Thando Hopa is changing the face of fashion
South African lawyer, model, social activist and poet Thando Hopa is the ambassador for the new Audi Q2 #Untaggable campaign, launched at the 2017 Metro FM Music Awards. As a role model for individuals with albinism, this blue-eyed, blonde-haired black beauty is a force to be reckoned with, and is passionate about challenging and addressing the prejudices that exist in society. Here, she speaks to us about modelling, discrimination and style.
What does landing this new campaign mean to you?
It really feels like an all-encompassing experience, and it comes at a time when I can embrace and manifest it myself. It gives me a platform to talk about and embrace uniqueness. This campaign has a high level of relatability because so many people feel suffocated by the boxes they are put in. This generation does not want to be boxed, and this campaign articulates that – I am more than a label.
Define #untaggable in your own words.
Being ‘untaggable’ means you don’t adhere to stereotypes. We are diverse as a people, and diversity is something to assert and celebrate.
What advice can you give to other people about being comfortable in their own skin?
My favourite phrase is “Define yourself” and I felt a strong synergy with this campaign. The only way people can be comfortable with themselves is to define for themselves who they are – and not let other people label them.
Have you ever had to deal with discrimination in the industry?
The fashion and entertainment industries both still have a long way to go in terms of image diversity, but they are slowly being tutored into accepting the different images out there. I do believe these industries will increasingly take on this challenge and start accepting the many forms and shapes people come in.
How do you balance the demands of working as a prosecutor, a social activist and a model?
I am currently on sabbatical as a prosecutor, which allows me the freedom to explore other interests and educational opportunities. Activism is more of a choice that one makes in what one does. It becomes part of you. Even as a prosecutor and a model I consider myself an activist. It’s a big part of who I am. I must admit that while on sabbatical, having the freedom to choose my activities makes managing my time much easier. I find it easier to accommodate my commitments instead of having to keep three or four balls in the air at the same time. I have a clearer view of what I want to do.
How would you describe your style?
My style really is #untaggable because I don’t have one style – people have called me a hippie in terms of the way I dress, but then there’s the couture standard that has been set by Gert-Johan Coetzee, which I love equally. Then there’s my tomboyish side and also the African style that I love incorporating…
Favourite fashion item at the moment?
What can we expect from you in 2017?
Expect that I will be more #untaggable, and pushing boundaries even more than before. I am delving into a different avenue of storytelling. Wait and see!