She has been in one of the fashion capitals of the world, namely New York city for a couple of weeks now. Her name is Gaone Pearl Mooketsi, and this is one name and face that you need to remember, for she is a Supermodel in the making. Mooketsi is a model signed under local company Juice Promotions Model (which is her mother agency).
Internationally the 1.8m model is signed under 28 Model Management Agency in New York. Over the past couple of weeks, she has worked for LEUNI (a big designer in New York fashion), SS19 from China, and featured in a Christopher Lowman show, as well as being featured in Vogue online. An elated Mooketsi tells Style that she works with a tight and busy schedule that revolves around castings, fittings and shows.
“It feels good to be a working model,” she says excitedly. Her highlights include walking the ramp for one of the biggest brands namely Pyermoss and Lowman. “Oh wow. It all feels like a dream. As a new face I feel I have done so well. It is not over yet, as I am still here. And I am working hard every day, hoping to get noticed by another big fashion house,” she points out.
Quizzed on how she is feeling at living her dream after so many years of hard work, she says she is over the moon. “I am proud of myself for having worked hard, staying focused, and dedicated to what I love. The fruits of my hard work are finally paying off. I am in the city that I dreamt of for so many years, the city of fashion,” says Mooketsi. She adds that sometimes emotions overcome her when she thinks about her mother agency.
“I remember when I first met her, she said to me, you are going to be big my girl, Botswana is not ready for you,” she shares. Her dream job is modelling she says. And she dreams about working for big international brands such as Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabana, Donatella Versace to mention a few. “I want to work with these brands on international campaigns, and also get endorsements deals from brands such as Coco Chanel and Dior,” she says.
“But obviously, I need something to fall back on. So upon completion of my Bsc (Hons) in Network Security and Computer Forensics at Botho University, I would love to learn one or two languages. And I would also love to own my own fashion house brand one day,” says Mooketsi. Other exciting development from the Big Apple is that she is now busy with fittings and show rehearsals for other projects that will be revealed in good time when she is confirmed.
New York which falls under the Big four in fashion is currently busy with the annual New York Fashion week. “Mind you it is the New York fashion week now, so everyone’s attention is on the fashion week. But we are hoping that she will book campaigns as well after the fashion shows. This means that your model will be exposed to fashion house magazines, beauty products, and other brands who do brand activation after the fashion week,” explains Julie Tsile, head of Juice Promotions Model.
Tsile says Mooketsi now is in the main board in New York, which means that she is officially listed as an international model to look at. This also means that all the big designers and fashion houses will now recognise her and she will get first priority alongside other models who are on the main board. This will go into her books, will build her confidence knowing that she is in it.
So what does that mean for Mooketsi? “Knowing that she is in it and surrounded by all the resources she needs to become a supermodel, it means that as a Juice Doll brand, she has made a name for herself and the agency let alone Botswana and put us on the map,” explains Tsile. “Now as she passes in New York they will say that Botswana girl and it brings tears to my eyes knowing how bad she wanted this, and that we made it happen for her,” she adds.
It also means a lot to her to have Mooketsi as a Juice doll ambassador. Tsile notes that it has always been a dream of hers to go to New York and spread her footprints there, but that life happened (school and marriage). “But I did make an impact in the modelling industry and have done a lot of shows in and outside Botswana including being on Vogue”.
She also explains that her stay was extended for two more weeks (she was slated to return earlier this week), as they wanted to give her more exposure and time to network with industry leaders and other models after the fashion week. “There are always photographers who would like to do photo shoots out of the runway so this gives her a chance to have these kinds of opportunities and also engage the media for a wider range of networking because we encourage our models to also grow as a brand themselves,” she explains.
She also notes that Mooketsi is an amazing young woman, and that she did everything she can with her self-sponsored agency in order to make sure that she competes or rather shows her talent at the world’s top models platforms. “She listens, she is hungry and she is doing so well in New York. Clients love her for her signature Juice doll walk. So I can only thank God because the sacrifices that I have made and pushing all my models including Mooketsi are paying off,” says Tsile.
The GIMC concert could possibly have clocked a higher attendance had the organisers allowed cooler boxes or at least sold a variety of beverages. The ‘no cooler box’ policy, which was communicated via social media, killed the vibe.
When you host a venue of that magnitude, it is OK to please “the masses” (considering that you want their money) and put mechanisms in place to deal with hiccups that might emanate. There were many security and police personnel who could have thoroughly searched cooler boxes at the gate.
Although the gig was headlined by ‘big’ names such as Nasty C, Vee, Dramaboi, Lady Zamar, Prince Kaybee, Master KG, Sjava and La Timmy among others, it did not attract multitudes unlike the previous editions when the National stadium was packed to the rafters.
I bought 440ml cans of my favourite beer and stuffed them in my bag and throughout the night I would pull out one and drink it from the part sponsor branded cup.
I was not going to subject myself to bland beer. There were no other beers or even ciders available except that of the part sponsor, as well as whisky, vodka and cheap red wine served at the VIP section. Surely people should have the freedom to enjoy their drink of choice on a night out of hard partying?
Sadi Dikgaka and Loungo Pitse were great MCs, together with Somizi Mhlongo, who is overrated but sure is fun. He took to the stage dressed in an outrageous furry yellow coat that made him look like a newly hatched chicken. The 45-year-old’s handsome 24-year-old boyfriend is seemingly good for him because Somgaga, as he is popularly known, has the energy of a 21-year-old.
Lady Zamar has slimmed down and is looking fabulous but her dress style still leaves a lot to be desired. She wore a lace frock that made her look like she had made a detour from a wedding in the village. But nevertheless, her music is great and her live performance of hits such as Collide and Criminal were on point as she and her dancers shook what their mamas gave them.
Vee was probably one of the best performers of the night and while he churned his new hits, he also performed old songs such as Taku taku and Zola, which were a hit with revellers, who stomped and wiggled madly. The biggest disappointment on stage was Sjava’s whose outfit was whack as his performance. He looked sullen as if he had been forced him to perform.
It was not Prince Kaybee’s best set but I enjoy his music and he is so sexy and cute that one can’t help but forgive him without batting an eyelid. The celebs, wanna-be celebs and party animals: from the drab to the fab, turned it up in the VIP section.
The drinks flowed like a perennial river and by 3am most of the revellers were gyrating like crazy, with the wild partying going on until the crack of dawn.
At about 12:00 pm last week Tuesday, I checked in at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport as my journey to Rwanda began. I boarded with the lovely Ethiopian Airlines (ET 829) as we flew for the next six and half hours to reach Bole International Airport, Ethiopia.
This was my first ever-longest time spent on an aircraft. My longest has always been four hours of Joburg-Kenya destination.
So this was my first longest trip on air and I enjoyed it. I was even delighted to learn that we pass through the Victoria Falls space on the way to Ethiopia. Victoria Falls is one of the places close to my heart. I kept dozing throughout the long journey while sometimes I would be awakened by the excitement noise of a group of local students who were on their way to Israel for studying. They were First year students.
I just couldn’t wait to see Rwanda and immediately find out what the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2018 had in store for me. Before I knew it, we were in Addis Ababa’s Bole Airport and I was nervous my flight might leave me as we had a delay from Botswana. The airport was also yet another experience, so big and fully congested. Well, I quickly rushed to my boarding gate to avoid being left behind and thank God I nailed the time.
I wore a big smile on my face as I was now boldly ready to see Kigali, the new city whose beauty I have heard of from other East African countries that I have been to. Three hours down the line I was in Kigali Airport and all I could feel was the ambience of love and calmness. I immediately realised that security was tight. For a few minutes I freaked out but immediately thought I was in a protected place.
I recoiled at the memory of the 1994 genocide. Anyway, things have changed and the immaculate city of Kigali beautifully surrounded by the hills just boasts of peace. The neatness just made me call the city a paperless city. Of course the country has banned the use of plastics and this factor alone contributes to the cleanliness of the city.
I reached Kigali at exactly 00:30 am and headed to Hotel Chez Lando. What I saw that night definitely matched what I have heard of. The city sprawls across numerous hills, ridges and valleys and it looks like the background of the city was created just to boast.
From the road, I enjoyed the view of the buildings, which looked as if it was sloping with those shimmering lights that provoked the beautiful city’s image.
I still couldn’t wait to wake up and get to Kigali Convention Centre where the proceedings of the conference were held. I have heard so much about it and it was indeed impressive. The convention centre absorbed us all in its enormous space, and mind you, we were over 2000 from across Africa.
We don’t have such a facility in Botswana and I was tipped it is actually the second largest after the one in Addis Ababa while some argued that Kenya Convention Centre is also that big. On the second day of the event, with my team of journalists from 13 other countries spooned by Thompson Reuters leadership, we visited Kagitarama village in Muhanga District. Clearly, the country is beautiful and clean; we still noted this on the way to the fields.
Those lovely, open green spaces really fascinated me especially since it was drizzling and that fresh smell just made my day. I also spared some time to visit Kigali Memorial Centre and Nyamata Genocide Memorial.I was so touched at this place, there are so many disheartening stories on how people died during the genocide, but thank God the country has just positively transformed to be a peaceful place.
I literally shed a remorseful tear when I saw those clothes some stained in blood that were preserved after the dead were buried. I was glad that the memorial centres are there to show the world the difficult path that the country once faced. At Nyamata, I was also deeply hurt when they explained to me about one tombstone that belonged to an 18-year-old girl who was painfully killed with a stick that was shoved from her mouth and let out through her excretory passage.
She died a very painful death her killer did not only kill her that way. He was an HIV positive man and he also raped her. Seeing those skulls of the deceased piled up there also ripped off one’s soul. A lot more painful stories from these centres may be shared but I am so glad the country is now fine. There is actually a police offices about three meters apart at the malls, just to ensure that people in the city are safe at all times.
On my way back, we made a stop over at Victoria Falls airport where we waited for an hour before we proceeded to my capital city, Gaborone. I enjoyed the landscape that I saw from above, it looked dry but there was just something about the glimpse.My travel to Kigali was indeed insightful as I have learnt a lot from the forum and also had an opportunity to be in the midst of my continent’s leaders.
The renowned Tony Blair also graced this occasion, and from Botswana, Former Governor of Bank of Botswana Linah Mohohlo, the youthful Naledi Magowe and Liberty Mtetwa also attended the forum to talk technology in Agriculture.