Television presenter, actress, model, and entrepreneur Ayanda Thabethe, says the ongoing narrative that women in the entertainment industry are not hard-working is a huge misconception.
“I believe that this is an ongoing debate (among) people who are not familiar with the new-age digital working environment that celebrities and influencers are privy to.”
I’m disliking this narrative that’s going around that women in our industry are not hard working - just because you sit behind a desk does not make one less or more of a hard worker than someone who is a freelancer and I can say this with my chest coz I’ve done both successfully.— Ayanda Thabethe (@AyandaThabethe_) May 13, 2022
The 36-year-old says celebrities and influencers have made social media a very lucrative form of income, and because this inevitably makes them freelancers and chief executives of their own brands, it allows them some freedom.
There is no stable income in the entertainment industry, she says, adding that one has to put in the work to gain the traction and engagement.
Thabethe further warns that gossip mongers who make careless and uninformed statements can cause damage to a growing industry that has opened up so many opportunities for so many different people.
With a one-month-old baby, having a balance between work and life has taken on a whole new meaning.
“Having a child has changed me in the most meaningful ways. I have taken my time to dive back into work because my first priority is now my child.
“My aim now is to be selective with the brands that I work with and their mindfulness to my need to have my work function around my child and not the other way around.”
Weight loss after pregnancy has become a phenomenon, with influencers being expected to shed the baby weight.
Thabethe says because she built her brand around being a 'hot girl', she experienced this public pressure along with the self-inflicted kind.
“My body’s way of dealing with big or stressful situations, is to lose weight, fast. I did not expect to lose the weight so fast though, nor was I succumbing to any kind of pressure.”
In this highly unpredictable industry, she says one is only as good as their last role.
Being a go-getter and a self-starter who is always on the lookout for spaces where they can create value and separate themselves from everyone else can help newcomers to the industry.
“You are the master of your own path, and you decide the terms. This is an industry where women can thrive, but can also be exploited.”
Thabethe credits entering the industry a bit later in her life with saving her from this exploitation.
"I had a very strong, firm foundation, and understanding of who I am and what I stand for, which helped me in an industry where there is so much attention and scrutiny."