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Blue Mbombo turns the streets of Seville into runway

A taste of Spain. Style by Kgosilego Molamu. Make-Up by BK. Photography by Harmonix

Reality TV royalty, model, actress, queen of red carpet sexy and co-owner of Moziak Magazine, Blue Mbombo, burst onto the entertainment scene when she took part in Big Brother South Africa 2015. From Big Brother to Diski Divas, Blue Mbombo has captured the hearts of South Africans and has even drawn comparisons to Kim Kardashian.

Affectionately known as Duchess Blue Mbombo by her legion of fans, Blue has had a successful career securing bags with brands such as Dark & Lovely, Clere Radiance & Boulevard Campaign; not to mention her billboards in Ghana, Nigeria, France to name a few. 

Next on the model’s to-do list? Turning the streets of Seville into her very own runway. Located in the South of Spain, the magical city is packed with a rich history, and boasts a plethora of tourist attractions, which proved to be the perfect backdrop for the content creator in Blue, when she recently took over the city with premium gin brand, Tanqueray last month. From the Giralda tower (which is the third largest in the world), to the palace of the Reales Alcàzares and the magical Barrio of Santa Cruz with its narrow streets; not forgetting the aroma of orange blossoms on every corner. It is little to no wonder why Charles Tanqueray chose to use the same aroma to lend a summer vibrancy to his original recipes which now inspires the latest addition to the Tanqueray family. 

Previdar had the opportunity to sit down with Duchess Blue to chat about the scenic sights & delicious food that Seville has to offer and her journey with Tanqueray.

Your brand positioning has truly been one for the books. From reality TV star, model, to one of the most sought-after fashionistas in SA; What would you say were your key learnings during your transition?

Learning and understanding more about me as person has been really important. I discovered what I love and what I am good at – fashion and modelling. I did my research to try to understand what I would need to focus on if that’s what I wanted to be known for. Once I did that, the evolution was organic over time, into the career and brand I am currently building.  

You have been making quite a lot of power moves lately as you recently announced your new business venture in partnership with Moziak Magazine. Can you tell us more about it? 

Moziak is a perfect fit for me. For someone who is very creative, I didn’t want my creativity or my ideas to only be about me,  I saw the need to venture into curating content more broadly about topics that are important to me.  I’m very excited about this  – it’s one of my biggest projects and it’s something that I absolutely love. I’m sure everybody knows I have passion for fashion and for creating amazing content! Now I get to flex this muscle beyond my own social media and deliver exciting lifestyle content from Africa to the rest of the world! 

And now, the cat’s FINALLY out the bag! You have recently joined the Tanqueray family – another career highlight. Can you take us through your journey with the premium gin brand. 

It’s a very exciting journey for me! It’s also like very humbling because it’s a pioneering move for Tanqueray who has never had local representatives before . It’s humbling that they could have selected anyone and they selected me. The brand has been so amazing so far and I absolutely love being a part of the family. It’s definitely a perfect fit – Tanqueray is a classy, sophisticated and elegant brand. Those are values that speak to my personal brand. After a once in a lifetime experience in Spain with the brand , I’m so enthusiastic about the journey ahead!  

Can you tell us a bit about what your partnership with Tanqueray entails?

This partnership came at a time where I was gearing up to take my brand to the next level, through the power moves we have just discussed. It came at a time when I was seeking deeper and meaningful associations with brands, as part of this new chapter I’m embarking on. The scale at which this partnership has been rolled out, from the content and experiential trip to Spain ahead of the Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla launch, to the 4-part insert partnership we enjoyed with Top Billing, and sharing the experience with you guys has been an awe-inspiring experience. Beyond that, I believe my partnership with Tanqueray will propel me to my next level, and I cannot wait to share some of the plans we are already working on.

Talking about Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla, it has been the talk of town since it launched. How do you enjoy yours? 

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I normally pair Tanqueray with lemonade, but because the Flor de Sevilla variant is made with bitter sweet oranges, I can enjoy it with tonic and it’s just as palatable. I add some lemon, grapefruit, mint and maybe strawberries to take it all the way to the top!

Your legion of online admirers have dubbed you “The Duchess Blue”. How did that name come about? 

The name Duchess Blue originated from the Big Brother TV show I featured in years ago and it kind of stuck with me over the years. I’ve always treated myself as royalty and never believed I need to come from a Royal family to do so! I’ve treated myself as royalty and made it easy for people to treat me the same way because of the way I carry myself. On Big Brother they called me Royal Blue which is like a Queen and it just changed slightly to Duchess Blue.   I thought it was a good fit! I want to be called that forever.

You have collaborated with an array of talented South African designers. What has been your favourite red carpet look thus far? 

I’ve worked with so many great South African designers and I am so grateful. My go-to designer is definitely Scalo. I’ve worked with him since my start in the industry. He is so talented! He impresses me with every single look even after all this time. He knows exactly what will work for me and we have such a great partnership for red carpet looks. I honestly can’t pick just one favourite! I love them all!  

What is the most expensive clothing item you currently own? 

I think people that enjoy fashion and have style don’t focus much on the expensive things. For me it has always been about how I carry an item, whether expensive or not.  I wouldn’t add a specific item into my wardrobe just because it was expensive. The most expensive item I have is my personality! You could wear the most expensive clothes but if you don’t have a great personality then – nothing! 

Your social media content has tongues wagging and faces green with envy. From your travels, to your poses – can we please discuss your poses because nobody does it like you! What is the inspiration behind them? 

I am inspired by the iconic super models of the nineties. The likes of Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss. I entered the industry as a young model and I feel like things have changed since the old school days – nowadays it’s the same thing over and over again. The old school way of portraying fashion and garments is something I think is missing today. As a model I have never quite had a chance to fully express who I am on a client shoot. There is always a mood board or specific direction so you can’t really be expressive. But these are the things I experiment with on my own shoots and on my social media. 

You have collaborated with a plethora of brands, from beauty to haircare. What is it about Blue Mbombo that makes brands such as Tanqueray and others to gravitate towards partnering with you? 

Anyone can do what I do and have the opportunities that I have but I think what sets you apart from everyone else is who you are as a person and what your vision for yourself is. Are you relatable? Or are you difficult? What is your end goal? I consider myself to be a humble person and I think that’s where I get it right. The feedback I always get from those I work with is that I am easy to work with. I take my work very seriously and I try to make life easier for those around me. My personality and the way I carry myself as a person has gotten me very far.

The number of years as a model, combined with my degree in PR are a great foundation for my brand and why many feel I deliver content in such as exceptional way.  I believe my experience has a lot to do with my current success in positioning brands online and extends to how I sell myself online and in person – When I attend events I make sure I SHOW UP.

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According to the brand, the new Flor de Sevilla variant is made from bitter sweet oranges exclusive to the city of Seville. Newest to the Tanqueray family, Lorna and Blue travelled straight to the source to get a first-hand experience of the orange farm these bitter sweet oranges originate from. 

As a platform, it has been an absolute pleasure to follow these two beauties’ experience of the ravishing culture of Seville, painting the streets orange in the most fashionable South African designs. From the culture, the art and architectural designs, Seville has certainly captured our hearts.

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