‘I just want to be about Louis Vuit­ton, and and Revlon. Amaz­ing hair, con­tour­ing, in­spir­ing young girls’

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - CELEBRITY -

DRESS R32 400 GUCCI; CASADEI SHOES R12 590 PRE­VIEW SHOES; EAR­RINGS BONANG’S OWN

Most tweets are retweets, with or with­out com­ments and a colour­ful use of emo­jis. ‘There is a cer­tain way I want to present my­self,’ she says. ‘Peo­ple love the at­ten­tion they get from me.’ If she didn’t man­age her so­cial me­dia ac­counts her­self, she be­lieves her fol­low­ers would re­act to the loss of au­then­tic­ity.

But be­ing on the front line means she’s not pro­tected from neg­a­tive com­ments. ‘Ev­ery sin­gle word in the world that you can think of, I’ve been called. I have en­coun­tered the worst. The very worst.’

Bonang, who is 29, has be­come all but un­miss­able. She has a pro­duc­tion com­pany, a lin­gerie line with Wool­worths, and a ra­dio show, The Front Row, on Metro FM. Not to men­tion host­ing SABC’s Top Billing and Af­ter­noon Ex­press. She also has her Revlon en­dorse­ment and is an am­bas­sador for French vodka brand Cîroc.

Her heart, how­ever, re­mains in tele­vi­sion – ‘that’s how I was in­tro­duced into the busi­ness’ – but she loves her ra­dio show for its im­me­di­acy and in­ti­macy. ‘Ac­tu­ally,’ she says, ‘I love ev­ery­thing I do. I only do work that I love.’

It’s al­most eight hours since we started the shoot and we’re hav­ing a drink in one of the ho­tel’s lux­ury suites. The bed is strewn with rem­nants of the day’s work – clothes, shoes and bags. It was a long, as­sis­tant oc­ca­sion­ally pop in and out the room, pack away her stuff, check on her, ask ques­tions about to­mor­row’s sched­ule – her morn­ing ra­dio show and a shoot for a Revlon cam­paign. Still, there is clearly no rush to get home to any­body or any­thing. One rea­son, as she sug­gests later, is that she’s got no com­mit­ments at home: not a dog, a cat, or even

this past six months had hap­pened to me six years ago, I would be a duck’s back.’ She is re­fer­ring to com­ments on so­cial me­dia re­lat­ing to a two-and-a-half-year re­la­tion­ship with DJ Eu­phonik. When I probe, she curtly says, ‘It hap­pened in 2012, and I left it in 2012. I don’t want to drag this dead dog across the street.’

She is cur­rently dat­ing rap­per AKA who, she says, treats her like gold. The day be­fore our cover shoot, the cou­ple had re­turned from a short hol­i­day in Mau­ri­tius. Her down­time is spent trav­el­ling, mostly to see fam­ily in Dur­ban and her two best friends, who live in Cape Town and Kenya re­spec­tively. ‘I take a lot of hol­i­days,’ she con­fesses.

It’s not all planes and cham­pagne, though – she’s been work­ing on loves. ‘It’s all about fash­ion and lifestyle: about lux­ury, beauty, travel and glam­our. Brands that come to me don’t only want to tap into my market, they also want to at­tach to Bonang. I don’t at­tach to them.’

She’s so com­mit­ted to her work, she says that when asked if she’ll have chil­dren, she tells peo­ple to ask her when she’s go­ing to Mi­lan in­stead. ‘I just want to be about Louis Vuit­ton, and Top Billing and Revlon. Amaz­ing hair, con­tour­ing, in­spir­ing young girls.’

Bonang’s fans are mostly young and fe­male, and she is in­ter­ested in sup­port­ing girls es­pe­cially while they are tran­si­tion­ing be­tween school and post-school stud­ies, or be­tween study­ing and the work­place. Girls go into their cho­sen ca­reers with de­ter­mi­na­tion. She gives work­shops Bonang has been recog­nised for her work with many awards, most re­cently by win­ning this year’s Oliver Em­pow­er­ment Award for Top Em­pow­ered Me­dia Per­son­al­ity of the Year.

I ask her how she copes on a bad day. ‘In this in­dus­try, no­body cares if you’re hav­ing a bad day. “The show must go on. You have to be

And yet… ‘I have gone through the worst pain: an ex-boyfriend hav­ing a child with some­one else dur­ing our re­la­tion­ship. Be­ing beaten. Be­ing cheated on. Be­ing em­bar­rassed on so­cial me­dia nu­mer­ous times.

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