Fast-rising star Lihle Ndelu is a talent to watch. She has taken over TikTok by storm, often showcasing her perfectly choreographed dance moves. Watching her videos, you can instantly tell she’s already a pro-dancer who will ultimately collaborate with the biggest stars on the continent and globally.
We had a virtual interview with the content creator to find out what she’s been up to and what her fans should expect. Ndelu, who is based in Cape Town discussed how she got onto the platform, her experiences so far, and her aspirations. Have a read and be inspired.
Fashion Today: You grew to over 10,000 followers on TikTok by doing clean, dance-focused content. How do you feel about that?
Lihle Ndelu: I am very proud of myself for this, although there were times when I felt like my account was not growing, the hate comments got to me and I almost gave up at some point but because I have more than 10,000 people believing in me, I chose to carry on.
FT: You joined the platform just recently. What took you so long?
LN: I did not know how TikTok worked, but I knew I wanted to be a part of the TikTok community. I was still finding myself, to tell the truth, I was actually scared of putting myself out there not knowing what kind of feedback I would receive.
FT: What’s your biggest goal in content creation?
LN: To build me as a brand, and to be an example to people especially young children that it doesn’t matter where you come from, you can do anything you put your mind to.
FT: Who would you say is your biggest fan and supporter?
LN: My current boyfriend is my biggest fan and supporter, he constantly reminds me to create content, and also motivates me when I am feeling down as a result of hate comments.
FT: How would you describe your fashion style?
LN: I do not necessarily have a fashion style that I like or love, what I wear usually just depends on my mood, but in most cases, I’m either wearing baggy clothes or gym wear however, I do love wearing cropped tops, short dresses and mini skirts.
FT: Finally, what should your newly gained fans expect from you in the next 1 year?
LN: They should expect more content, and maybe a YouTube channel.
She’s had a major breakthrough in 2022 and has been trending on TikTok, Twitter, WhatsApp and other social media platforms. Carrie Wahu is the beauty who essentially made the Sprite campaign go viral.
We previously interviewed Carrie Wahu and had a candid conversation where she opened up about her journey. She spoke about her natural hair journey, as well as how she’s become an influencer to reckon with.
“For my very first partnership. I just shot my shot. It was with this hair care company called Uhai Hair. I actually love their products. I just introduced myself, told them what I do and they believed in me which was great.,” she revealed.
As the collaboration was a success, Carrie Wahu went on to work with fellow creatives on photoshoots, events, and much more.
So far, Carrie has worked with other brands such as Jumia and The CocaCola Company. She’s truly a fast-growing influencer that world-class brands are willing to work with.
On her Instagram page, her fans have thronged the comments section to express how they loved the campaign.
@rugurutanya This is AMAZING!!🤩🤩❤️❤️ so so happy for you!!!❤️
@cindyk003 Beautiful 😍
@foi____ Now Sprite is my fav because Carrie said so😩
@mumb._i The whole Kenya is SHAKING right now 😍😍😍😍
@envy.fransine You’re such a cutieeee🥺❤️
@chelseaatieno YES MAAM!!! Get that bag!
The photoshoot was done by photographer Michael Brian, known as @casshis on Instagram. He covers portraits, fashion, and beauty. It was definitely a fantastic collaboration.
Hii Style model Royal Vee has shot to fame quite fast. Her stunning beauty, unique gait, graceful style and charming personality has won the hearts of many.
She is quickly becoming a public figure that thousands of fans keep up with. Her Instagram live sessions come rarely, but are super engaging.
When it comes to posing for the camera, she has what it takes to be the next big thing in international modeling.
Her Instagram page is quickly growing – at the time of this publication she had over 60,000 followers. We interviewed her when she was starting out as a Hiii Style model. This was in early 2020.
She had opened up about her fresh experience with modeling.
“My experience so far has been wonderful. I’ve learned so many things – how to put clothes together in styling, cat walking, expressing myself in the clothes I’m wearing…and how to interact with other people. Meeting new people has also helped me understand how the world of modeling works,” she said.
Royal Vee also shared that modeling isn’t just about wearing fancy clothes. It is about channeling one’s personality. Since then, she has worked with multiple fashion brands, events, and even a real estate firm.
Her portfolio gets impressive by the day. Royal Vee is truly a force to reckon with in the modeling industry.
We’ve compiled an amazing collection of her photos for you. She’s doing an amazing job at Hiii Style.
Hiii Style model Winnie Njenga is a fast-rising fashion, lifestyle and fitness influencer. She has won the hearts of many with her stunning looks and personality.
Ever since she shot to fame having appeared on the fashion brand’s Instagram pages, she has amassed a following of over 80,000 followers at the time of this publication.
Winnie Njenga also does DIY and style inspo content. She is a public health officer by training.
As an influencer, the content creator has worked with other brands such as Xiaomi, Flower Delivery KE, Doctor Wigs, and others.
The gorgeous creator is living proof that you can earn a living as a fashion model in Kenya and build a strong brand while at it.
Before her Instagram popularity, she was known for her witty Twitter posts, as well as her active contributions to trending online topics. Winnie Njenga is among the next generation of influencers who are making big moves online by cashing in on the digital economy.
Fast-rising natural hair influencer Carrie Wahu has grown to be a notable content creator within the Kenyan online community. Her ever expanding fanbase loves her unique hair and overall approach to style. Brands have endorsed her craft and she’s part of a global movement.
The natural hair movement is huge and well represented. From the likes of actress Yara Shahidi to Oscar award winner Lupita Nyong’o, more and more public figures are showing the younger generation that natural hair is indeed presentable.
Professionals on LinkedIn are also embracing this change and are posting themselves rocking natural hair, sparking encouragement and admiration from their peers. We spoke to Carrie about her journey as a natural hair enthusiast and content creator, and she had lots to say about her inspiring path.
Fashion Today: What really inspired you to switch to natural hair?
Carrie Wahu: Growing up, I feel like it was the norm for girls to have straight hair. Even in school Afro hair styles weren’t allowed. The notion that this wasn’t professional hair was instilled in us at an early age.
I grew up with this mentality and didn’t get to know what natural hair is. All I knew was growth that comes with chemicalized hair. When I turned 14, I saw many people with their natural hair; they were bold and proud.
I started educating myself. I knew that I wanted to be a part of this. I got to know about activist Angela Davis and other women in history who would have their natural hair out as a sign of protest against American beauty standards.
The texture, colour or size didn’t matter. I unlearnt everything that I know; that hair had to be straight or tied back. That’s what inspired me the most – black women in history.
FT: Just like any other content creator when starting out, you must have had challenges. The audience only sees the finished product and not necessarily the process. Could you shed some light on this side of your journey?
CW: My biggest challenges came from within. I had social media anxiety. Before I started creating content, I didn’t have any account for like 5-6 years. I was just in the dark. I didn’t even join to become a content creator.
I just signed up because I was always missing out on the memes; people would be laughing and I didn’t know what was going on. My friends would be like, ‘just download Twitter, just download Twitter.’
I started getting these amazing responses that wowed me. I was like, ‘people really love my content?’
There’s still that barrier of anxiety but the situation has gotten a lot better in the past few years.
Another thing is creating content costs money. However, I’ve learnt to budget for stuff; whether I need to buy this camera or that outfit.
FT: How do you approach content creation partnerships or deals?
CW: For my very first partnership. I just shot my shot. It was with this hair care company called Uhai Hair. I actually love their products. I just introduced myself, told them what I do and they believed in me which was great.
Mind you, I didn’t have a portfolio; I just had natural hair. There’s always fear of rejection but I didn’t let that stop me. My mentality when it comes to this is just try. If you fail, you’ll know that at least you tried.
Sometimes, even if they don’t work with you now, maybe they’ll consider you in the future.
I messaged at least five companies on Instagram. The rest rejected me but at least one accepted. You see, if I didn’t try at all and let fear crowd my judgement then I wouldn’t have gotten that deal.
FT: What are some of the lessons that you’ve learnt about money when it comes to striking deals?
CW: The first deal I got, I didn’t even have a rate card. I also undercharged but nonetheless I was happy that I got my first paycheck. The good thing about the content creation space in Kenya is that people are very easy to talk to – at least the ones I’ve interacted with.
I can just ask someone how much they would charge for a certain project or ask them for rate card tips and we exchange information.
FT: What are the most memorable moments in your journey so far?
CW: Definitely has to be when I meet the people who enjoy my content in real life. We talk, laugh…you know, have conversations. Interacting with different people from the community I’ve been able to build makes up my best moments. This can be at events, concerts or even at the mall.
FT: As a content creator, you seem to be modest. You don’t plaster your achievements on your bio. Your fans would be curious to know about your least known milestones…
CW: I’d say working with different brands that I never thought would contact me for collaboration. These are companies that you usually see on billboards. Meeting influencers that I used to follow when I was younger and they say ‘I see what you do, keep going’ is just wow.
I’m always like, ‘what? You know me?’ That’s crazy,,,’
These are successful creators whose content I’ve loved for a long, long time.
So it’s the people I’ve come to meet and the brands I’ve worked with.
FT: How do you go about your video production? It’s quite unique…
CW: I actually have a team behind it; my sister and mom. Everything we do is an adventure. My younger sister – she’s 16 – is the one who takes those nice photos of me.
FT: Who would you say is your muse or influence?
CW: Definitely Rihanna. I think she’s amazing, hardworking, very focused and she just knows what she’s doing. She also gives back a lot; always helping her community in Barbados.
I don’t know her personally but I like that about her; she has a great heart. There’s also De’arra Taylor, a YouTuber. She’s also very successful. These are all boss women.
FT: You’ve been in the creator economy for quite some time. What’s your take on what’s going on, as in the state of the industry in Kenya?
CW: In the US, it’s easier to become a big creator there. I feel like Kenyans are doing the same, there’s a lot of growing support. This is amazing and there’s so much hope for everyone who is in the arts. Kenya will also be big eventually.
FT: I’m sure many people ask you how you got here. Generally, what’s your advice to young content creators who want to break into the industry?
CW: I think it’s very important to be yourself. Be inspired by people but don’t try being exactly like them. People want you, they don’t want someone else in you. Also make sure that you love what you’re creating.
Pour your heart into everything that you’re creating. Do it with the utmost love and don’t give up.
FT: Speaking of potential future collaborators, who do you envision working with?
CW: I want to work with Fenty Beauty. This is not my obsession with Rihanna showing; I genuinely love that brand. Also, there’s an influencer and content creator who owns a hair salon in Kenya – Spritz Hair Studio – I would really love to work with her.
Silvia Amelia – popularly known as Sileyls – is one of the most sought after fashion influencers in Europe. A browse through her Instagram feed shows her rocking lots of different adorable outfits, ranging from streetwear to night-out attire.
The Nigerian – Belgian influencer has made a name for herself by reviewing outfits in collaboration with brands such as Fashion Nova, Lounge, Pretty Little Thing, 750 Kicks, and many others.
The beauty rarely does media interviews, but we’ve combined interesting facts (based on her Get To Know Me YouTube video and Instagram stories) about her to go alongside our favorite looks of hers. Sit tight and enjoy!
1. Her body is natural
Sileyls has a banging body that is a goal to many of her followers. However, she constantly has to answer the classic question of whether it is natural or boosted. It is indeed her natural body, and she jokingly tells her fans to ask her mom why their genes are so good. Sileyls also does not work out to get her body type.
2. Where does Sileyls get her fashion inspiration?
Just like many of us, Sileyls gets her inspo from other people. She follows a lot of fashion pages and whenever she sees a look she likes on Instagram, she saves it on her phone as part of a mood board map. Whenever she wants to try out something new, she’ll just go to her mood board, put a personalized look together and she’s good to go.
3. Where she comes from…
Sileyls is of mixed heritage. Her mom is from Nigeria, but her dad is Belgian. She is currently based in Antwerp. You can tell that from her location tags on Instagram or the Antwerp-based small businesses she collaborates with, especially beauty and hair product stores.
4. Relationship status
Over the years, she has publicly claimed her boyfriend. They’ve been together for more than 5 years. Even though she doesn’t post about her boyfriend a lot, she is definitely taken. The reason why she rarely posts photos of her man – according to her – is because they rarely take photos.
Sometimes they hang out for even a week together and don’t take even a single photo,
Sileyls has two brothers and a younger sister. They have a great bond and as of 2022, they visit her apartment often and they post a lot of videos together. Whether it is having dinner together or gaming on TV together, it is always a vibe. In fact, Sileyls intends to include her sister in more content in the future.
Sileyls is the most confident she’s ever been. You can see that in the pictures, TikTok videos, or fashion haul videos on YouTube. However, she says she still has a long way to go because there are things she is insecure about. For example, her cellulite, which, apparently her boyfriend doesn’t mind. She is still human and has her flaws.
7. Dream travel destination
Her yet to visit destination as of 2022 sn Jamaica. Sileyls loves the place because of the friendliness of the locals, the climate, and of course the partying Caribbean vibes. Who wouldn’t want that? Sounds fun, right?
8. Her experience with bullying
While in high school, Sileyls was bullied by her schoolmates simply because she is black and curvy. Many labeled her names I can’t mention in this post, but she has since overcome it but still cannot forget. It’s impressive how she has gone through a lot on her way to becoming such an inspiring, successful young lady.
As promised, here are more of her adorable, gorgeous and you can pick a look you’d love to recreate!
Cindy Kipsang just hit 400k followers on TikTok at the time of this publication, proving to be one of the most successful content creators in East Africa. Not long ago, she launched her own fashion line. This comes after she won the Dancer of the Year Award by TikTok in 2020.
She has been on a winning streak with her career, and she’s not stopping. Fashion Today had a sitdown with the beautiful, talented, inspiring, and promising young superstar. We unearthed amazing stuff that fans of her will be delighted to know.
The creator also shared practical tips that you can use to make even better TikTok videos. As you’ll learn, her success did not just happen overnight.
There is an interesting story behind the glam, millions of views, and accolades. Read on and be inspired!
FT: When did you start doing TikTok videos?
Cindy: I began doing TikTok before it became TikTok; it was still musical.ly. I had about 300 followers and I used to post content for them so religiously, At some point, people started making fun of me because it wasn’t ‘cool’ to be on musical.ly. They were like, it’s cringy, what-not..so I stopped.
I paused not only because of the mockery but also because I went to a boarding school, which doesn’t allow that kinda stuff. But then when I finished high school, I went back into it. I was too shy to post until my sister started doing it.
While at it, she started encouraging me to do it again, and because of her, I ended up doing one video which absolutely just blew my page up. That’s where my journey began.
FT: You’ve obviously created a lot of amazing videos. I’m just curious, what’s your most memorable memory, that you often go back to reminisce?
Cindy: Obviously, my first one is among the most memorable because it’s the one that blew up..and the one that’s one the most viral on my page, with 3.5 million views. There’s also a recent one I made with my sister that has the most likes on my page.
FT: In some regions like South East Asia and the US, brands can directly sponsor viral creator videos at the moment. In Kenya, how do you make money off TikTok?
Cindy: Right now, they only pay in the US for video views. However, in Kenya and elsewhere around the world, you can go live and if your followers really appreciate your content, they can send you gifts.
Gifts on TikTok translate into real-life money. So once you accumulate those gifts – not a stable income situation – you can withdraw. Gifts are one of them, but majorly brand deals are ideal if you wanna make a real income.
FT: What’s the ballpark figure brands give TikTokers in Kenya?
Cindy: This is what I’ve learned from my own personal experience. If you have 100k followers, you will most likely be paid Ksh. 10,000 per video (91 USD). If you have 200k, the figure doubles.
FT: How does it compare to Instagram when it comes to brands using creator page engagement metrics to decide if they want to work with you?
Cindy: The thing with TikTok, the moment you visit someone’s page, you can instantly figure out if they have high engagement. You can see how active they are immediate.
FT: You’re in school and most of your followers probably have no idea what it takes to create content and manage classes. Can you paint a picture of how you try and get things done?
Cindy: It’s very stressful…very, very stressful. There are days that I just can’t handle it and just sleep. I don’t do anything at all; social media or schoolwork. Not even my business work. We all need those days. If I don’t do it, I might collapse and not work for the rest of the week; which is a bigger loss than just that one day.
FT: What’s the overview of your career in the future?
Cindy: As for my career, I have plans to be a businesswoman on social media. I want to be able to run my own businesses and help other girls do that as well.
FT: On that note, you’ve recently launched a fashion business. How did that come about and how was the response from people?
Cindy: So far the feedback is so amazing! I appreciate my fans..the feedback has been overwhelmingly good. I was even scared to launch; I was to do it two weeks prior. I was supposed to launch on a Wednesday. But every week, when the day came, I was like there’s no way I’m gonna launch. What if people don’t even care about this? What if no one wants to buy?
You know..those what-ifs? I was getting too nervous and overthinking too much. This Wednesday I decided straight up instead of launching, I’m gonna do a soft launch so I can see reactions.
Even with this, people have already their orders; I’m already about to sell out on one of my products.
FT: Congratulations! Launching a business is no mean feat. It’s one of the hardest things to do.
Cindy: Thank you…thank you.
FT: So, what are some of the avenues where young people can learn content creation?
Cindy: In my opinion, there’s nowhere you can learn about content creation. You just have to go for it. You have to try it. A big mistake people go for is for the numbers, thinking that it’s what brings them the money. That’s not how it works. It’s your consistency above all.
FT: What did you go for that has made you stand out and be successful?
Cindy: It’s just the consistency. I was consistent even without knowing it. ‘Cause I would make videos, respond to my followers…talk to them. Not even because I was thinking that one day I’m gonna be a superstar…no. It’s because already, it was something that I liked. As I said, I was always on musical.ly, making content for just a few followers…but those followers were my life.
FT: How did you find the best kind of creators to collaborate with? What’s the local TikTok community like?
Cindy: The best thing about TikTok is that everyone is so nice and welcoming. When I joined a TikTok community, I was so excited to meet them; all I saw were superstars. But they treated me as an equal. It was like, we’re not superstars, we are just like you.
These groups naturally became like families. We all meet, but you also have the friends that you click with the most. There’s no point where it has ever been like, it’s a competition.
Above all, the TikTok office in Nairobi organizes events for us creators to meet and mingle. They have awards; they give us merchandise.
If you’re a beginner, they may add you to a WhatsApp group; you can then get notified of upcoming trends before they even blow up. As you grow, they do things like request verification for you, they even call you for listening parties, brand deals…and more stuff.
Sometimes, they even bring you the deals and pay you to do videos.
FT: Your taste in music and style of creating videos has an international POV. Are there any globally acclaimed creators that you would love to collaborate with in the future?
Cindy: I’d love to create videos with Addison Rae. I don’t know why people aren’t so crazy about her like me…I would love to meet her one day. Her mum is the one who actually follows me; not her.
FT: Where do you see yourself in the next five years in regards to your career?
Cindy: I’m definitely not one of those people who plan 10 years ahead, for sure. I have different paths that I’ve planned. I have planned like this is the path I’m going to take, if it doesn’t work out, I have a backup. It’s like A to Z.
I aspire to be at a level of success where I can solely depend on my business and social media work. That is, 100%, with no assistance from anyone or any brands.
FT: Finally, who is your biggest supporter? How have they contributed to your success and what would you like to tell them?
Cindy: My biggest supporter is my sister. She has absolutely contributed a lot. There’s even a time she created a fan page of me…and I didn’t even know it was her. It was just on the low. She would always show me videos from the fan page so that I can see there is someone out there with a fan page for me. She comments on my videos, likes them, tells all her friends…even when it comes to making the content, she is always there to help me.
I would love to appreciate my fans as well; I love them. They are more like family now. I speak to them quite frequently…I’ve even had a situation where I recommended a course that I’ve done to a young student. I’m always here for them because they are always here for me too.
Toni Nkhahle is one of South Africa’s most bankable influencers. She’s got stunning looks, a banging body, and a killer sense of style. From 2016, she has built a strong, engaged audience on Instagram.
The spotlight has had a considerable impact on her life, but the pressure didn’t shake her beliefs, deter her from her goals or alter who she really is. In our exclusive interview with her, Nkhahle opens up about her journey so far; she dropped nuggets of wisdom and literally made us laugh loads during our chat.
Nkhahle is funny, smart, and focused in life. Truly, she’s humble and super adorable we must say. Want to know how to bag big deals with brands such as Fashion Nova, maintain your principles in a tempting online world and still succeed in life? Read on and be inspired!
Fashion Today: You’ve been big on social media for quite a while. As early as 2016, you were popping. What do you feel has been your biggest lesson being an influencer.
Toni Nkhahle: I’ve learnt to be myself. Being a public figure puts pressure on you to conform to what the public wants. At the onset, while I was on campus, I always felt like I needed to post new stuff to keep people talking. I was very young and I did not really know myself very well. So, I kept people talking and it felt good when I was trending. I, however, thank my boyfriend who literally saved me from being lost in this vast maze of social media.
FT: You’ve worked with Fashion Nova before. Many people wonder, how do we get such deals?
TN: Initially, I approached lots of South African brands to work with. It proved difficult getting deals because either they weren’t willing to pay, or you simply needed connections. Thus, I decided to approach the likes of Fashion Nova, Pretty Little Thing, and other international fashion houses.
Fashion Nova decided to take a chance with me with their Curve line. Our first campaign was free. But I had to take it; it’s a big brand and I just needed my foot in the door.
The posts did so well that they decided to pay me per post. They requested to know how much I would charge them; I did my calculations, including the minimum I needed to make per month to cater for my bills.
I became their first-ever South African brand ambassador; I am grateful for the chance that they gave me.
FT: Does it pay to be an influencer in South Africa?
TN: Yes, it does. But, it depends on who you know. I know of micro-influencers with just a few hundred thousand followers but they are living the life.
How it works is, if your influencer friend knows artists and brands that pay well, they connect you with them. Then, you get paid very well to constantly promote their events, music, or even clubs. Once you’ve made it in SA, you really have made it.
FT: You’ve been quite public with who you’re dating. Has it been easy?
TN: I actually got into my first relationship when I was 18. I was quite shy and very insecure. I always wondered if my boyfriend would take me as I am.
So a month into the relationship, I posted him to show him that I truly loved him; I was a different person in real life. I wasn’t the Toni who was trending and whose DMs were popping.
In fact, I had to make a tough choice. My friends were like, I should date the ballers who could fly me to Dubai, spoil me with all kinds of gifts and live a lavish life. But my boyfriend was enough for me.
He told me that I did not have to go that path; I did not have to do what everyone wanted me to do. I must admit that it was quite tempting. So after a while, we stopped thinking about and caring about what people thought about us. He’s quite shy by the way; I still am but we’re no longer confined to what people expect us to do.
FT: What’s your biggest dream that you’re yet to achieve?
TN: I want to start one of the best schools in the world. Growing up, I was taught by teachers from Zambia and Zimbabwe. They were so smart. In SA, the education system doesn’t favor nurturing of talent.
I would like to build an institution that caters to everyone; whether they wish to be musicians, pilots…no one should have to pursue what they’re not passionate about.
I personally pursued actuarial science but I am into fashion and music. I do sing, by the way, and I’ll soon launch a YouTube channel and drop my rap music. You should expect amazing things from me.
FT: Let’s talk about your fashion sense. How would you describe it?
TN: It’s dynamic, but still, one thing is consistent. I love my crop tops. Come summer, come winter, I love putting on crop tops because I love my tummy. I can be a tomboy, rocking some leggings, sneakers, and a crop top, and I can be girly when going to a restaurant; that lovely dress does it.
TN: How has your personality evolved ever since you joined Instagram?
TN: I come from a family of beautiful women with nice bodies but while growing up I wasn’t always sure about myself. I wasn’t always like, I am fine, I am hot…I was laid back. However, my success on Instagram confirmed just that and I am humbled and grateful.
FT: You have fans from all over Africa and beyond. Have you met some of them in real life? How was your experience?
Yes! I have. I always maintain a low profile when I am out and about but there will always be someone who sees me and comes up to me to say hi. It can be scary but I am grateful for the love.
Many know her for her incredible beauty, popping melanin, and amazing dance moves. Fast-rising influencer Fancy Makadia is becoming a force to reckon with in the media industry, as she is redefining how business is done. She has found a way to make money, be paid for her worth, and while at it, inspire many young people who look up to her.
A fashion icon in her own right, the France-based influencer has kept her fan base growing back in Kenya. She is stylish, daring, and experimental. Unlike her other family members, Makadia is soft-spoken, but don’t mistake that for shyness. Her mom Akothee has taught her to live her life to the fullest and have a purpose in life.
In our inspiring conversation with her, we were surprised to find out little-known stuff about her. Just like us, she is human and there are some things she has had to overcome and despite a celebrity’s daughter, nothing comes on a silver platter. Enjoy and share!
Fashion Today: Why did you decide to be an influencer?
Fancy Makadia: You know, I was known as the dancer. All I would just do is dance. So there’s this one time I posted on my Facebook page, asking my followers which products they’ve never gotten a chance to buy.
I noticed that people came to buy and sell in my comments section. People were actually making successful purchases. This made me realize that I can try and create a brand, market people’s items and help them reach a wider audience.
That’s how I decided to be an influencer.
FT: How would you describe your experience…what are some of the interesting experiences that you’ve had so far as an influencer?
FM: Before, brands were reluctant to approach me. I was also scared because I was like, I’m so far from Kenya and most of my followers are based there. However, I learnt that it was about skills; not location. It is more about what you bring to the table.
When I signed my first contract, I really learnt a lot. Before this, I never knew anything about social media insights and analytics. I got to know what kind of content people want.
It made it easier for me to plan myself. I would say it’s a journey that’s been really amazing.
FT: You’ve spoken about contracts. Tell us, how do you go about contracts, because many influencers out there get approached, casually decide on the price and go straight into working. I’ve seen many complaints online from influencers claiming that they weren’t paid. Can you touch on the importance of contracts and what are the most vital details that should be included?
FM: For the first endorsement that I signed, we had to sign a contract. It basically included the period of time that I was going to work with them and how much they were going to pay me. On my side, I had what content I was going to bring.
This is important so that you and your boss – the client – don’t have scuffles. When you are busy for example, you have to check your schedule with the contract. For instance, if you have a contract for six months, you have to know what you will be doing within that time.
The contract literally spells out the payment terms so that you don’t have to worry about getting your money when the time comes to be paid. The first thing that you have to ask for as an influencer is a contract.
FT: Have you ever had an experience where clients take too long to pay you, you have to follow up severally?
FM: For me, I chose a different path. I did not want to work with clients and then they pay after. I work with upfront payment. I start the work from the day you’ve paid me. This is because I’m in a different country. You can’t trust everyone. Someone might decide not to pay you, block you and you might not find a way to reach them. So they always pay me first then I deliver their content agreement.
FT: You definitely wish to work with bigger brands in the future. Which are some of the names you wish to collaborate with and why?
FM: I would love to work with brands here in France and some back at home. For now, I’m doing just fashion, but I also want to collaborate with gadget brands like Tecno Mobile. Then there’s also Home 254 apparel.
FT: Since there are many brands that approach you for collaborations, what do you consider before you choose to work with one?
FM: Firstly, I always look at the product. They have to send me something that I’m very, very comfortable with. As a content creator, you also have to think of ways to produce content with the products that they are going to give you.
So if they give you an item you’re not comfortable with, you will be blank.
FT: Now, let’s take a detour and talk about your dancing. I’ve been seeing your amazing choreography videos. The moves are on point. People really love what you do; the comments section is always lit. Were you always a dancer growing up, or is it just something that you started recently?
FM: I think me and dance are like married, you know, haha. I started dancing when I was a little girl. I can’t remember the age I was but I’ve been dancing my whole life.
FT: So how do you find TikTok when it comes to content creation compared to the other platforms?
FM: TikTok…that’s an app that’s hard to predict. Because…one time you are up, the next you’re down. When I post something on Facebook, it goes viral in a second but TikTok, really takes time. It has its own people.
But I’ll keep trying because it’s better to give it a shot than to fail.
FT: How do you find verification of pages different in Europe compared to Kenya?
FM: I think Facebook is the easiest platform to get verified on. But one thing you have to know is that consistency is key. So when my social media marketing team was very consistent with the posting, I gained more followers, and one day I woke up to find that I was verified.
FT: You’ve said that you have a team that is behind your online presence. How did you come about selecting people with whom you can trust your brand? That’s definitely a big risk to take…
FM: Trust me, social media is something that you really need to take care of…because, you never know. Someone might post something and the next thing you’re trending for the wrong reasons.
There are people who have seen me grow, who have been there for me and they were like, why not create a Facebook account? I said let’s do this. Since they really advised me, I agreed that we do this together.
FT: Do you personally respond to comments or it’s just the team?
FM: Yeah yeah, I respond to comments.
FT: You are currently studying Hospitality and Management. The travel and hospitality industry has been affected by the pandemic. The industry is very volatile…so are you still interested in pursuing a career in that field?
FM: I’m still very interested. No matter what happens, I must keep on pushing.
FT: On the issue of bad energy and cyberbullying, how have you managed to deal with this because most of your family members are in the public domain?
FM: Back in 2018, I posted a picture of my dad and me on Instagram. He is white. So, people came on trolling, saying things like ‘he’s your sponsor’, and it made me feel bad. I started crying. My mum has been of big support in my life.
She’s like, seriously? Are you crying because of someone somewhere using their own data bundles to talk badly of you? She says that we all have 24 hours in a day to do things. She adds that whatever I came to do in this life, God gave me a purpose. Hence, I stopped minding what people say.
Some comments are very nasty, but we just need to stop listening to negative comments.
FT: About your fashion sense, I noticed that you really love African print. Is it someone else’s influence on you or how do you go about choosing your style?
FM: In the beginning, I wasn’t really digging African print. But, when the Tunga Tunga endorsement came in, and they wanted me to collaborate with them, I was like let’s try something new.
When they first sent me my first bunch of clothes I fell in love with African print. I was like from now on, go African or go home.
FT: When it comes to taking pictures, there’s a huge difference between what’s on Instagram and in real life. How do you prevent yourself from being carried away into being someone that you’re not?
FM: When I’m taking my Instagram pictures, I just try to be normal. Because once someone out there sees me looking different from what’s on Instagram, it will be an embarrassment. I literally try to be free-spirited, create a mood, laugh and it makes me feel I’m being real.
FT: Mental health also comes into play. There are expectations from fans, you being a public figure. How do you deal with situations that may undermine your mental health?
FM: So every morning, my mum sends me some very motivational quotes on how to deal with mental health. So I feel like nothing on social media will ever bring me down. There’s a time I went online and some people were like, we can see your pants, which wasn’t true.
I asked myself, should I feel bad about this? I decided not to. If you are a creator with a big nose, there’s nothing you can change about it. So it’s all about self-acceptance.
FT: Where do you see yourself in the next two to three years in terms of being an influencer?
FM: I look forward to having more brands working with me, especially in France. I am already doing that back home, even though I’m currently working with three. I want to take a big step and go big globally.
FT: You truly avoid controversy and drama. Is that intentional or do you just like playing it low?
FM: I think it is both. I don’t like problems or drama. Once you don’t have drama in your life, you’re good to go.
FT: Young people who may be looking up to you may not see the other side of things. Maybe they think everything is easy for you. What do you have to tell them?
FM: Nothing comes on a silver platter. People think that since I’m in France, all I do is wait for mum’s money. No, I work hard for my own money. You cannot just sit and expect things to come to you. God helps those who help themselves. You have to try. I previously got many comments, people telling me that I can’t do it, that I’m so shy.
Faustina Royale is a 25-year-old content creator and fitness influencer who is on the fast rise. The curvy, smart, and bold star has been helping many of her fans embrace body positivity.
She has had considerable success so far, boasting over 100,000 followers across her social media. In her TikTok videos, she’s not afraid to showcase her curvaceous body, rocking flattering dresses while delivering much-needed humor that her fans love.
Royale had a virtual chat with Fashion Today and from our conversation, we were super impressed! Read on to find out the most surprising thing about her that fans don’t know. Be inspired!
Fashion Today: So about content creation… What drew you into that field?
Faustine Royale: As a dancer naturally I’d dance sometimes at events or enter dance competitions. I loved enjoying performing but when I wasn’t performing I’d take videos of myself dancing and I became more fulfilled as I actually saw the content as opposed to just performing on stage.
I got drawn to content creation mainly because I loved seeing my art come to life and I’d create content at first for my own enjoyment and later on shared it with the world. It started out with dancing but later on, I realized I just love creating content. I’d create some fitness or modeling-related content as well.
FT: Superb. What would you say is the most important lesson you’ve gotten as you’ve been building your fanbase as a content creator?
FR: I’ve learned that the content I am creating is for my fans not necessarily me. Meaning that as much as I’m a content creator and I have a plan, structure, and strategy, I always have to take into consideration what my audience likes about my content and prioritize that.
FT: Let’s talk about the brands you have worked with or wish to collaborate with. What do you look for when working with someone or a company?
FR: I’ve worked with a couple of artists in promoting their music in some of my dance videos and also collaborated with a few photographers as well. Ideally, partnering with Lingerie or Swimwear brands will be a great opportunity for me as a model and also a couple of clothing brands as well.
Obviously, a great work ethic is always my starting point in choosing the right person to work with. I also prioritize having a colleague that understands my brand and my vision as well.
FT: TikTok is different from other platforms in so many ways. Since you are a regular user, what are some of the tips you would give a new, aspiring creator?
FR: Firstly follow trends! Prioritize them! Having your own ideas is a great thing (keep creating by the way) but with Tiktok you need to get in the boat that everyone is in. Get out of your comfort zone every now and then, get involved in Tiktok challenges. Also, use hashtags that are relevant to your posts.
Bear in mind also that in everything you do, your brand and your vision must be aligned with every post.
Also, be aware of what your audience likes and align that with your content as well. It’s a matter of being yourself the Tiktok way, which is hopping onto the trendiest challenges and also not forgetting that you need to be creative as well.
FT: Your Instagram feed shows how bold you are. Is it an extension of your personality?
FR: Yes definitely. I’d like to call it my alter ego. I’ve always been a daring and courageous person but have never expressed it. I’ve structured my feed in such a way that it’s uncensored and unfiltered, the way art should be.
FT: What’s the one thing that your most loyal fans don’t know about you?
FR: I’d say most of them don’t probably know that I’m a huge science enthusiast. Physics to be specific. I’m planning on furthering my studies soon and getting to a point where I’m a quantum physicist
FT: About working out and keeping fit, what would you say is the one thing that can help someone stay consistent?
FR: Get a workout partner, or preferably join a gym class or any form of a group arrangement. This helps a lot because staying consistent is a difficult thing for most people, no matter how passionate.
So having people or a person who will constantly remind you of your goal and push you on days when you don’t feel like exercising is always best.
FT: When it comes to being an influencer, the landscape is pretty competitive. What makes you stand out?
FR: I’m comfortable in my own skin and I’m big on being natural as well. My overall look and my body as well. Basically being true to myself makes me stand out. Making sure that I promote self-love and encourage others to stay true to themselves as well.
FT: Who are some of the people you’d love to collaborate with in the future and why?
FR: Definitely SavageXFenty, mainly because the Lingerie brand supports the body positivity movement, I mean I’m curvy, and working with such a brand that understands and encourages self-love in that manner would be a plus.
I’d also like to work with Boss Lady Dressed and Zeeshop because I love how they also focus on the curvy women audience and create pieces that just accentuate curvy bodies.
FT: Finally, where do you see your personal brand in the next two years?
FR: I see my brand reaching more audiences globally. Especially more women, in the sense that more women would find some form of inspiration to be the best they’ve ever been.
Also, I see a lot more brand collaborations as I believe more and more people would get to understand my brand better and I’d be more mature in my craft as well. Venturing into the business side of things as well. Probably a clothing or lingerie line.