Ayanda Thabethe is a South African supermodel, international spokeswoman for POND’S and L’Oreal’s Mizani Collection as well as an award-winning TV Host on TOP BILLING, and lead actress on the hit series Rockville.
Ayanda graduated with a BCOM Communication Management from the University of Pretoria (2007) and later an Honours Marketing degree from the University of South Africa (2011). She used her educational accomplishments as a base for a stellar career at some of the world’s leading organisations.
Ayanda is also Managing Director and Founder of Buzzworthy Productions, servicing companies who aim to create “a buzz” for their brands. The agency has been in operation since 2011 with a growing client list that includes Nestle, L’Oreal, Tsogo Sun, Denel Aviation, to name a few.
She also has a keen interest in developing, encouraging and creating sustainable and practical solutions for entrepreneurs and is one of the founders of a non-profit organisation called the African Emancipation Foundation which has worked with the likes of Standard Bank and Wits Business School to bring to life their yearly activities namely entrepreneur related talks and year-end functions for entrepreneurs.
Hey Ayanda, can you give us some background information on your career prior to where you are today?
My TV hosting career started back when I was in the corporate enterprise as a marketing intern. I would go to castings on my lunch breaks and if I was cast for a shoot, I would then have to take leave on the days that I was booked to shoot. Even though I was in a corporate career, I always knew that I was born to entertain and I finally honoured that calling in 2015 when I decide to take a leap of faith and join the world of entertainment full-time. Before I took the leap of faith I was a brand manager for an ethnic hair care range at L’Oreal with 2 degrees under my belt. I’ve always believed in having something to fall back on as the entertainment industry not stable at all.
You are the face of L’Oreal’s Mizani Collection Global Ambassador, how did that come about?
I am lucky in the sense that I used to work for L’Oreal and the brand managers and the team I had the privilege of knowing them before my star came to be in the entertainment world. Because of that, they followed my career even outside my corporate path. They were able to see my growth and the traction behind my brand and I in turn, always stayed connected to them. When the time was right, they gave me a call to ask if I would like to join the Mizani family and it was a no-brainer for me. I trusted the brand and the company because I knew how invested they are in researching and developing the best beauty and hair care solutions in the world.
You also recently opening Johannesburg’s new unisex luxury salon, Liyanda Hair & Beauty Salon at Melrose Arch, what was the incentive behind that?
I have always loved hair. I worked on an ethnic hair care brand as a brand manager and recently, in my career as a TV host – hair has played an integral part in formulating my own identity. Equipped with a vast degree of knowledge and passion in the hair care industry, I then decided that a hair care business was the best direction for me. I wanted to create a space that was luxurious and that offered women the best hair care solutions in an environment where they could enjoy some free and relaxed time; somewhere to leave their stressful lives behind for a few hours. That idea birthed the LIYANDA experience. A space where luxury is affordable with the best hair care results.
How do you handle pressure?
I simply push forward. I make sure that I always have a to-do list and that enables me to prioritize what’s important and what can afford to wait. I’ve had to also learn to be okay with the fact that sometimes things won’t go my way and that it’s fine to let the things that don’t work out just be. Sometimes the way to handle pressure is doing the best you can at every single moment and being content with knowing that you gave the best you could at that moment. Handling pressure also has a lot to do with cutting yourself some slack and giving yourself a pat on the back.
What about criticism?
I believe that criticism is good if it comes from a good place and it could have great solutions or advice on how you can do better. Good criticism is aimed at making you better. If the criticism does not have a solution and is aimed at bringing you down, it’s not worth listening to. I simply turn a blind eye to anything that does not resonate with how I’m feeling and that does not serve my highest purpose of being great at everything that I am involved in.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Starve your distractions and feed your focus.
Best advice you could give someone?
Trust your soul, it already knows where you are going. Thank you, Steve Jobs, for that one.
How do you stay motivated?
I always keep in mind that I have a high purpose to serve and one life in which to do it. The biggest disservice I could ever do to myself is not realizing that purpose or not emptying out all of my God-given purposes. When I think about what lies ahead, I can’t help but jump out of bed. My dreams excite me and keep me motivated and wanting more.
What does ultimate career satisfaction mean to you?
I dream of a time when I would have emptied out every ounce of talent I have in me, explored all opportunities and given the best that I can to my career – after that, I can bow out peacefully and gracefully.
How do you define success on your terms?
Being able to wake up every day to work that I love and enjoy, I consider that the highest privilege.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
I want to bag more TV shows and attract more endorsements while enjoying the show and deals I’m currently working on. I want to keep my soul and mind sound and peaceful. I want to enjoy the journey. I aim to do that by continuing to serve my current platforms to the best of my talent and abilities and hopefully that will have a trickle effect on other things I’m aiming for this year.
Finally, what can we expect from you in 2018?
I want to establish my businesses further and make sure that they can successfully run themselves. I want to do more of what I am doing on a larger and more impactful level. But, I truly believe that God has orchestrated my journey to even get this far and I believe that I have just touched the surface and He will continue to surprise me with great ventures and I can’t wait for that!