Inside the life of a beauty influencer: Sinethemba Duma on the highs and lows of her profession

Sinethemba Duma. Picture: Instagram.

Sinethemba Duma. Picture: Instagram.

Published Jun 27, 2024


In recent years, we’ve seen an exponential rise in digital content creation.

The ever-present nature of the internet has afforded Millennials and Gen Z’s far more career options, in comparison to those from previous generations and they are able to venture into many more avenues outside of ordinary office jobs.

Scores of people from all corners of the globe are now able to make a living by expressing their creativity in the digital sphere, which comes with an abundance of new opportunities.

South African fashion and beauty content creator, Sinethemba Duma, is one of the many infleuncers who has made a name for herself in the industry.

Hailing from Ladysmith in Kwa-Zulu Natal, Duma, who is currently based in Cape Town, has thousands of followers who watch her every move on an almost daily basis across her social media platforms.

She explained that she had a passion for art and photography from a young age. Her content creation career began when her mother gifted her an iPhone while she was in university.

Duma then began to create fashion and beauty content and would tag brands in her posts.

Her persistence began to pay off and since 2017, many organisations started to work with her.

Seven years later, she has emerged as one of South Africa’s top lifestyle content creators.

Sinethemba Duma. Picture: Instagram.

“Influencing is going well so far, God has been so good. I’ve been lucky that I got the opportunity to work with many brands that I have loved for years,” Duma told Independent Media Lifestyle.

She described her venture into the digital world as “a very humbling experience”.

“I like that I get free things and I like getting paid to do what I love, that’s my favourite part of the whole thing,” Duma added.

“It’s waking up every morning and doing what you love. It feels so easy, so natural, I don’t have to try so hard. It’s very fun, I like that part. And of course, I enjoy the events I get to attend and the clothes I get to wear."

Despite the many perks of her job, Duma insisted that the influencer world is not as glamorous as it appears. She explained that this is because content creators experiences many challenges.

One of the main ones is finding jobs that pay because they basically work as freelancers.

“You’re not guaranteed to get the views and reactions you’d like from people.  Sometimes you create a good body of work, put it out and it’s not received how you like,” Duma said.

“Another challenge is getting work and some people struggle a lot with that.”

She admitted that she also finds this aspect of her job challenging.

“I also struggled when I started and even now that I’ve been doing it for a very long time, it’s still challenging making sure that you secure a gig and that the rent is paid”.

“It’s not guaranteed that you’re going to get gigs, so you have to constantly put yourself out there and that is challenging for many of us, but it’s doable,” said Duma.

Sinethemba Duma. Picture: Instagram.

She added that another challenge was getting paid on time as many brands often give content creators the run-around when it comes to money.

This can prove to be a struggle as Duma and other influencers rely on these payments to pay their bills.

Despite the hardships that come from her profession, Duma believes that she is living the dream and that she is working with brands that value her work and allow her to express herself creatively.

“Working with skincare brands like CeraVe, Nivea and all of these big brands that I grew up admiring, like Vaseline and working with make-up brands like Maybelline, has been a blessing,” she said.

Despite her prominence in the industry, Duma admitted that she didn’t initially think she could do fashion influencing.

“Mr Price was the first brand that hired me to do a fashion campaign and it was the craziest thing because I never thought I could do fashion.”

“But since then, we’ve been working together because they understand my style and the things that I love,” she said.

Sinethemba Duma. Picture: Instagram.

Duma’s advice for aspiring influencers is simple yet profound: “Put your content out there and tag the brands you want to work with.”

“Consistency and effort will eventually get you recognised.”