Palesa Masiteng, TV presenter, wellness speaker, professional model, entrepreneur, and founder of Model Fitness by Palesa Masiteng Picture: Supply
As the world celebrates Women’s Month, we identified and spoke to a group of stand-out women - in fitness, decor and photography.

Fitness

Palesa Masiteng (Joburg), TV presenter, wellness speaker, professional model, entrepreneur, and founder of Model Fitness by Palesa Masiteng - a lifestyle brand that aims to inspire and motivate individuals to live an active lifestyle.

What inspired your fitness and well-being journey?

It began as part of my work as a model - I obviously have to maintain a certain look and shape. However, at the time, I led a very unhealthy lifestyle. I reached a point in life where there was a lot of imbalance and that’s when I made a decision. I changed my mind and that changed my life.

What are your top tips to South Africans who are starting their fitness journey?

Set realistic goals, we’re not all the same body shape. You are your own beauty standard.

What do you advise women who want to put their dreams into action in design?

Start where you are, with what you have. Set the intention to add value to yourself and those around you.


Decor

Interior designer Nicki Ellis, founder of Love Milo Homeware and designer. She grew up spending time on her family farm in Namibia, from which she says she gets a fair amount of inspiration.

What inspired you to go solo and make an impact in the niche market?

I was a film colourist for many years and after falling pregnant with my first child, Milo, I felt the need to be an example to him and follow my own truth. For me, this meant making things I loved on a personal level and not creating for others - which I felt wasn’t really creative.

What’s your approach to design?

I like a minimalist look, mixed with different and unique objects, juxtaposing old and new. I design for what I like and not for others. Much of my inspiration for my Love Milo designs comes from objects and shapes I find in nature. I like imperfection but I like it to be well-composed and not too messy.

What do you advise women who want to put their dreams into action in design?

Take the leap of faith, and do it for yourself, no one else. You can’t go wrong if you truly believe in your work.


Photography

Neo Baepi (Cape Town), photographer and content producer.

Was there anything specific that you can remember that made you want to become a photographer?

I spent some of my childhood in Soweto, where I met a photographer who took me in and taught me how to shoot and develop film. After he passed, I continued some of his work around the area where we lived and I chose to study photojournalism as a vessel to tell stories. I didn’t shoot in an official capacity until after I got my degree and travelled for a while. I didn’t believe anyone would take me seriously as a photographer - until they did.

How would you define your personal style of photography?

I shoot portraits, mostly. I define portraiture as an event of amplifying and recording a subject at their very best. A portrait can be a musician on stage or an athlete at play, the portrait lies in them being captured at their best.

Top tip for any aspiring photographers out there?

Practise. Shoot all the time, even - especially! - when you don’t feel like it. Don’t take yourself too seriously, but don’t take the ability to work for granted. Make a good impression, build relationships and don’t send or publish anything you wouldn’t be proud of. Find your style, just don’t suck. And make it a point to not suck.