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What is Your Truth? (Part One)


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Firstly, here's what it's not

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”?

1. It’s Not a Brand

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?

2. It’s Not Boxing Yourself In

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.”

– Wikipedia

3. It’s Natural Distinction

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.

4. It’s Your Own Style

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.

5. It’s Your X-Factor

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.

6. It’s Your Common Sense

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.

7. It’s Changing Everyday

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.

– Rumi

Photo: Death to the Stock

Social Media Marketing + PR

On Instagram


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Here are a few tips I’d like to share with you about taking great photos for your Instagram:

+ Get Close up and personal

Whether you’re eating a salad, see a cute animal or want to capture a lovely moment with someone, getting close to the subject comes across really well. Enjoy an angle you wouldn’t have otherwise tried from up close and you will see your shot becomes so much more effective. Photograph that cup of coffee or your make-up spread across the vanity in a different way that you haven’t seen done before by getting close and trying a different angle. Once you add your filter it will look like something out of a magazine!

+ Stick to the square

Unfortunately, Instagram gives you a strict option of cropping when you upload your pictures. Sometimes a stunning vertical photograph you see before you wouldn’t work on Instagram. Remember that when shooting and just ‘stick to the square’ when composing your shot!

+ Tap to Focus

This is a wonderful little feature I only just realized myself. With all of these smartphones, you can tap on a subject within your frame which you specifically want to stand out in your shot. Say you are capturing a crop of daisies, but have one in particular that you want to stand out, tap it on the screen as you hold your phone up to take the picture. You’ll see it comes into focus and the others sort of fade to the background. This adds such a beautiful and interesting dimension to your shots, and I highly recommend it.

+ Be Aware of Light

Natural lighting is the best for Instagram. Rather stay away from using your flash. Move near a window if you must. If you want to specifically take a ‘mood’ shot by shooting in the dark, leave it at that and allow your peers to see what you are experiencing.

My Life in Africa

COSMO’s Swimwear Pool Party to Kick Start Summer 2012


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I recently attended the Cosmo summer pool party. They truly outdid themselves this year for the event which was held at Shandiz Restaurant & Cocktail Bar, Mandela Rhodes Place, corner of Wale and Burg Street, Cape Town. I loved the design of the space. Everything was big, bold & colourful. I thoroughly enjoyed some of the eye candy that was walking around serving the food and giving away free stuff. It started at 5pm and wrapped up at 10pm. All in all a great night with awesome friends, thanks Cosmo SA. The venue was fantastic and the weather was perfect. If you want to see more of my pics from the event, click HERE. To see Cosmo’s professional photos from the event (photos by Paul Ward) click HERE. Were you there? How have you kick-started Summer?? Tweet me at @TamikaDoubell.

with SABC Expresso Show’s Graeme Richards
with Playmate of the year Jade Fairbrother & SABC Expresso Show’s Leigh-Anne Williams

opening our fortune cookies

COSMOPOLITAN turned up the heat this weekend to celebrate the long-awaited arrival of summer. Held at Shandiz Mandela Rhodes Place, the crystal clear pool with its cityscape backdrop was the perfect way to enjoy the first of many pool parties this festive season. Guests were treated to cocktails, delicious snacks, loads of ice cream and some very hot bodies. The stunning Anthea Schotlz opened the event with a sexy sunset session followed by an amazing performance by Goldfish.

My Life in Africa

Exhibition at the Ron Belling Art Gallery


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I’m back in PE for a bit. I love exploring and so this past weekend I found a gorgeous little coffee shop that’s recently opened up called “Brioche”. I just adore it. Especially their sticky almond croissants. They have a nice craft shop next door with all sorts of things for sale. I liked some unusual chairs that I found… not to mention a basil plant with a hand-made green cover that had my name on it!

I also discovered another cute place belonging to a good family friend of ours, Dessie. I’m a huge fan of sweets, so this place is probably very bad for me because as you walk in to ‘The Tin Shack On Cuyler’, you’re met with rows and rows of sweets from the Treat Company.

Something else I did recently which was very cool was an art exhibition at The Ron Belling Art Gallery. An artist named Duncan Stewart was showing his latest creations from his recent trip to Pakistan. He trekked up the Baltoro Glacier in Pakistan and has returned with art based on what he saw. It’s deeply spiritual and very profound to see all that he saw through his work, especially reading the accompanying write-ups to each painting which explain a little more about what he was thinking when he painted it and how he was inspired. Don’t you just love culture?

There was a wall covered in photographs and sketches from his journey… and it was so mind-boggling to see how he stayed in a tent in the freezing snow at one stage. I don’t think I could ever do that. I’m all for spiritual journeys but yikes, Brrrr! He met so many different kinds of people which was fascinating to see. I liked his landscapes but I must say that I prefer people when it comes to art because of the emotions you can see on their faces. Here is one work which I really liked, called ‘Twittering’.

❤ My Work, Modelling

Top Model at The Hilton in London


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Being in the heart of London as a South African representative for Top Model 2012 was a huge honour for me. The whole experience was something I looked forward to for quite some time! All in all it was two weeks in the UK – one of which was entirely dedicated to the runway show and its surrounding PR and events. What a fabulous adventure it was. Held at The Hilton Metropole in London, the show featured models from all around the world showing the designs of renowned designers & labels. These included Gianni Lilliu, Luna Sky, Analili New York by Daisy & Mac Bermuda, Fabryan, Eva Grygo, Wot The Frok by Naomi Quarrinton, Garcia by Daisy & Mac Bermuda, Remus Uomo, Gingerbread and Omar Mansoor, who showed at London Fashion Week 2012.

Probably my favourite evening leading up to the show was the VIP Pre-show launch party held at a nightclub in SOHO. It was such a radical nightclub! I loved the floor. Everyone was there – models, judges, sponsors, stylists – and we all just met each other and partied the night away.

The theme was “Naughty or Nice” and, well, I bought some devil horns, a bowtie and a tail:)

The winner was an awesome girl from Nigeria, Tarmar, who I became great friends with!

See another article I wrote about my time in London: Here We Go, London, as well as some incredible things I’ve been involved with since: My Adventures Since London. I had an amazing time in the UK. On one of the days we managed to go to Buckingham Palace –

I thought I saw Harry peeking out from one of the rooms….!

A few days after jet-setting home, I had to down a Redbull and take myself off to The Loop Nightclub in Cape Town to MC the Traffic Clothing Winter Collection Fashion Show. This time I was behind the microphone and not on the runway 😛 It was a show put on by Younique Concepts – started by one of South Africa’s top female DJ’s Vanessa Holliday, in this pic below. Also in the pic below is the owner of The Loop nightclub, Mark Lifman. It was an incredible event run by a very efficient and professional group of people – all at Younique Concepts. There was a HUGE crowd and amazing music by Monique Pascal which the 10 models supplied by Twenty Management modeled to. There were brilliant prize give-aways from the likes of Rikkis Taxis, Traffic clothing and the Pepper Club amongst others. Sponsors/contributors for the night included GQ and Glamour Magazines, Redken, Gordon’s Gin, Vida e caffè, Le Chocolatier, Soft Lips and more….

Creative Inspiration

What Do You Know For Sure?


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Spirituality

Nice lessons

  • Become the change you want to see
  • Everything you’ve ever done prepares you for all you can do
  • How you spend your time defines who you are
  • Giving yourself time to just be and not do is essential to fulfilling your mission as a human being
  • The truth is that which feels right, good and loving
  • Loving [on another] doesn’t hurt. It feels really good
  • To know that people care about how you’re doing when the doings aren’t so good-that’s what love is
  • Right now you’re one choice away from a new beginning
  • The problems that make you shout ‘Mercy!’ will build your courage and determination

Maya Angelou

Looking through my notepad of good lessons I’ve jotted down, I came across some more from a very famous writer and poet whom I admire greatly, Maya Angelou:

  • I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.
  • I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.
  • I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.
  • I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life.
  • I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
  • I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back…
  • I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.
  • I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.
  • I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug or just a friendly pat on the back…
  • I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.

Other famous icons

I like reading the more in-depth interviews that Oprah’s had with famous figures over in the US, such as Joan Brackwell who is a TV Presenter, journalist and broadcaster. Joan’s message is “Accept the Chaos” – she explains that everything takes longer than we think it will….shopping, phoning home, growing up, getting pregnant and being happy.

The Dalai Lama has another message about what he ‘knows for sure’. He tells us to “Weigh up the Consequences” – he says before we act we should always consider the whole situation and conduct it holistically. He stresses that something he’s learnt is to consider the consequences and implications of our actions before we do them, and appreciate that sometimes it’s wise to undergo a small suffering if doing so will allay a greater pain.

Car Honore is interviewed in one of her magazines and he says he’s an advocate of the “Slow Movement”. His message is to “Find Your Inner Tortoise”. I especially liked this one because it reminded me of myself and my sometimes overwhelming lifestyle. Between Facebook, Instant messaging, Twitter, Instagram, Blogging, e-mailing and Skyping, we are over-stimulated with technology and it can sometimes leave you feeling breathless and scattered. I even ask myself often; “Woah, what’s the rush?” He recalls the story of The Hare and the Tortoise and how everyone today seems to have forgotten that it’s the tortoise who wins. He says that like the tortoise, we should slow down and simply take our time with some things. “It’s not slacking; it’s taking the time to do what you do well, and not feeling guilty about having a little ‘me-time’.” He says stop believing that you need to ‘have it all now’ because that’s just a recipe for hurrying. He asks us to consider letting go of the clutter – the project at work that doesn’t really need our input, or the party we might say yes to because we don’t want to miss out.  He wants us to slow down because we can be more creative when we do things more ‘deeply’.

Finally, Arja Salafranca is a female journalist and poet in the U.S who also has a say in the matter. What she knows for sure is that rejoicing in everyday pleasures is the key to staying young. “Tell me I am going on a Danube cruise this year and I am delirious with joy. Show me a review with my byline and I am as thrilled as the first time I saw my name in print.” She says not to lose our enthusiasm for ordinary, everyday pleasures as well as mundane realities because in the long run we’ll be surprised at how youthful we can keep.

My friends’ advice

  • Nothing is ever how it seems
  • The closest ones to you will always hurt you the worst and you’ll forgive them
  • I’ve done my job with the precious time I have if I leave the world in a better place than I found it
  • Follow your dreams and do what motivates you, not others. Because when people are passionate about something they love no matter if it’s in business or personal growth, they will perform and achieve greater things than if they follow someone else’s dreams
  • You haven’t lived until you’ve found something worth dying for
  • Things are never what they seem; there is always a bigger picture or something behind what you see
  • What I know for sure is that you can never be sure of something
  • Being with the person you love will destroy the strength you thought was real and give you strength you never realised was possible
  • It’s not what you say but how you say it and likewise it’s not what you do, but how you do it
  • Every action has a reaction
  • You will definitely burn if you stay in the sun too long
  • I know for sure God lives and that the spiritual realm is more alive than people can believe. If more people could endeavour to become stronger in the spirits, they would overcome life’s circumstances with a different view; a God view
  • Life is not fair, but it also holds no grudges. And, like chess, you can win from any position on the board
  • Your gut is always right… Trust it
  • Life is full of many uncertainties; highs and lows, confusion and possibilities for anything! The only thing I know for sure is that with God’s direction and guard, life can be EXACTLY what He intended, with the intended peace of mind!

My personal favourite

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

My Life in Africa

The Hout Bay Market


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I love visiting markets. I’ve been to two well-known markets here in Cape Town, and yesterday marked the third. The Hout Bay Market in Hout Bay – a coastal suburb in a valley along the Atlantic Seaboard of the Cape Peninsula – hosts a lovely organic food market every weekend. They also have arts & crafts. I won’t lie it’s a bit of a drive. I travelled with three crazy friends which was great for me because the drive was so long but felt like five minutes with the crew I was with. I enjoyed the festive atmosphere and the seafood.

Brand Promos

How much have you done for Charity?


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“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” – John Bunyan. Great words from a great man; pressing on the importance of giving. For all such givers in the Port Elizabeth area, this week sees the cocktail launch of the 2011 “Santa Shoebox Project”. This inspiring community initiative co-ordinates the donation, collection and distribution of personalized Christmas gifts to underprivileged children.

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