“I love what I do and I do what I love. Anything is possible with the correct mindset and determination. Nothing in this world comes easy, but it sure will be all worth it.”
— Kamo Mafokwane
I remember scrolling through my Twitter timeline one day and thinking “I know this girl”.
I clicked on the handle @willkatelady (KAMO MAFOKWANE) and I remembered her face from two encounters. The first was at my local church; I saw her in passing a few times. The second was a house party back in my day (I really feel old enough to make statements like this at this point). I don’t even think I had spoken to her, but I do remember she was quiet, reserved and extremely polite to whoever was around her.
In both cases, she had this intimidating aura – and I don’t mean intimidating in terms of the energy she was putting out but intimidating in terms of feeling like we were actually in the presence of somebody unique and important and I wasn’t quite sure if anyone else realized this. Fast forward; I was surprised but not surprised to see that she was this striking online presence years after the fact. From her Twitter feed, curiosity then led me to click on the link in her bio and there I was.
The luxury fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog documented these journeys that placed her in a league of her own. I was lucky enough to ask the woman behind the brand a few questions myself.
N: From an advanced makeup course with MAC in Johannesburg, to a diploma in Fashion Media and Communication and finally a Creative Direction honors degree at London College of Fashion. Talk me through that and what the transition was like?
K: I think any journey is not easy but we do not know that until we go through the process. I have always loved fashion and creativity or arts and it was always a very big part of my life so I always felt like “I got this”. I guess it really helped doing something I was extremely passionate about, however, the very first time I got a reality shake and shock was during my honors degree.
It was the most challenging thing I have ever done and it was mainly because there were soooo many extremely talented international people from around the world and in fact, I was the only person from Africa in my course so you can only imagine how intense it was. I remember thinking “wow, this is so tough” but I’ve always been a person who pushes themselves until they are proud. It was honestly an intense three years of my life but by the grace of God, I completed them — and I was proud.
N: For those who aspire, what exactly does Creative Direction entail in a broad sense and I suppose, on a daily basis?
K: Creation Direction is broad but it focuses more on the creating aspect of a business. A creative director is a person who conceptualizes an idea for advertising, marketing, re-branding, performance arts etc and then oversees the creative process by giving guidance to the creative people that work under them to execute the idea.
Everyday is different because it depends on the project I am working on; sometimes it looks like researching the entire day, sometimes my day looks like mood-boarding and conceptualizing ideas.
Most days it looks like planning. There is so much planning that goes into one project.
N: What would you say was (or is) the most challenging aspect of what you do?
K: I think the most challenging aspect is being relatable and staying authentic but also, keeping up with the moving times. I am such a forward-thinker so even in meetings I am always trying to conceptualize and push boundaries when it comes to creating content. I try my best to move with the times but it can be difficult.
N: … And the most rewarding aspect?
K: The most rewarding part is my internet family; the people that engage and are inspired by my work. It’s knowing that I am making a change in the industry, community or world in some small way.
N: As this kind of online culture continues to evolve, what are your words of advice in terms of longevity and remaining relevant?
K: Research. I think it is important to always know what’s happening in your industry; researching, studying the next moves and innovations is the most important part in staying relevant. In order to be on top of your game, you need to have the knowledge to execute, so don’t take research lightly.
An extremely important part is also staying authentic and true to yourself, your brand and the brand you’re working with. I always stress this with the people I work with on new projects. They are always hearing me say “I really want this to look authentic” even though there might be like 2 – 3 people on set. With this in mind you will maintain longevity.
Be sure to visit WILLKATELADY for more inspiration and a guaranteed good time.
All photographs taken by Catalina Jocelyn via WILLKATELADY