A model with albinism, Nontobeko would love to walk the Victoria’s Secret ramp one day and aspires to be a criminologist. She talks to us about her challenges, perceptions of beauty and what’s next.
Tell us a little about your background.
I was born in Richards Bay, I grew up in Ladysmith and I was raised by my mother’s sister. I completed my degree in Political Science and Criminology in 2018, and I’m currently doing a diploma in Fashion and Textile. I love art.
How did you start your modelling career?
I was spotted by a photographer who assisted me in finding an agency.
Do you think the world of beauty and modelling is changing in that people are beginning to challenge narrow perceptions of beauty?
It’s gradually becoming more inclusive in the sense that it is now slowly allowing people of different shapes and shades to be a part of it and so more people relate to it.
How has your perception of beauty adapted over the years?
Meeting different types of people has taught me that there’s a lot more to beauty than how people look physically. Physical appearance is a part of beauty, but not entirely it.
Overall, what has your experience of being a model with albinism been like?
I would say it has been both positive and negative at the same time because people tend to underestimate your abilities because of your condition and that sucks. But sometimes I get jobs for being an albino which is good and bad, depending on how you look at it. I think I’ve shown a different side of people living with albinism – we are beautiful and capable of doing anything.
How has modelling helped you as a person?
It’s helped me to realise that my skin is gold and I should treat it as such.
What’s next for your career?
My ultimate goal in the modelling world is to be part of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I love helping people, especially those who can’t afford proper assistance in the crime field, so I’m planning on furthering my studies in criminology and in 10 years’ time I’ll be a practising criminologist.
What are your healthy habits?
I work out three times a week and I’m a vegetarian.
Any advice you’d like to give to other young people with albinism who might be struggling with traditional beauty ideals?
I think it’s time we stopped trying to be beautiful or accepted by society. We need to focus on being happy because I believe that there’s nothing more beautiful than being happy within yourself.
How would you describe your personal style?
Casual and relaxed.
Your top beauty tip?
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.