I was 22 when I landed my first big break into the television industry as a junior content producer. After being told (in the final year of my Audio Visual degree), that it would be near impossible to find work in a small over saturated industry - who does that to their students? In a way though it was a blessing. It gave me the fire (under my little bum) that I needed to proove myself. After a few seasons of producing and writing for daytime reality TV, came my next break. The Executive producers offered me the Director’s seat on a DStv studio production I had been filling in for. To say that I felt beyond out of my depth, would be an understatement of epic proportion. I now had to get out of my head, find my “big girl panties” and lead this 12 man crew. It was there where my technical love for creating picture was sparked. Understanding how you could take a frame from average to spectacular just blew my mind.
I went on to write, produce and direct shows for primetime SABC and DStv and even had the prilage of working on the 2010 soccer world cup when we hosted it - once again my life pivoted. 30 days of live TV took it’s toll on me, the hours were long, the stress levels were high and I literally hadn’t seen the light of day for a full winter month. The experience transformed my perspective. My performance was measured in non personal AR ratings and I had no way of knowing if all my sweat and tears even made a difference to the world. I craved the interaction with the end user and having that instant interperrsonal feedback.
I signed myself up for a Marketing Degree and off I scampered (back to varsity) to try juggle production meetings and writing exams. My plan was to find myself a cosy 9-5 in a nice little marketing department. That all changed when I discovered the power of influence this new information had suddenly enlightened me with. I was curious though, was it all theory, or did it actually work?
Eager to find out, I headed to Asia. With a big suitcase in hand and my bonus from the world cup. After five years of aspiring to be the next Spielburg, I hang up my career in Television and set my sights on becoming an entrepreneur. I went flee market raiding in some of the biggest and most colourful spots I could find. Trying on, making relationships and shop shop shopping - until I had no more limbs to carry my wears.
I returned to South Africa inspired, excited and with no clue where I was going to sell my new investment - oops! The creativity of the colurful markets I roamed, prompted me to hire a self contained “lock up” space at a local flee market. I set up my shop, picked up my camera and began recruiting friends and family to model my stock - after having a lifechanging revalation (but that’s a story for another blog post).
I had visons of building a massive appareal empire that would compete with the likes of top South African brands. Alas, my dreams were dashed 2 years in. After a dry winter season and being in the wrong location my funds dried up quick. It was time to close shop. I was heart broken, my dreams were shattered and my a%$! was broke. If the shop had taught me one thing, it was where I fell short. I had no clue about dressing woman, in fact the only body shape I could dress was my own.
Armed with this new intail I applied to become an Image consultantant. I learnt the art of transforming your makeup from day to night in 5 seconds flat, how to cut your ass in half, what colours you shouldn’t wear, the do’s and don’ts of all 9 body shapes and a litany of style secretes. I got to head up the production of our clothing manufacturing department for our “ready to wear” and bespoke ranges. I occasionally dropped in as a guest lecturer for the Image Academy and Lady J’s ( finishing school for teens), I keynote addressed on the principals of styling, hosted girl’s night out style experiences, managed and created content for our social media platforms.Fashion and style I had hooked me in.
Out of all the things I got to try my hand at, the makeover experiences where my ABSOLUTE favourite. Unlike the wardrobe detoxs and styling, there was a certain emotional appeal that I became addicted to. Looking at the before and after pictures, watching a client’s face light up when she saw a reflection of hearself beaming at the mirrior, and wearing something she would never ( in a million years) thought of buying, pulled at my heart strings. I was a part of every phase of this life altering moment (the consultation, makeup, styling etc) except one… the photography. The part where she truly felt like the super model. The part where I could visably see her confidence blossom and the expression on her face change from exsisting to unstoppable. . . I caught a glimse of what felt like my calling.
I began to read every blog post I could find on photography, editing and putting a portfolio together. Sometimes I’m still not entirely sure were this journey as a photographer will take me. What I do know is that there is nothing more fulfilling than capturing the best moments of someones’s life, and giving it to them those photos to keep and pass down to the next generation.