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Words by Samantha Coxx.

Moshe Ndiki rose to prominence through his self-deprecating, gag-worthy skits on YouTube. He quickly emerged from the chrysalis of being a social media star and transformed into an enchanting, award-winning television sensation that – as we now know- has a lot to say! In this iconic Previdar Pride Edition issue, he sits down with drag superstar Samantha Coxx to set the record straight on love, on being tabloid fodder, and how he’s using laughter to heal his world.

What are the experiences that shaped who you are today?

“A lot of beatings from my mother. (Hahaha) a lot of her teachings. My family and friends (ones I’ve had since high school). I have a very loud mouth and that’s something that’s always been with me.”

You studied acting for the film but you instead chose YouTube as a means to express your creative side. How did that happen?

“I was under the guise that after graduation, I’d have a career waiting for me. So for two years, I was auditioning, working in retail, and doing odd jobs just to stay afloat. A friend of mine encouraged me to upload a silly video I recorded straight after depositing my rent money which left me broke. The video went viral. I realized that I can be myself and entertain at the same time. People loved me for being myself. So with no direction and no clue of what I was doing, I just followed my gut and continued to create content that was true to me. I’m still winging it today – I’ve never had a manager or an agent.”

Thanks to the power of social media now, we have a bunch of people enjoying the celebrity-like aura. The rise of social media stardom is a 21st-century phenomenon that began with social media replacing the formal media. What merely started as a simple imitation of celebrities is no longer limited only to celeb like attention but has gone beyond that. The social media stars are now holding a much more significant place as social media influencers.

What’s your advice to people that want to take better charge of their careers to get them to the next phase? 

“More than anything, it’s consistency. Because if you give up on yourself, how do you expect your employers to believe in you? After two years, I took a break from my YouTube videos because it felt that I was pouring from an empty cup. But after my 6-month break, I went back to shooting my videos and I got a sense of joy from entertaining people. Through consistency, brands got to see my work and that’s when money started rolling in.”

You’ve shared that you want to be a social worker. How are you navigating life in the public eye with your deep desire to help and care for people?  

I’ve wanted to be so many things but I realized that I’ve got a small heart. I found it very difficult to not personalize other people’s problems. I kept thinking – this could be my mom, aunt, uncle, etc. I then decided to get into entertainment and I realized that the “healing spirit” that I carry found its way on television too. So in whatever field I could have chosen, that would have followed. Whether it’s helping people find love on Mzansi Magic’s Uyangthanda ‘ na or helping families resolve their issues on Rea’Tella, I always just wanna help people. I enjoy getting involved with the guests, I speak with them off-camera to ensure that they stay in the zone of forgiveness.

Your brand is evolving – going from Moshe Ndiki the funny YouTube sensation, to Moshe Ndiki the new age emotainment Star. Was that always the plan?

I wouldn’t say it was my plan – when I started out in the industry it was just me and my videos. It feels like a natural progression and personal growth. The things that were problems for me then – like paying rent – are problems I don’t have today! It’s a natural progression of my life because my brand is me and I am my brand.

As someone that’s always been very open with their lives to their fans, How do you negotiate what to share and what stays private?

It’s a very tricky one because I talk about everything. But as my brand grows, you become very aware of what can and cannot say on certain things. But I don’t compromise on who I am to fit someone else’s brief.

You’ve experienced being put on a pedestal by the media and later dragged by it. How do you plan on navigating those highs and lows in the future? 

“Love and also being loved means being loved freely and openly. And one bad experience does not mean that it must hinder how you love; all relationships are doomed. It just means that one didn’t work and that’s okay. But going forward, I want to keep it private until I know within myself – until I’m sure they’re not a rat.”

“Otherwise, love is beautiful. It should not be kept a secret. The only thing I do keep a secret, is my hook-ups. Because that’s my business! Love is love and people need to express and experience love the way that they want to.”

What’s your advice to people that are afraid of being true to who they are? 

“One thing that I will say: authenticity. I cannot stress enough how good it feels to be yourself. You realize that you don’t owe anyone an explanation and you don’t even owe yourself an explanation. You look at yourself in the mirror and you’re certain of what you see and who you see. We are not people of logic, we are people of emotion and things do get us down and weigh heavy on us, but we’ve got to keep moving. You’ve got to be consistent in loving yourself; consistency in believing in yourself and consistently waking up.”

When it comes to the entertainment industry, you’ve always advised people to be kind to themselves, to be compassionate, and to remain true to who they are. Where in your life did you take on that advice?

“When I started out on tv, I used to see to watch myself and began looking and criticizing all the negative things: like analyzing my smile, watching gestures, etc. I stopped listening to my director who’d been happy with my work, or all the positive feedback I was getting from fans. And I only focused on the negative. I lost some sort of love and respect for myself and the job and began to diminish myself. But I learned to be kind to myself and recognize that I’m trying. As long as there are people that love what I do, I’m satisfied. I’m okay. This industry has a strange way of making you focus on the very little negativity and underplay the positivity. Being easy and kind and gentle is key. And give yourself enough room to grow. Just give yourself permission to grow.”

If you’re truly passionate about something, you need to get started now. It doesn’t mean you have to quit your job and go for it full-time. It doesn’t mean you need to neglect your family and responsibilities, and it doesn’t mean you need to become an expert overnight. But if you’re truly passionate, you need to carve out some regular time to do what you love and remain consistent. Is through that very act, that Moshe Ndiki has been named as the new host of “you promised to marry me” on Moja Love. With his razor-sharp focus that’s in the shape of laughter, we know he’ll be the one having the last laugh toward success.

PREVIDAR PRIDE EDITION – Styled by Thaio Lekhanya, Kay Khanye and Jessica. Interview with Samantha Coxx. Make-up by Swirl Stylist. Wardrobe Assistant Livy Seboko. Directed and Photographed by Neville Dikgomo. Words by Samantha Coxx

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