This was taken in London during my time staying at The Savoy London.
This was taken in London during my time staying at The Savoy London.
The fringe trend for Spring/Summer 2014 from designers such as Altuzarra, Miu Miu and Dior was a hit. It popped up at major fashion weeks all over the world last year, beginning with New York Fashion Week for SS14. Now that we’re in Spring here, this trend is popping up in South Africa. Here’s what I love from some shops nationwide.
Fashion week happens twice a year in the major fashion capitals of the world: New York, London, Milan, Paris and Berlin.
They each host a womenswear fashion week twice a year with New York beginning each season and the other cities following in the aforementioned order.
Fashion weeks are held several months in advance of the season to allow the press and buyers a chance to preview fashion designs for the following season. It’s also to allow time for retailers to arrange purchasing or incorporate the designers into their retail marketing.
There are two major seasons per year – Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer. From January through April designers showcase their Autumn/Winter collections. From September through November, designers showcase their Spring/Summer collections.
For womenswear, the Autumn/Winter shows always start in New York in February and end in Paris in March. Spring/Summer shows start in New York in September and end in Paris in October.
The latest innovations in dress designs are showcased by renowned fashion designers during these fashion weeks, and all these latest collections are covered in magazines such as Vogue
With Autumn here (Spring in South Africa), my attention was drawn to the Fall 2014 Men’s Suit Collection at Bonobos – a Menswear Fashion Brand from the US. They describe themselves as offering both “well-crafted, great fitting men’s clothing and a top-notch shopping experience that’s simple and painless.” Their new collection of wool suits, tweed blazers and tuxedos seem to go hand-in-hand with the crisp Fall weather and Autumn leaves. Ladies, these would make a great gift for your boyfriend / hubby! Connect with Bonobos on their Facebook, their Blog and their Instagram.
I’ve never been a makeup expert. This changed a little when I got into the film industry 3 years ago. In such a space, us ladies always want to look our best! I’ve needed to learn some basics. Here are a few tips I can pass on to you. One thing I find amazing is the difference a bit of eye shadow can make. It’s crazy how you can make your eyes pop with a colour. These guidelines are great for when in the professional arena or for when you dress up to go out on the town.
Any shade actually works with brown. Lucky you!
+ Dark Greys / Ash (Smokey Eyes)
+ Dark Greens
Here’s me trying something a little different during a shoot with Seagram Pearce in Cape Town!
Cover Photo: Death To The Stock Photo
After quite an emotional week for the country, with the Oscar Pistorius verdict, I’m hoping to simply wind down this weekend. I still don’t know what to believe. A lot of my friends overseas aren’t convinced he’s telling the truth. The papers here were critical of him being cleared. Reeva was in the industry I’m in, not to mention she was from my home town! It’s my aunt in the courtroom sitting next to her mother. Here are some interesting links for you:
Your categories are the main sections or “magazine columns” that you feature on your blog. Your categories can be a drop down menu on your sidebar. They should be simple and logical. Use hierarchies to organise your ideas better. Try think of a catchy angle for them so you peak your viewer’s interest and stand out from the rest.
Keep your design simple and appealing. Make it intuitive and well-structured. People should intuitively know how to navigate your space. Make pages along the top for sections you want to highlight. Use a category drop down menu and a follow widget wouldn’t hurt. If there are other platforms you want your viewers to know about, include those widgets also. A direct link to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram invites viewers to connect with you.
+ Who you want to appeal to (age group, gender, interests)
+ What your content will be (which topics you choose)
+ How involved you’ll get in your articles (short, long, lots of resources)
Plan out each piece well. It’s always a good idea to think about a catchy title and invest time into each piece. Edit and format your posts and add great designs to them. Write in a natural tone and keep it simple. Decide on your intentions with each post. Publish often (weekly is great). If your favourite magazine missed a few issues, you’d eventually find a replacement.
You write and publish something once, but who’s to say you can’t share that post once per month on Twitter, a couple times a year on Facebook or every other month on Google+? Pinterest is a lovely fresh platform with a constant stream of ideas. It’s a great way to advertise your blog. Make a board dedicated to your blog and pin your stuff to it! It will make it easier for people to find you and re-pin your stuff. Due to the “timeline” nature of most social media platforms, if you only share something once, it will only be seen by a small percent of your followers. It’s also a good idea to make an advert with your heading and URL on for sharing purposes.
Your readers/clients have specific questions, desires and needs. You can start to figure out these needs by putting yourself in their shoes. What would you want to read about if you were them, visiting your blog? What tools can make things simpler for your viewers? Why do they come to your blog? Read more about figuring this out here.
Remember to keep your material current and up-to-date. Try cater for a blog audience while maintaining your brand goals and sanity. This is, of course, if you are operating your blog like a business.
The things you spend money on are the things you want to get value out of. The things you spend money on are the important things that you care about. The best things in life are free, but some of the things that help you create your best life cost money. Invest in marketing your blog online or elsewhere if you want the traffic that will get you money in the long run.
This means short titles, bullet points and headings. Also, it means blog posts which aren’t too long.
….One that includes suggested post dates and categories. Editorial Calendar WordPress plugin is great because I like a visual representation of when I should post. Without a calendar and some type of plan, you’ll get around to that one post about that one thing on the 10th of NeverEver.
Sponsored blogging (getting paid to publish promotional stuff) must be scheduled into your usual blogging routine. A lot of the time, clients/sponsors need a date for publishing. It’s good to plan ahead so you can give them an exact date.
Creative people are always thinking. Sometimes I have great ideas that pop into my head which I jot down. When I get around to writing a post, I’m always excited to publish it straight away. But I’ve learnt that it’s better to save the draft and give it an ‘incubation’ period in your head. Trust me, you’ll think of different things to add over a period of just 24 hours which will add value to your post.
Enjoy your own space online. Add photos of your life. Write the way you would speak in real life. See how you do this in my post Find Your Voice Online.
It’s a good idea to have quality photos of yourself. These will come in handy for your “about” page, as well as any articles you write where you have personal experience. Allow your readers to connect with you! Keep a professional flavour by getting nice photos taken. It’s good for you and will be a plus for the photographer. There’s power in collaboration!
That post you wrote three months ago? It totally needs a link to the post you published earlier this week because they’re heavily related and your readers will be happy to have guided/quick access to both. Always keep in mind that no matter what order you write things in, any post or page on your website has the potential to be the first post a visitor sees. P.S. Blog audits are also a great way to make sure you’ve included your affiliate links and product/service links in all the organic ways possible.
Make sure to double-check your articles.
No one likes a person who never responds to anything. Granted, you may be so “big time” that you can’t get to every blog comment or tweet, but none of them? I’ll accept that when you become the President of the United States. Even then, you can hire some people to help you out!
There may be a new blog post you’ve written, a new eBook you can sell, a problem you can fix or a service you can offer that is lingering in questions from readers. Cultivate community around your blog so people feel they are in a safe space where they are supported and encouraged. Grow a family around your blog. You do this by being attentive to your readers.
Once you have a healthy collection of quality content to lead people back to, pitch to some sites that fit your brand (or that are frequented by your ideal readers) to do a guest post. Think about larger online magazines and websites as well. These guest posting opportunities will help you build relationships and will lead new readers back to your site.
If someone else is willing to say some valuable and entertaining stuff on your blog, let them. Make sure each post fits your blog, fits your readers, and is the type of quality content you want your blog to be known for. Make sure to promote your guest authors and show them love. They will likely spread the word of their guest post, which can potentially give you lots of new readers.
We creatives like shiny new projects and get distracted easily. When you have lots of ideas racing through your head, stop and focus your energy on one thing at a time. Make a list. Lists are great.
Photo: Death To The Stock Photo
In my acting classes at the New York Film Academy, we were often taught about embracing our inner truth. I never understood the concept. I originally thought it was just an acting thing! My teacher was strong, loud and confident. She was sure of herself and what she liked and didn’t like. She had so many stories about her days in acting class with Bradley Cooper! She was in touch with an incredible inner “knowing” of who she was. It was a core strength of utter authenticity. Over and above her clothing, there was an X-factor. It transcended a 1 dimensional existence. It was mesmerising! It was attractive! I wanted it! As the months rolled on, I threw myself into her teachings and soon came to a total understanding of the word “truth”. It wasn’t just an acting thing, it was a human thing. I ‘got’ that if we could learn to be free in our own unique footprints, we’d be so much more victorious in every day life.
So what is “Truth”?
If you’re going to try and contain your inner workings, human psyche and organically fluctuating creative spirit (also known as being a human being) in a box labelled “brand”, you’ll drive yourself crazy.
When it comes to business, there are things to a brand which must be in place. They are super relevant and should be well-planned. But publicists globally have now started a trend toward extending that concept to the personal human being. To be honest, I did enjoy reading the Personal Branding for Dummies article on developing your private brand!
Personal branding has become a huge money-making realm. Coaches in it teach us to:
+ calculate every part of ourselves precisely.
+ manipulate ourselves to portray a desired “angle” to the public at all times.
To me, that’s not branding. That’s a forced existence. It also opens up the can of worms of living for others. Can we be free in our own thoughts, feelings and emotions if we are living for others?
Why do we have to harness the expansiveness of the human spirit to limit it to a specific way of being?
– a logo
– a colour scheme
– a fashion style
– a haircut
– an attitude
– a music taste
– a behaviour
– a profile on a social platform
I believe in giving people the freedom to come and go as they want. I believe it’s everyone’s right to decide how they want to do stuff. I personally like innovating constantly. I believe its a good way to be effective. When we box ourselves in to do certain things, we shadow the multi-faceted prism of human nature. We run the risk of putting a blanket over our natural glow which changes all the time. As individuals, we aren’t a business. We have an ebb and flow of likes and dislikes. We don’t have to box ourselves in the way businesses have to.
A Brand is the “design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s product distinct from those of other sellers.”
We all like distinction. But we must remember that we don’t need to do any work in trying to be distinct. As humans from totally different backgrounds, countries, personal histories, families, religions and cultures, we already are distinct. We can simply stand in that. We don’t need to try harder to stand out more. We are already individual just by being here. No one else has our story.
I wouldn’t be looking at this topic if it hadn’t come up as a theme in my own life. Many people ask me about how I crafted my “brand” and I have no idea what they mean. I’ve always gone with the flow of my spirit and what it likes, when it likes it.
The whole idea of personal branding highlights the importance to me to draw the distinction between being human and being a brand. It’s my belief we should do away with the pressure of “branding” ourselves if we’re ever to live naturally and freely in the world.
We want to live naturally so we can be empowered in ourselves; so we can be happy. I think people can confuse themselves by trying to assign adjectives and labels to their being. Some spend hours crafting their behaviour and appearance across all their portals because they think they should. It stops being healthy when it comprimises your sanity.
I have friends who are actors, writers, designers, musicians, bloggers, models. They’re people with good talents first and foremost. They’ve started:
– dressing in a certain way to be “appealing”
– posting updates on Facebook about topics they’re not really into
– instagramming certain things
– speaking in a certain way
– tailoring their Facebook pages to be a certain “look”
There’s a part of them that feels they have to. But it sounds like a lot of effort to stage themselves for the world. Rather cultivate your own style of talking online; post about what you really like. I value the power of branding and marketing/PR strategy in the workplace. But when living as a personal entity, I see more power in authenticity. We can have many tastes and celebrate our varied preferences on a daily basis. There’s no need to label any of it, or change it to suit the world. It’s our individuality that makes us special.
At castings, I see people come in having changed their hairstyle or “look” because their agent said they must be a different “brand”. They change themselves. They try to be someone they authentically aren’t. It’s a disservice to their natural strengths, which no one else has. People can make the mistake of thinking fashion defines them. It doesn’t. You can choose to be classic and simple this week, and next week wear a scruffy sundress with messy hair. One of the constraints personal branding puts on people is to stick to a certain fashion. Fashion can hide who we really are. A lot of time can be saved when we realise we don’t need to focus too much on the tactics of branding as the world knows it in our personal capacity. Simply have core principles and the rest is fat on the bone.
If I think about it, let’s look at it practically. My husband one day won’t fit in to any “brand”. All I know is that the essence of his spirit will transcend what he’s wearing, what he’s driving, what music he’s listening to, how he acts, what his website looks like, what his instagram looks like, what he tweets or how popular he is on Facebook. My impression of him will be superior to all that. His business is one thing, his human-ness and personality is another. That’s his X-factor. His business needs a brand, he doesn’t. I know he will change every day. His tastes will evolve according to his truth, his fashion sense will transform over time, his values will change, his passions will vary. His simple, elegant “way of being” will fly in the face of any personal brand he meticulously crafted once. He won’t overthink his existence. And I won’t be able to put my finger on why I like him.
Some things to me are common sense, not brand buzzwords. Things like:
– Be authentic
– Treat others with respect
– Stand out in your own way
I also believe we all know these things on a instinctive level. There’s a deep X-factor which is all of you that you cannot force or change. You can try to dress it up or manipulate it to stick to an “angle”, but that wouldn’t be truth. That wouldn’t be your common sense.
When you put labels on yourself, you create a need to be loyal to “consistency” which brand building entails. This is pressure. As human beings, we are naturally inconsistent. Things are happening to us every day which shape how we think and how we do things. What I feel today will be different to what I feel tomorrow. To force yourself to be the same all the time could be suffocating. To force others to be the same is also suffocating. That’s a huge disservice to the mind. We should all give ourselves equal permission to flourish.
When you agree to trust and surrender to who you really are on a daily basis, you’ll have a deep contentment. You’ll stop needing to control yourself or others. Business is the only thing that needs a “spin” on it.
Truth begins with knowing who you are this morning and that you will grow and adapt by sunset. It’s enjoying your personal way of being and of doing. It’s not trying to understand it, it’s going with the flow of it. It’s being proud of it. My teacher knew that.
– It’s Not a Brand
– It’s Not Boxing Yourself In
– It’s Natural Distinction
– It’s Your Own Style
– It’s Your X-Factor
– It’s Your Common Sense
– It’s Changing Every Day
My teacher embraced these things. As a result, she was whole. It made her energy irresistable.
Sell your cleverness and purchase bewilderment.
Photo: Death to the Stock
The Courtyard Hotel in Port Elizabeth has 91 suites and studios and it’s located 8 minutes from the CBD and 10 minutes from the Airport. It offers stunning views of Algoa Bay + is a 5 minute walk from one of Port Elizabeth’s premier attraction, The Boardwalk Hotel & Casino.
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
City Lodge Hotel Group has a beautiful thing going here. The Courtyard Hotel was pretty on the eye, well-run and inviting. The staff were all very capable of making me feel safe, organised and welcome. They truly aimed to give me the best service and insight into the city’s tourist attractions for my convenience and pleasure. I had two dedicated receptionists – Pretty and Roniqu- who were cheerful and professional. A special mention must also be made to Matthews and Thabisa.
I found the room very clean and spacious. A large bathroom offering a bath and shower greeted me, as well as a self-catering kitchenette with coffee and tea making facilities. This was beyond my expectations for a standard room. I enjoyed the full DSTV bouquet and the balcony, overlooking Port Elizabeth’s gorgeous ocean. A thrilling sunrise greeted me when I woke up from a cold South African winter’s night – Thank goodness for the air conditioner to warm me up. I was also pleased with the cosy bed and the extra blanket.
The complimentary drinks and snacks at the fireplace in the hotel’s lounge relaxed me after I arrived to check in following a busy day! Complimentary hot snacks and drinks – alcoholic and non-alcoholic – are available to guests every night between 5pm and 7pm. The sight of their large, well-furnished lobby and seating area was a sight for sore eyes. I loved the modern feel of the whole hotel. I particularly remember how sweet the air smelt when I caught sight of their clean, blue pool overlooking the salty PE sea.
Breakfast offered a delectable selection for guests. There was an extensive buffet for both Continental and full English options. Here’s a tip: Try ordering a white omelette – the chef prepares it superbly.
If you like your Internet access, The Courtyard Hotel offers 60 minutes complimentary Wif-Fi daily. If you’re a health fundi, they also have a gym! For business travel, make sure to use their conference room.
Port Elizabeth has a lot to offer the tourist. A day trip to Kragga Kamma Game Park can be organised by the hotel. For R185 you can do a 2-hour safari and the hotel can organise transport for you. If you like wildlife, my other suggestions are:
African Dawn Wildlife Sanctuary in Jeffrey’s Bay (about 1 hour outside of Port Elizabeth)
Again, the hotel offers a “kind-cierge” which organises day trips for you.
For an experience at sea, I recommend Jester Cruises. They offer 90 minute cruises through the bay at R150 on Saturdays and Sundays between 3pm and 4:30pm. On Wednesday and Saturday evenings, their braai cruises are R100 more per person and run from 6:30pm-10pm.
If you’re anything like me, you would enjoy a true African Spa experience. I visited the Africology Spa – a 5 minute walk from the hotel. The hotel can organise a shuttle for you. This spa experience is definitely a must for the tourist if you need some pampering. I enjoyed a cleansing 35 minute “Majestic Spa Awakening” therapeutic massage. It treated my neck, shoulders and scalp. My therapist, Zola, is a true asset to her craft. Her massage ability is heaven-sent and her God-given ability will leave you asleep on the bed. Enjoy this for R400. During this month of July, they are offering a “Madiba” special, which includes an extra 20 minute foot massage. The spa also offers Hydrotherapy, Grooming Packages and Skin Wraps. For an added R150, enjoy a sauna, hydro-bath or steam therapy. End off your experience with a cup of mint tea in their relaxation room.
Sun International’s Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World
PE is also famous for its “Stanley Street” which can be compared to the Camps Bay strip in Cape Town. No ocean, but many pretty bars and restaurants. (Hint: Make sure to get a taste of craft beer at the Beeryard in the evening. A small tasting tray is only R25!)
Thank you City Lodge! And thank you to my photographer Kevin Ruth.
This past couple months has been very busy. On the Skybok front, we filmed a couple awesome places to add to our database of online video profiles showcasing South Africa. Scoot on over to our blog here and read about them. This includes work not only showcasing places here in Cape Town, but also work done at the Durban Travel Indaba. Read about it and see pictures here. I’ve done some voice work at my favourite studio, West Beach Studio, which is run by music producer Frank Smuts who also happens to be one of South Africa’s top triathletes! I did an awesome interview with Grootbos Nature Reserve who recently hosted me to blog about their 5-star luxury resort. Check out the interview here and read my article on the place here. Concurrent to that, I did an interview for HotelsCheap.Org on what to expect when travelling to South Africa – read the interview here. On the PR / Social Media Management side of things, the RetroAfrika Bioscope has received some stunning news regarding their digitally remastered 1980’s South African film Joe Bullet; that it’s to be premiered at the Durban International Film Festival in July this year. Check out their press received here and their gallery of behind-the-scenes at the Waterfront Film Studios here. Up in Johannesburg, The Art Meets Fashion event took place at Constitution Hill and showcased some stunning work by local fashion designers and artists, following in the footsteps of its partner event up in New York. Read about my involvement as an ambassador for this cause here. International collaborations to strengthen ties between South Africa and the rest of the world in order to move us forward in the global arena in any and all creative spheres is something I feel passionately about. I feel we have a pool of undiscovered talent here. Modelling wise, I did a great hair shoot with Sarah Keogh who is an asset to her craft and always produces strong images. I’m looking forward to the BWA Awards (Business Women’s Association of South Africa) in which I’m a finalist in the category of “Emerging Entrepreneur” and whose ceremony is at The Crystal Towers here in Cape Town this week. On the blogging front, an exciting enterprise coming up is a campaign I’m taking part of with City Lodge Hotel Group, where they’re sponsoring me to travel to their hotels around the country and blog. Looking forward to a busy month ahead with lots of different projects! Hopefully I can provide you with some entertaining stories 😉
What have you been up to? Are you in the film industry here in SA?