The Blazon Magazine team caught up with one of White River’s finest ambassadors for a quick interview and photoshoot. On the luxuriant and lavish grounds of the Palace of the Lost City in Sun City, Rustenburg, we got to meet Yondela Sihlobo-Mlambo and her beautiful family. The young business owner and career woman spoke to us about modelling, her career and dream to inspire confidence in the young ladies of Mpumalanga.
How does an Accountant/Auditor find herself managing a Modelling agency?
It’s passion. Ha ha. I am passionate about modelling having been in the industry myself and seeing the positive impact modelling had on me. I only wanted to share my experience and knowledge with the people. I am a very introverted person and shy however modelling helped me gain confidence and assisted me to be comfortable with public speaking and appearance.
Tell us about Yondela and her background
Yondela was born and raised in the Eastern Cape, a small town Lusikisiki. She is a second born of three sisters. She completed her high school at Ixopo in Kwa Zulu Natal where she furthered her studies at the University of Pretoria. After she completed her tertiary studies she relocated to Nelspruit, Mpumalanga where she started her professional career. She is a wife, a mother of 2 and is currently an audit Manager and an owner of Ruby Models, a modelling school in White River, Mpumalanga.
It seems like you had a stint as a Model, how was it?
Oh yes, it was the most amazing journey of self-discovery, and learning that all things are possible if you put your mind into it and work hard at it.
My first attempt was in 2015 where I was crowned Ms Lowved 2015. From thereon, I contested for Mrs Africa, where I was crowned Mrs Africa 1st Princess.
What are some lessons you’ve learnt as a model and being Ms Lowveld 2015
The one lesson I have learnt with Ms Lowveld 2015 is that you are never too old or too late to achieve your childhood dream.
Tell us about your winning the Ms Lowveld and Mrs AFRICA 2015 – 1st Princess title
It was quite an interesting journey. Firstly I was already a mom and a wife at the time, some people around me didn’t understand why I was entering pageants at this stage of my life. However I had to block out the negativity and focus on the goal.
To win any pageant I had to prepare myself mentally and as well as physically, going to gym and eating healthy.
Would you still contest in a pageantry? Like Mrs Mpumalanga, Mrs South Africa?
Yes, definitely, I want to enter for Mrs South Africa. What I love about it is that its not just an ordinary pageant but an avenue for women empowerment.
Being a young mother, wife, career woman and also a business owner, how you do combine all these roles?
It’s a bit challenging at times to be honest but, the one think that I realized is that once you plan for the day or week and stick to it, its easy to manage the different roles. However you do have those days where you will have to prioritize one over the other. One helpful thing is having a supportive husband who also steps up for me when I feel overwhelmed.
My typical day starts very early in the morning, I prepare my son for school and make sure that there is breakfast ready for the family. From 8am to 4:30 pm I am at work doing audit work and meeting clients. From 4:30pm, I start putting on the modeling coach hat and round about 7pm, I rush home to make my family dinner and join in play time and putting the kids to sleep.
Tell us about Ruby Models
Ruby Models is a Modelling Academy based in White River, Mpumalanga. It aims to provide new and aspiring models with skills that they need to succeed in the industry. Moreover, it seeks to help them embrace their uniqueness and become the very best version of themselves.
Whether you want to become a professional model, or you just want to learn new skills and build confidence, you will benefit from our coaching and interactive training! We develop models’ self-esteem, build on personal development.
Ruby Models is a community that embraces all shapes, sizes, ages (from 7 years and older) and backgrounds.
You’re a good ambassador for White River and MP in general. What are some of the things you love about the place?
I am originally not from Mpumalanga. The funny thing is that I came to Mpumalanga to visit a friend of mine from varsity and do vacation work at one of the big Auditing firms and I fell in love with the scenery especially the Panorama route. It’s so calming and tranquil.- I then choose to do my articles here in Mbombela. The rest, they say is history