#YemziGirl Interview May, Mpona
Mpona, budding Fashion PR, Stylist and soon to be television producer from Lesotho, South Africa.
It was summer 2015 that Mpona become a #YemziGirl after replying to an ad for our first intake of fashion interns to support the collection 1 (SS16) fashion presentation in Dalston. During this period I travelled to Nigeria for the first time and Mpona help down the small team in London. Since then Our feature girl has styled a Yemzi shoot and placed our pieces in FRUK magazine. Now she’s almost 3 years deep into a Fashion Public Relations career and has a few things to share with us about about her journey, future plans and marketing tips...
E: Hey Mpona, please introduce yourself including where you are from...
M: Hey, my name’s Mpona (obvs lol) originally from Lesotho, currently residing in London. I’m in fashion PR, work as a freelance stylist and currently starting a newish endeavour in TV and film ;)
Mphona styles for FRUK magazine using Yemzi collection, 2016
E: What does it mean to you to be from Lesotho?
M: Believe it or not, I haven’t appreciated being southern African for the longest time, but as I’ve gotten older I find myself falling more in love with the fact that I can call Lesotho home. We’re essentially this small little landlocked country that gained independence from the Brit’s and become our own ‘kingdom’. What in particularly proud of is the fact that we were able to survive through the likes of apartheid even though we were physically in the middle of the whole fiasco. So being Sotho gives me as much independence as my star sign (Aries) and I can’t deny how important that is to me!
E: Does being South African manifest itself in your work?
M: In terms of fashion. It hasn’t so far, however it has definitely manifested in my written work. I’ve always loved writing and reading and as I mentioned I’m trying out something new. It’s still very new but I’m writing a tv script which is based in SA. The whole inspo begins and what I’ve written is essentially being proudly southern African and diaspora. I am heading back for a few months just to fine turn and make sure I truly resonate with all things Sotho and South African, and make my work a true testament to who I am, what I know, and where I’m from (without sounding dramatic lol)... although it is a drama ha!
E: Name some South African talent from your hometown that we should know about?
M: It’s a shame to say I don’t know much about talent specifically from Lesotho, besides an actor who’s in an SA soap show. But honestly, I could totally take the easy route and name my sisters Mpho and Nyane! They’re big influencers on the fashion scene and it’s always amazing to see the love and support they get from home.
E: Originally you wanted to become a doctor, was that parental influence or what has changed?
M: Surprisingly, as a daughter of African parents, it was not their influence but more my desire to help people. My mum is a nurse and actually advised against, it no matter how much she loved the idea.
Fashion was something that naturally happened through the influence of my younger sisters, that then allowed me to see that it’s something I’m passionate about. I get to pull on all the things I liked. I mean, I thought about journalism because of my love for writing, but to mix this with fashion has bought me into PR where I can mix it all together.
E: Your current role has you jet setting between London and New York City. How do the two cities vibes compare and differ?
M: NYC is amazing; a city that I’ve been obsessed with since I was a child. To be honest, it hasn’t disappointed me yet, especially considering the skies are much bluer than London. Of course, London is my home and I feel it’s trying to embrace its diversity. NYC on the other hand is messed up on the race front and still has ways to go which is sad and quite disappointing considering everything.
E: What’s been your greatest achievement to date?
M: Constantly working towards what I want, I mean, there are still so many things to achieve but I’ve been able to get what I want so far - so I’m going to keep on trying for that.
E: You are very familiar with the Yemzi brand, being one of the first to work with us and styling for projects using collection 1 and 2. Now we are in collection 3, how has Yemzi world evolved and would you still consider yourself a #YemziGirl?
M: Yemzi is definitely starting to define itself. It’s beautifully curated and the DNA is definitely strong and undeniable. I’ve loved all the collections but particularly obsessed with issue 3. As for #YemziGirl.... I’m a total ride or die!
E: What's your favourite piece from over the past 3 collections?
M: I don’t have a favourite piece, I have a favourite collection which is issue 3... the black, the gold and the nod to flames throughout the collection hit all the right spots for me.
E: Your Instagram is beautifully curated. Can you give us 3 tips for those of us who want to marketing ourselves online?
M: Thanks - but it’s a working progress. I’ve still got a lot to learn myself.
I just post what resonates with me and what I like.... if you’re pushing for 3 tips I’d say
1. Stay true to yourself, don’t post for the sake of posting
2. Mix it up- share experiences, not just selfies
3. Remember- life is happening outside your phone
E: What’s your dream project?
M: Funny you should ask, but like I mentioned earlier, I’m actually working on it at the moment. The idea is to own my own media house back in SA and then that’s my dream made!
E: And finally what’s your favourite quote?
M: I mean it’s a bit dark, but it’s from my favourite poem. The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe;
“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing”.