Pretoria - If you didn’t know who Reeva Steenkamp was before Thursday’s shooting, you were about to.
A model, a cover girl, a former FashionTV presenter – and from Saturday, a star in the fifth season of local reality TV show Tropika Island of Treasure.
“There was so much in the pipeline for her,” said her agent Sarit Tomlinson. “She was just about to explode into the media.”
Capetonian by birth, Steenkamp was a Port Elizabeth girl at heart, the daughter of respected horse trainer Barry Steenkamp.
She spent both her primary and high school years at St Dominic’s Priory, where she matriculated in 2001.
“She was a vibrant, friendly, diligent and motivated student who was popular with and respected by staff and peers alike,” said headmaster Greg Stokell.
“From (when she was) young, Reeva had the full support of her parents, who encouraged her to maximise her strengths and abilities to achieve her dreams. She set high goals for herself in everything she did, and she consistently converted opportunities into success.”
Steenkamp went on to complete a law degree at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in 2005.
The plan was to become an advocate. But when she was named the face of cosmetic house Avon SA, she turned her focus to modelling.
“I completed my degree, packed a single suitcase and headed off to Ice Models in Jozi, and the rest is history,” she told FHM.
Over the next six years, she worked as a presenter for FashionTV in South Africa and starred in campaigns for Toyota, Clover, Italian brand Zui and Sandton boutique Pallu.
She was FHM’s December 2011 cover girl and twice featured on their top 100 sexiest women in the world list.
Steenkamp and Pistorius first appeared publicly together in November at the SA Sports Awards, just as the athlete was being lambasted in the media by his ex-girlfriend, Samantha Taylor, as a “player”.
Just last week, she told the Sunday Times that Pistorius had “impeccable” taste. “His gifts are always thoughtful,” she said.
While M-Net has withdrawn its Oscars-Oscar Pistorius campaign in light of Thursday’s shooting, Tropika Island of Treasure is still expected to air on Saturday on SABC1.
Fellow competitor Duan Wanty said Steenkamp had been a loyal friend since they met during filming.
“Reeva was a beautiful, determined girl who did nothing else than inspire the people she came in contact with,” he said. “She was an angel.”
Friend Emma Sadleir agreed, saying Steenkamp would drop everything if a friend needed her. “She loved tea and scones,” said Sadleir. “Any problem could be solved with tea.”