modelling career in June 2019, you received a modelling gig just a month later?
The feeling after I got my first modelling gig was actually one that was very confusing. It’s like everything you’ve wanted is right in front of you and you don’t know how to grasp it. I mean if I’m being honest I couldn’t believe it. Especially because I had spontaneously tweeted “I will get a modelling gig this year. No matter how small” just a few months before. Only for this dream to manifest itself right after I called it. It showed me that, even though it sounds cliche, dreams actually do come true once you speak them into existence and truly believe that it’s possible. That overwhelming feeling of anxiousness but above all contentment and accomplishment is something you would chase forever, I swear.
For anyone out there that would love to become an Instagram model what advice would you give?
Believe in your own sauce. Honestly, being yourself and genuinely loving who you are shows through your images. Your skin glows, your hair grows, you feel comfortable in your own skin and therefore you’re able to embrace every side of your being. You’re in your own lane and focus on that. There will always be somebody you think is better than you but once you tell yourself you’re a force to be reckoned with, you will constantly try to better yourself, which will make you realise that the only competition you have is yourself.
How do you advise people to stay safe when starting out modelling on Instagram?
First it starts with boundaries; know what you are willing and not willing to do before putting yourself out there, so that you don’t accept just any offer all in the name of getting your big break. Agents can go a long way too in helping you. I know it feels good to be able to say “I made it on my own” but with the space you want to go into, getting some sort of agent or representative can always be helpful. Not everyone out there is genuine. You will get sketchy offers, from time to time, that you might not be able to see in the midst of your excitement and hunger for success. Agents see right through it all and save you from situations that could be potentially dangerous.
You are starting out as an Instagram model. What other ventures would you like to pursue, if any?
Studying media. Aside from modelling, I’ve always been passionate about art, philosophy and writing, and because of this, I’ve wanted to do something along the lines of digital media and creation.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
Changing the game. My own game. I am constantly growing, reinventing and nurturing myself and therefore in 5 years, I see a version of myself 10 times better than what you see now.
How would you advise balancing school or studying, with extramural activities including creating a strong digital presence to other young people that are perhaps are trying to accomplish something similar to you?
Your teachers probably always shove this down your mind, but time management is literally the key. I used to struggle with this because being overwhelmed can cripple you into not doing anything at all. Now, I make sure I know how to spread my days out, doing bits every day, so that in the end I know that I have done what I planned to – that way I feel fulfilled without being stressed out. Plan your days out, prioritise without neglecting one of the commitments you’ve made – that way you create future bags that you didn’t even think you could secure. What you say goes, because this is your life.
How would you describe your creative process when shooting content for your Instagram content?
Every day I wake up feeling different and my posts go according to how I want to express myself on that day. My photos are really snapshots of what I decided to be on that day. I love being behind the camera so creating content doesn’t feel like a chore. I mean you’re not always sure how the public will accept it but that’s why I stand in believing in your sauce. Everything looks good when you feel good too.
Which models do you most look up to?
Adut Akech Biof has to be one of my favourites as well as models like Ashley Moore, Slick Woods, Naomi Campbell and Ashley Graham to name just a few. These incredible women represent what I identify with, such as the rewriting the narrative of beauty by merely owning their identities.
Kgaugelo – what words of encouragement do you have for kids that are looking up to you?
This is for you. I am just like you and because of that whatever you aspire to be is possible. Your dreams are not ‘far-fetched’ and you’re not going through ‘a phase’ as you might be told by other people and by yourself. Sometimes your biggest critic is yourself and once you overcome that, you’re already a winner in my books.