Ponahalo Mojapelo maintains a captivating bio that includes; model, dj, stylist and writer, making it impossible to get enough of the living art piece she is, said Tandaza Simama. If she is not scribbling an article on Bubblegum Club then she’s spinning the decks at the hippest jols in Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban, or she is on set striking supermodel poses for Vogue Magazine wearing an outfit from a Thebe Magugu collection or walking down the runway draped in head to toe Maxhosa. Mojapelo can be best described as, “a queen that is constantly serving us fresh out of a Vogue Magazine issue looks” and she is this week’s guest.
1. Let’s start with how your overall 2020 experience was like.
2020 exceeded every one of my manifestations and dreams for myself. My highlights were definitely becoming Moonchild Sanelly’s DJ, doing New York Fashion Week with Maxhosa Africa, the Paris Fashion Week lookbook with Thebe Magugu, playing at Afropunk Global, having my images all over Europe and closing the year as the party starter at Rich Mnisi’s ‘2 Million Icons’. God’s grace, the prayers and well wishes of loved ones and the work of my guardian angels in heaven really propelled my work to a level beyond my own belief. After years of hardship and loss, it all just felt right but I also spent a lot of time shedding tears of joy at just how far I’d come.
2. You are defiant and unapologetic about who you are, what does it take to be Ponahalo in this frenzy world?
My most honest answer to that would be that I’m very intentional about defining my sense of self. I’m almost always purposefully seeking individuality, just because I love the kinds of people I attract when I’m being myself. It’s people who are outgoing, who fill my life with promise, who excite me and help me further determine my sense of self and how to capitalize on it.
3. You are definitely not a one trick pony when it comes to your career, how do you juggle being a Dj, writer, model, stylist and ofcourse being draped in full Thebe Magugu on a random weekday?
It’s really not easy and it eats away at you sometimes but the privilege of having chosen my career paths without pressure or negativity is one I don’t take for granted. I have no issue throwing myself into my work and making certain sacrifices. I often over book myself or have to weigh out which jobs I can’t take to make way for others which is the worst part for me because I want to do everything all the time. I still have my youth and my vigour and I intend to use it all up while staying true to self and doing what anyone with access to Thebe Magugu pieces would do.
4. I recently read a tweet on the bird app saying, “the trend I’ve been noticing lately is no matter how mediocre your work is, as long as your popular you’re within.” Do you agree with this statement?
I agree somewhat – not entirely. I think becoming popular isn’t easy so whatever got them to that point and kept them there must have been above average. I do think there are people who cling onto certain affiliations to sustain their relevance as opposed to using up all their potential but that’s their prerogative. People’s opinions are always going to vary and they can’t be the basis of how anyone views themselves and their work.
5. Lastly, what can we expect from you this year in all aspects of your careers?
To be honest, I find it incredibly difficult and stressful to try and map out a future during a pandemic. We’re not even sure what next week is going to look like for anyone on the planet. I do intend on sharpening every one of my skills and picking up others along the way. I want to make more of an impact with my writing and styling this year. I’m also working on further monetizing my talents and investing in my own longevity. Essentially, I’m riding my momentum and seeing opens up to me.
Ponahalo is currently one of the models promoting the Frye Festival, if you want to know about it, check out here Instagram.