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COVER: MELODY MOLALE

INSIDE MELODY’S WORLD OF PLAYFUL LUXURY. STYLED BY QUITERIA & GEORGE. DIRECTED & PHOTOGRAPHED BY LAWRENCE MANYAPELO

Beauty, style and longevity, these are just some of the words that come to mind when we think about fashion and lifestyle influencer Melody Molale. This Corporate Communication graduate credits her ability to invite her online community to her world of luxury as the real reason behind her sustained relevance in the highly saturated influencer market.

From luxurious travels, designer shoes and handbag collections; followers of the former ‘For Fashion Freaks’ blogger have had front-row seats to the “Mel-Show” for almost a decade. With brands still knocking at her door till this day, one of SA’s top stylistas gave Previdar an all access pass to her world fun, playful luxury.

Alongside TV personalities such as Minnie Dlamini-Jones and Pearl Modiadie, Melody headlined one of the country’s first influencer-led campaigns for Woolworths in 2014. In July 2018 Melody made history when she was announced as the first influencer to become a brand ambassador for one of South Africa’s largest beauty brands, Pond’s. So what’s new to her slew of brand collaborations? A partnership that sees her take on the world of luxury vodka, with CÎROC.

A Taste of Mel’s Favourite Things

How important is being online to you?  “As a content creator it is crucial for me to be online, that is where my business/career operates. It’s like asking how important is it for a teacher to be a school? lol. Although I am not physically online 24 hours a day, my profiles are there all the time; they are accessible and people are able to view and engage with my content at any time of the day.”

Take us through the idea of social currency. Is it important and possible to monetize it?  “Social currency is very important for anyone in this day and age, building a social presence allows you the opportunity to market yourself to potential clients no matter the business you’re in. Even professionals in the corporate world, a potential employer may use social media channels to discover and employ new talent – I’m sure a few stories of this nature have prevailed over the years.”

What is content? And what does it mean to you?   “Content is any material curated for a particular audience; either to influence their views, create awareness, drive sales or to simply entertain. And for me, this means an opportunity to do what I love, which is to create content and be able to make a living out of it.”

Your content has managed to keep brands coming back for more, after all these years. What do you think makes you appealing to brand’s like CÎROC? “I think what I’ve managed to do consistently all these years is to be myself, while expressing myself visually. So many people can beat you at many things, but no one can beat you at being yourself. What I’ve learnt from working with brands for so many years is that they value authenticity. I’ve been asking myself the same question about CÎROC and the other brand’s I’ve been fortunate enough to work with, and I always end up at the same point, that they were probably after someone who is consistently themselves. CÎROC is a luxury brand, I have always communicated my love for the luxurious side of the world, whether through fashion or my lifestyle. The synergies were there.”

What does a collaboration with a brand like CÎROC Luxury Vodka entail?

“It entails being myself. The partnership feels so organic that at times I feel like CÎROC is joining the Mel-Show, and not the other way round. I get to spend time with my friends, while documenting what I’m eating and drinking, which is mostly CÎROC Luxury Vodka. I get to attend fashion-related events hosted by the brand and hangout with my friends. I get to attend fashion week and stop by the #CÎROCxMoschino Pop Up Bar in between fashion shows. Most importantly, I get to document my moments with CÎROC, which are aligned to my passions, fashion and having a good time.”  

When did you join the CÎROC family and how has the journey been so far? Firstly, I’ve always loved CÎROC as a brand and what it represents in the luxury and fashion spheres. The moment I found out I’d be working on two of their campaigns I was thrilled!  When I first joined the CÎROC family  it was with  the  limited edition Summer Colada, and most recently,  I worked on the #CÎROCxMoschino collaboration, where I played an integral role in ensuring that the campaign messaging reached the right audiences in an authentic manner, using my social media platforms. What does your love for fashion have in common with the #CÎROCxMoschino campaign? Need you even ask? Perfect fit! I was soooo envious when the global influencers took the FROW in Milan, literally the type of content that I signed up for. The whole campaign brings together two really playful brands in nature, a bold celebration of modern luxury. My style is also playful as I‘m able to put together ensembles that showcase my playful side whilst ensuring to always exhibit my luxurious side too. Oh and I love Moschino, Jeremy Scott  is totally a fave!.

What does fashion mean to you? 

“Fashion to me means being able to express myself through clothes. My clothes always tell which mood I’m in, I’m predicable like that, lol. Also, my clothes have the ability to alter my mood. When I love my outfit, I’m super happy. I could be wrong but I think this is true for most of us fashion-lovers, haha.” Instagram accounts you enjoy? 

“I love beauty, fashion and travel accounts. I draw so much inspiration for what I do from them. I can’t name particular ones because there’s just so many but I think I follow about 800 accounts on Instagram alone. I am a sucker for great content, I’m not influenced by the number of followers people have. If an account is beautifully curated and authentic I often follow and double tap.”

What’s the difference between style and fashion? 

“Style is personal, it’s individualistic. Style is in everything that you do, the clothes you wear, the way walk, speak, eat, the way you do your hair, the kind of music you listen to all that forms a part of your style. Fashion on the other hand is for everyone, it’s shared. Fashion is what you buy, style is what you make out of what you buy.”

You’re known for your fashion taste, particularly when it comes to your enviable handbag and shoe collection. Might we add that we die each time you debut a new item. What to-date would you say is your favourite item to own? “I have quite a few, please don’t make me choose!!! Lol. If I had to choose my favourite pair right now, it would definitely be my Manolo Blahnik Hangisi in royal blue. Ever since I saw Carrie Bradshaw on Sex And The City strutting down the streets of New York in a pair, I just had to have them. It’s almost a surreal feeling owning a pair because for some reason they’ve always seemed so unattainable, but now that I own one, I’m looking forward to owning another. However, I must admit I am more of a bag girl though, I gladly trade some of my shoes for more bags, haha! My go-to bag at the moment has to be my Louis Vuitton Palm Springs Mini Back Pack. That bag goes well with everything, it’s easy to carry and it packs quite a lot inside.”

What is your most treasured tale behind your items?

“I get so much joy from knowing I am able to support my friends, and that is a feeling I get with each item purchased from Luvant, a marketplace owned by a dear friend. Most recently it would be getting my hands on my Moschino bag. It’s such sentimental item for me as it marked the beginning of treasured partnership. When I joined the CÎROC team, I was gifted with a few items from the brand’s collaboration with Italian fashion house, Moschino. These included the limited edition bottle designed by Jeremy Scott, and a few accessories including shoes and my handbag.”

You’ve recently coined the phrase, “You Can’t Spell Melanin without Mel”. Why is celebrating your Melanin so important to you?

“It is crucial for young brown girls to see me, a dark skinned woman with the platform that I have, celebrating my beautiful choc’late tone. Growing up as a dark-skinned girl canpresent many challenges and self-acceptance issues. We didn’t grow up at a time where we could read about those challenges, we didn’t grow up in a time where being dark represented beauty. We also didn’t grow up in a time where people celebrated their skin tones. I’ve grown to become so confident in my own skin and celebrating my “Melanin” and viewing myself as beautiful has become part of who I am.”

The fashion and beauty industry have been criticised for their lack of representation in their work. What is your take on both industries’ resistance to diversity and inclusion?

“To have a brand as massive as POND’S say “Hey Mel, we see you, we think you’re beautiful”, still feels like a dream. The right moves are being made and we’re starting to see more brands in fashion open up their minds. One can only hope that the next generation will have an easier time growing up seeing people that look like them celebrated on huge scale platforms.”

The one fashion trend you think is over done? 

“Dad sneakers.”

Five clothing items you can never go wrong with in your closet? 

“A crisp white shirt, blue denim jeans, a blazer, diamond studs and stilettos.”

What’s the one beauty trick that every girl you’ve met swears by?

“There’s no one trick that all girls swear by as we’re all so diverse. However there is one rule that all girls live by, which is “Never go to bed with your make up on!” Bubbles of Cocktails? Uhm…Is this a trick question? Right now?… #CÎROCxMoschino cocktails!

Not For Persons Under The Age Of 18. 

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