Maphefo Ingrid Mashigo: I hated every minute of the corporate world

How many single mothers and divorced women do you know in the modeling industry? From that number, do you know any that will leave their stable job with guaranteed income to introduce young, unknown girls from the village into the world of modeling? Well, meet Maphefo Ingrid Mashigo. Maphefo is the young Limpopo-born woman who opened up Bokamoso Future Models to young women in rural areas. Maphefo doesn’t just discover models, she produces them. To Maphefo, models are her ‘rare, raw, rough diamonds’.

When did you know modeling was in you?

Modeling runs in my family, I was inspired by my aunts and uncles. They were models in the local scene and I got to love modelling because of them. Since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved the spotlight. I did a lot of drama and beauty pageants from the age of six.

Like I have mentioned, my surrounding was a big influence.

Tell us about Bokamoso Future Models. What have you  achieved to date?

With Bokamoso Future Models, I produce models from the rural areas who have never modeled before. I want to bring them to the international stage. For a company that is only eight months old, we have shaken the industry and are taking it by storm. Before people know it, they won’t know what hit them. I am so happy to announce that I have a model that is going to represent South Africa at the Miss Heritage International that will be taking place in India this December.

I look up to the likes of Tyra Banks who has her own production company. I would want to be remembered as an icon.

There are so many modeling agencies out there, what are you bringing that is different?

Unlike any other agency, I don’t sign models, I produce them. That is a big difference.

I spend a lot of time, until the wee hours of the morning hosting extensive trainings and workshops. I provide transport for my models to castings, auditions and shoots; they don’t have to pay for such services. More than anything else, I mentor them.

In an industry that is clouded by a lot of negativity such drugs, alcohol and also anorexia, How do you guard yourself and your models against it all?

Morals are something that were instilled in me by my grandparents from a very young age. I am personally not a huge fan of alcohol and my parents taught me those things are demonic. I have never forgot those lessons. The fact that I am a Christian and a huge believer helps and guides me in everything I do.

How did you find the corporate world and when did you know it was time to leave?

Corporate world? I hated every minute of it. I never looked forward to going to the office. The idea of working for someone else was slowly killing me daily as I’ve always wanted to be independent. The salary was good and it got me by, but I was never happy.

The fear of living an unhappy life forever based on a good salary was not part of my plans. Maphefo had to come to life.

Being a single mother and business owner in the shrewd modelling industry, how do you handle everything?

We have an amazing father called God, through him, all things are possible.

The father of my child does not support her in any form but we are surviving through the angels that God had sent through. I have amazing friends, business associates and parents who look out for us and assist me with anything I need.

The world has so many ills, what calms you down?

I am very family oriented and my daughter calms me down.

You have a hoarse voice, have you ever been mistaken for a man on the phone?

Hahahaha, no! I am instead encouraged to do radio presenting. I have such a deep, strong voice even if I can say so myself.

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