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A snapshot of our cover story featuring Nadia Jaftha

Ironically, I’ve been reflecting on the concept of time for a while now, and today is no different as I make my way to Camps Bay Retreat; a lush gem nestled in the heart of the leafy suburb. The first person I see is our fashion director, Tania Durand, who greets me warmly and shares that our cover star, Nadia Jaftha is a bit nervous about the interview, and I immediately affirm to her that I’ll be approaching it as a conversation.

Nadia is on the make-up chair when I walk into the cosy suite. With the formalities out of the way, she seems more relaxed. Considering that she shares intimate parts of her life with her 617 000 followers on Instagram and over 55 000 subscribers on YouTube, she feels somewhat familiar but I’m curious about all the elements that went into the makings of this dynamic woman. So where did it all begin for the award-winning content creator?

“I was born in Cape Town to very supportive parents. My mom has always been a hard worker so she passed on her work ethic to me.” As her biggest cheerleader it comes as no surprise that it’s a prank video featuring her mom that catapulted her career.

Having engaged with her fun content, I ask her to let us in on her creative process. “I’m a natural born content creator, even when we had to do presentations at school, I would do it in video format whenever I could. I still have the old hand-held VHS camera and the little cassettes that go in there. I love creating content, not necessarily of myself but of other people and showing their stories. Now that it translates into my work and I can do it for clients and brands, I can help other creators and influencers by showing them how to do it for themselves. That’s the ultimate goal for me.” Her contribution to social impact is also visible in the work she does through Ace Labs; a platform she co-founded to help creators grow their brands while building sustainable businesses in the process.

Photography: Franco Kellerman

It’s commendable that in a society where content is heavily curated, Nadia’s feed showcases her life in its authentic form. “You have to be intentional about everything because you can easily get lost in this industry, until you’re in it, you’ll have no way of knowing when you’re lost. There was a point where I lost myself for a bit, because I felt the pressure of people only wanting to see comedy content or they only like me when my mother is in the video. And when they see me in public, they’ll ask me where she is. You get all these comments, but after a while you become immune to them.” With this in mind, Nadia has steadily solidified her presence in the digital space.

Apart from her authenticity, she’s not afraid to use her voice. So how does drown out the noise? “You have to ask yourself, what is my truth? And then you have to go soul searching and fi nd out.” Affirming that it’s a beautiful position to be in, “although it breaks you down, you also put yourself together again. You realise what you actually stand for. You have to stand for something!”

As someone who expresses herself in different forms, she shares that her fans initially struggled with this, as they knew her as a content creator, so the thought of her venturing into music made them feel uncomfortable.

“The first song I did came of the back of me slowly showing that I’m singing on Instagram. I posted random videos of myself singing, and I hadn’t been exposed to the dark side of social media at the time. I was doing it with good intentions on my phone, alone in my room, forgetting that there were thousands of people on the other side of the screen. I didn’t think there was a possibility of getting hate for something I genuinely love doing. I had people saying I can’t sing, I’m just an influencer, asking who I think I am; but how would they know if I grew up singing at family functions?

Something I was actually forced to do and I’d make everyone close their eyes. People don’t know that though, they just assume your values based on how they view themselves.” This didn’t deter her though, as she went on to record her debut single, Paradise, which topped the charts for a few weeks. “I like to “fight back” by elevating instead of fuelling online drama. My progression is my payback.”

This also speaks to setting boundaries in the digital space, “there’s so much access that the public feels entitled to certain decisions I make in my life, it’s important to set those boundaries the same you would in any other relationship you have in your life.”

Photography: Franco Kellerman

Considering that social media is a double-edged sword, how does she navigate it in its duality? “I don’t think I can safely say I’m at a point where I know how to deal with everything because there are new elements and variables that come into play daily. When I go to an event for example, I don’t know if there’ll be that one person who’ll try to get a reaction out of me. So it’s important to always be grounded and to do the things that’ll keep me on the straight path.” From a mental health perspective, she says she tries to have practices in place that keep her mental health in check, “this includes Pilates, meditation or walking my dog. Those are the habits that ultimately give you a fulfilling life in the end.”

With her make-up done, she makes her way to the hair chair, I’m cognizant of the time, and I notice that she’s sporting a gold pendant on her wrist. “This is my HUAWEI WATCH GT 4 and it’s a big part of my lifestyle; as someone who is health, fitness and fashion forward, my watch complements all my looks; from the red carpet to my workouts. I simply change the straps or the face to suit the occasion, and it tracks my heart rate while I work out.”

This also speaks to the heart of the campaign, which fuses fashion and fitness. “I move between roles and I don’t always have time to change devices, so the all-in-one watch is perfect for me because it connects to any phone.”

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