Dear diary: the only way is up

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TO pn dineo

Being Miss Popularity has its perks and its pitfalls. For Dineo Ranaka, a former YFM presenter and Club 808 personality, the latter aspect came with salacious headlines that painted a rather debauched picture of her life. But instead of embarking on a mudslinging match with certain media, Ranaka has opted to set the record straight with a proper introduction via her new reality show, Dineo’s Diary: A Mogul in the Making, airing on Vuzu. Debashine Thangevelo thinks that, unlike the Nonhle Themas of this world, this strong-willed, intelligent and sassy woman might be able to pull it off…

YOU can’t help but applaud Dineo Ranaka’s gutsiness. With the media piranhas scavenging for any morsel of gossip she allows cameras to document her movements for Dineo’s Diary: A Mogul in the Making on Vuzu.

Why? For starters being tagged a “coke-head” was hard to digest.

But the eloquent Ranaka sums up the catalysts behind her show the best: “It came about through patience, through fear, through false attacks from media (not across the board – just some media). It came about through insecurity… and eventually through having the guts to say: ‘You need to start getting things done’. These are a few elements that prevented me from doing it back then.”

She continues: “Anyone would possibly think, ‘You need to get over these bad headlines already’. But when you are constantly running research, you can’t avoid perception. I’m fully aware of how I am perceived. With this show, we are saying: here is the public perception and what you know. It is a truth I have to face. Then we move away and say: here, this is what’s real. And it isn’t me trying to be opposite – just me being myself. The objective is to compare the reality of what you are witnessing versus the perception of what’s being said. So let’s also encompass that perception and slowly, but surely, eliminate that and give you insight to who I am.”

A self-confessed fan of television, especially the reality genre, she says: “I would hate to use someone else’s brand as a guinea pig. If anything good or bad is to come about, let me be the brunt of the negative or positive that may arise.”

As the title suggests, the mother of a beautiful little boy is multitalented and ambitious.

On the music front, she is very attracted to the pop genre.

“It suits my energy levels and personality – very out-there and somewhat tongue-in-cheek,” she maintains. “There are so many depressing things happening in our society and the world – like the financial crisis – and pop music provides escapism. I write quite a lot of music. On my first album, I want to give fans something more holistic. I wrote all the tracks.”

And she can’t stop singing the praises of having worked with J-Lawless, Ishmael and Stethoscope. That’s not forgetting her collaboration with her musician boyfriend, Black Les.

“We feature on each other’s albums. I was attracted to his talent before I was attracted to him as a person,” smiles Ranaka.

Fingers crossed, she hopes to launch her debut album next month. Although she hasn’t worked with many females, she is hoping to change the status quo with her second or third release.

“I have Toya Delazy and Flash Republic on my wish list. And Kelly Khumalo. I think her vocals could add so much value to my second or third album. I can’t wait for the country to see me perform. It also means I won’t be limited as a radio and TV presenter,” she notes.

Having enrolled at Lisof Fashion Design school last year, Ranaka admits she didn’t have the patience to wait for her qualification. She went ahead and launched her Luv DR fashion label.

“I love to make clothes,” she explains. “I am not going to take it back to when I used to make clothes for my dolls. Every girl does that and outgrows it. I enjoy the process of making people look good, trendy and fashionable. And I want to be a part of it. Luv DR is an ensemble production that has been in operation for less than a year. We haven’t made a huge deal about wanting to dress celebs on the red carpet. We have taken a stand-alone approach to fashion. A lot of the clothes I have worn on Club 808.”

While not skimping on quality, Ranaka says her diverse collection will appeal to those with a taste for the finer things in life – and to those who are on a budget, but still want to look good. There were, however, no compromises made with her male brand, Beast.

Aside from her fashion line and blossoming music career, Ranaka is an unmistakably savvy businesswoman. Without giving too much away, this facet of her will be manifested on the show via her interactions with The MediaShop.

But her ideas don’t stop there – Ranaka has grand plans to launch an awards show which will celebrate the entertainment industry in its entirety.

“We can use the industry as a marketing tool for the country. And we expand entertainment and blow it out of the roof. We are planning an entertainment show that encapsulates the industry and everyone involved in it,” she continues.

With a wonderful platform to sell herself as a business commodity, it looks like Ranaka has cottoned on to a brilliant marketing strategy.

And where others have become fallen reality stars (cough, er, Nonhle Thema), she is determined to not join the statistics.

“The key is to listen to the advice. Listen to the words of wisdom and experience from colleagues you are contractually related to. Be very observant of yourself and your behaviour. And be the first to tell yourself to calm down, because you are getting out of line. Also, listen to your family when they are guiding you,” she offers.

If you think you know what to expect in this reality show, think again. There are dramatic family blow-ups and bumps in her relationship with Black Les which surface in the series. And, funnily enough, it wasn’t plotted that way.

“It’s about keeping it real. There is a huge expectation for plotting and scripting. When making television, yes, that is the smart thing to do. But we are hoping, in mostly foregoing that, taking the risk will work to our advantage,” Ranaka admits.

Whatever you thought you knew about Dineo Ranaka is about to be rewritten in Dineo’s Diary: A Mogul in the Making. Brace yourself!

• Dineo’s Diary: A Mogul in the Making airs on Vuzu this Wednesday at 7.30pm.


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