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‘The Official Perfume plug’ Guru, Zesipho Mncwango Speaks On Her Next-Gen Reign & Climbing To New Heights

In celebration of our Glamour Women of the Year 2023 powered by TRESemmé. We caught up with our Next-Gen winner, Zesipho Mncwango, an exceptional individual who has demonstrated unparalleled dedication, resilience, and innovation in the field of content creation. She remains to inspire and empower others through her contributions to the industry.

She is the founder of ‘The Official Perfume Plug’, using digital content creation to hone her passion for perfumes. Now an expert in the field, she offers tips, advice and insights on all things luxury fragrances. Using her experience as a Brand Manager of iconic, global, aspirational brands to create the platform.

Dotted a women of courage, creativity and relentless ambition, she continues to use her career and life as a masterclass in what it means to find one’s purpose.

GLAMOUR: Tell us about your career journey?

ZESIPHO MNCWANGO: I’m a Brand Manager and Content Creator. Being on both sides of the spectrum and wearing both of those hats is my unique superpower. I love aspirational brands that inspire people to dream, so my career has spanned across premium, luxury and accessible-premium brands in the Beauty and Liquor industries,. I’m a purpose-led marketer, I love brands that positively impact the world. And I looove working on brands that empower women and shift popular-culture.

GLAMOUR: How did The Official Perfume Plug come about?

ZM: What was supposed to be a passion-project has turned into South Africa’s official fragrance platform. I took a leap from the luxury Beauty industry to the Liquor industry. It was like that iconic Devil Wear’s Prada moment of leaving “the job a million girls would kill for [laughs]” That’s cause I relish in change, being uncomfortable and growing from those experiences.

Fragrance and Perfumery is the only sphere of the Beauty industry that still prides itself on being exclusive and exclusionary. Democratising Beauty has always been my zhuzh, so this chapter felt right to take Perfumery form being part of my 9-5 to it being a passion and hobby that I share with an online community who want to also learn about and appreciate Perfume.

GLAMOUR: Why do you think you have been so successful in this space?

ZM: By many measures I haven’t scratched the surface of The OfficialPerfumePlug realising its full potential and success. Everything thus far is all down to G.O.D. and W.O.R.K. Credibility is my superpower – I share knowledge that empowers the audience. When something gets The OfficialPerfumePlug stamp of approval, it makes people want to get their hands on it.

It’s so easy and fun to create content to connect a community, my authentic passion for sharing and learning about perfume illuminates everything. I’m also a product of incredible and authentic female-leaders: My Mama, Bawi Kwela, Lauren Tolond, Kavisha Vather, Vicki Herbertson, Tania Kotze, Natasha Maharaj, Maija-Liina Hansen-Chipps, Paigon Prince.

GLAMOUR: How does it feel to you to be the recipient of the

ZM: The reason that this Next Gen award in particular means so much is because it’s a nod of affirmation that I am on the right path, that the industry sees The OfficialPerfumePlug, and more importantly, that the world eagerly awaits even more of what I have to still offer.

I feel excited and fired-up to keep doing the damn thing!

GLAMOUR: What does this award mean to you?

ZM: My mom shared a VN of a neighbour at our ancestral home in eCwaka (a village in Empangeni KZN) exclaiming how excited they were when I received the award. The feeling of making your people proud is everything.

GLAMOUR: TRESemme is the sponsor of the Next Gen Award category, which aims to empower women and promote confidence through their hair care products. What has your hair journey been like?

ZM: Gurrrrl, it has been beautiful, messy and bumpy AF. No cap! The most important thing about the hair journey – much like life – is been being okay with change and embracing getting uncomfortable, letting go and starting afresh.

I’ve done everything from the Zozibini fade, a Badu ‘fro, to the iconic Solange box-braids. Right now I’m between wigs and a bald(ish) chiskop – I enjoy being multifaceted and switching it up.

“Since we started our journey with GLAMOUR in 2022, we’ve told the stories of women from different backgrounds and industries who have been unapologetically ambitious and have done so with style. Zesipho's ambition to democratise luxury and champion more education, representation and inclusivity in the fragrance sector is the kind of story we believe is worth celebrating.” - TRESemmé

GLAMOUR: What are some of your favourite everyday hairstyles?

ZM: I am a 9-5 girl, I’m not doing anything that isn’t convenient Monday-Friday. I either fah-fah some Tres heat defence spray, straighten a wig and head to the office, or its me and my chiskop giving the people corporate-girl era.

GLAMOUR: Hair perfume has been on the horizon lately. What are some other fragrance trends we can look forward to?

ZM: Your girl is officially a taste-maker, curating and predicting Fragrance trends. Big PURRRR. The 2 terms we will discuss the most in 2024 are:

Discovery Kits: They are the best way to build variety in your collection in a pocket friendly way; so they’re [almost] economy-proof

South African Fragrance brands: Much like South African artistry’s time has come in music, fashion and culture in general, there are exciting and really special niche brands that we need to tap into celebrating and appreciating in 2024.

GLAMOUR: What are your top tips for selecting a perfume?

ZM: Explore the 4 fragrance families to first and foremost establish whether your scent personality sits within Floral, Amber, Woody of Fresh scents.

Blind-buying TikTok famous fragrances online is an extreme sport: If you’re still learning your scent personality, play it safe by always trying a fragrance on your skin; scent blends uniquely with each person’s body chemistry. Wear a fragrance for a few hours before deciding whether its for you; some fragrances are non-linear meaning the scent will change and evolve as it develops.

GLAMOUR: Now that you are a Next Gen award winner, what are some of your goals and aspirations for the future?

ZM: My vision board consists of continuing to creating more social media, Radio and TV content that empowers people to learn how to choose, use and appreciate their fragrances.

I dream of hosting events that bring Fragrances-lovers together, and creating product-offerings from The OfficialPerfumePlug that people can own and use as tools to elevate their understanding and appreciation for Fragrance. I’ve had prayed over those goals for some time and I have faith that they’ll manifest.

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