Photographer: Lawrence Manyapelo
Out of her oyster shell, Pearl Modiadie is ready for the year and the future. Like the true gem that she is, Pearl has remained one of the most brazen stars in our entertainment sky!
With one of the biggest talk shows in the country and a leading lunchtime radio show, there is no denying that Pearl is well on her way to greatness. Marking a little over a decade in the industry, Pearl got her big break as “The Black Pearl” on Craz-e in 2006 anchoring the show Sistahood, we have watched her go from The Black Pearl to South Africa’s quintessential Girl Next Door. There is so much more to the oh so humble South African personality and we sit down with her to pick her brain a bit.
Who is your favourite local or international designer and why?
“Orapeleng Modutle is definitely a firm favourite of mine. He absolutely has the talent and know-how to make a woman feel absolutely beautiful and confident. I also love how Biji La Maison pays careful attention to the detail in all of her designs. There’s so much intricate artistry that goes into every one of her garments.”
“It’s always good to explore everything and find your feet. Fashion is an ever-evolving game that allows one to have complete fun while finding themselves. With that, I would say that I do have a fashion aesthetic that I identify with but it doesn’t limit me at all. ”
What item in your closet do you wear the most?
“Denim. Most definitely has to be jeans. They are such a classic staple.”
Who’s closet would you choose to raid?
“Probably Khanyi Dhlomo. She is so elegant and timeless. I would definitely love to knick a few pieces from there”
Kylie Cosmetics, KKW Beauty or Fenty Beauty?
“Most definitely Fenty Beauty. Who doesn’t love Fenty Beauty? Rihanna changed the game for all of us with that range and I absolutely love it. We needed that moment.”
What brings you the greatest joy about doing what you do?
“It would definitely have to be putting a smile on someone’s face and impacting their lives in some way. That absolutely brings me the greatest joy. It’s such a fulfilling feeling that I get, knowing that doing what I love resonates with other people. I feel like I’m living my life just right.”
You host one of the biggest talk shows in South Africa right now. Have you always known you would one day reach this level of success one day?
“That is a very complex question. I wasn’t the most confident of children growing up but I did want success for myself. I did want to make something of my life and while I may not have thought that it would manifest in the form of one of the biggest talk shows in South Africa, it has most certainly made it that much greater of an achievement for me now and the not-so-confident me then.”
You interview quite a number of notable personalities in South Africa. What’s the one important thing you’ve learned from the people you’ve interviewed.
“Oh, I have learned so much from all those interviews. Just when you think you’ve figured it out, someone says something that changes what you know completely. I have, however, taken away that tenacity is the name of the game. One also needs to be very rooted in their purpose and in their passion to make it in their respective fields. Lastly, I have learnt that respect is the ultimate key. Everything is restored and destroyed by your level of respect for the people you work with.”
With so much success and accolades to boast about, your humility is astounding. How do you keep your ego in check?
“That’s very simple. I am who I am because of the people; my fans, my supporters, my neighbours, my family. I am a representation of my family and my parents and the Modiadie name at large. Thinking and being bigger than who I am can never help me move forward, but it will hinder me. Life comes at a person so fast and your humility is what determines if your ship sinks or stays afloat.”
Your previous interview with PREVIDAR, back then you mentioned that you never had time to smell the roses due to you hectic schedule. Have you found time to smell the roses?
“I most certainly have. As I said, life can come at you so fast and I would absolutely be distraught having to wake up one morning and realise I never took the time out to appreciate every single person in my life. I think building the house for my dad was one of my biggest “smell the roses” moments.”
Who inspires you in terms of what you do. Who do you look up to and why?
“Felicia Suttle-Mabuza. What more can I possibly say? I watched this woman do something incredible with her platform. I watched her in a pre-democratic South Africa on television. A black woman on television interviewing and speaking to both black & white people alike. That was the blueprint for the work that I do today. Bringing about change and seeing the vision beyond what it is today.”
Who are your heroes?
“Is it cliche to say, my parents? But my parents are my heroes. I couldn’t possibly be the woman I am now had it not been for them. I also really admire people who go against all the odds stacked against them to make something of themselves.”
What’s your take on women earning less than their male counterparts for the same jobs?
“The issue of equal pay has been a long time coming. It has single-handedly been one of the most silent “swept under the rug” issues. Women most certainly deserve to earn the same, if not more than their counterparts. Pay should be determined by the quality of the work produced, the profession, the dedication and everything else that goes into doing your job, gender has nothing to do with it and that was the first mistake. Being a woman doesn’t make me “less than” to earn what I am worth. It teaches terrible rhetoric to young girls that working hard will never be enough to earn you what you are worth because you are a woman.”
Are you watching the Assassination of Gianni Versace?
“Not as yet but it is on my watch list. Gianni Versace was a fashion genius and he created one of the greatest fashion eras of our time. I will most certainly be watching it”
The movie theaters this year will have a considerable number of movies with black actors (men and women) in leading roles, what does that say to you?
“It says to me that life is possible. It says to me that anything is possible. It says to me that every single dream is valid. It says to me that we haven’t been building in vain but we’ve been building with the hope that those who will come after us will have more opportunities.”
With the entertainment industry growing and more motion picture projects premiering every other month. Do you think the casting couch (where producers ask for sexual favours from aspiring entertainers) will be an issue?
“It will continue to be an issue like it has always been an issue. Sexual Harassment in our industry is another extremely rife & swept under the carpet issue. It gives me solace in seeing what has been happening in Hollywood and seeing women finally standing up for themselves alongside the men who are standing with them. I hope one day, the same strength and courage are showcased locally.”
Who did you watch Black Panther with?
“Black Panther was a date night! 😉”