Sassy Sisters Podcast with Cyd Eva and Special Guest Vanessa Mojapelo
Stylist and filmmaker, Vanessa Mojapelo, is walking her own path of creative abundance with infectious joy and playfulness. With an enviable wardrobe and eye for mastering juxtaposing looks, Vanessa has built a career styling people for television. Yet it was her previous job, as a video editor, that led Vanessa to pursue her work as a filmmaker working with artists and clothing brands.
Today, she is combining her breadth of skills and passions to live a full and multidisciplined lifestyle. A sense of fulfillment exudes from Vanessa's personality; bubbling with warm energy, grounded in humility, and seeped in enigmatic rebellion. These traits shine through in whatever venture Vanessa embarks upon, be it in front of the lens, behind the editor desk, or thrifting for clothes in Downtown Joburg.
Tune in to the podcast episode to hear Cyd Eva interview Vanessa Mojapelo about her love of television and how a rural upbringing shaped the mindset she carries today.
What am I? I'm wild!
Born and raised in the North of South Africa, Vanessa describes herself as a village girl. For as long as she can remember, she wanted to be part of the world of media and entertainment. "Ever since I met the television, and I could see, I've always loved everything that happens inside that box and I always wanted to know how to get in and outside and under it. And now I am outside, in, and under it. As a stylist, as a model and [even] putting other people in front of her." The journey to this point was something Vanessa started by studying film.
Ever since I met the television, I've always loved everything that happens inside that box and I always wanted to know how to get in and outside and under it.
From there she went into working in Live News as an editor at CNBCA which came with a unique type of intensity and pressure. "I always knew it wasn't for me, but it was so cool because it was live....it taught me a lot. And through my journey of finding my way as a Black woman in the film industry, as I'm maneuvering around, I met different parts of myself." Vanessa lent into this newness and found her stylish eye paying off, bringing her to work on wardrobe within film and TV. By combining this with her joy of editing, ("I love cutting and putting it all together. You get this footage that is a mess and you make it beautiful.") Vanessa is a brilliant example of exercising all the creative muscles; "I just have [many] different loves!"
This natural abundance of energy comes laced with rebellion, something that Vanessa explains is a result of her country. "The context of our country is super influenced by the rest of the world. It has this following vibe...but being able to rebel against it made me be able to rebel against my own [identity]" In doing so, Vanessa explains she's been able to break away from fakeness and always be her authentic self.
The self Vanessa talks with Cyd Eva about takes us back to her childhood and being from outside of a city. Vanessa explains"being a village girl helps me. The city can be wild, it can be crazy, so knowing I can take myself out of the situation is humbling - it makes me feel good." This connection to home extends beyond the geographical into the creative. Vanessa talks about how she is using a particular crocheting technique in her artwork that was passed down from her grandmother. This intergenerational crossover through craft is something that Vanessa celebrates as another form of communication. "I get to express myself using something my grandmother taught me and that's really special. Despite the fact that [the older generation] can have different beliefs, we can still connect and have an understanding of where those beliefs come from." Something that we see being highly necessary as the world shifts in identity and knowledge.
Feminism means you can be free to do whatever the hell you want based on the fact that you're a human, not based on what's in between your legs.
We hear Vanessa discuss with Cyd Eva the importance of loving on your own body. This is something Vanessa does in her self-portraiture work, archived on her social media. Patterns, colour, and natural lighting often give out a sensual nostalgia as she moves between elegance and playfulness. Showing herself both with or without clothes, Vanessa's modeling work is something she explains as being a fundamental part of who she is. "I am proudly sensual...I feel it is a part of me that needs to be expressed, [but] it's a part that can easily be hidden." Recognising the importance of connecting with self intimacy, Vanessa explains how, rather than repress her sensuality, she'll "put it first, in my art. I can be freely sensual by myself and no one else can sensualise me and make me feel uncomfortable" This is something that gives Vanessa agency over the image she portrays of herself; liberated, authentic, humorous, and abundantly creative.
I am proudly sensual...I feel it is a part of me that needs to be expressed
It is clear how Vanessa's creative vision is woven together by an undeniable sense of her own identity. An enthusiasm for life, and an eagerness to continually experiment with clothing, photography and film is something that shines through in her work. Whether she is styling herself, or dressing others, Vanessa Mojapelo's adventurous streak comes to life. We can't wait to see what this Sassy sister will create in the near future because, if one thing is for sure, it'll be as wild and as wacky as Vanessa is!
And stay up to date with Cyd Eva's work @cydeva
Vanessa Mojapelo's Tracklist
Bokang - Lie to me
(to be released at the end of the year)
Mwanji the wndrkd - Rolling
Dope Saint Jude - Grrl like
Sio - Locked
Nono Nkoane - Umculo Wethu