SA Model Thando Hopa on a mission to spread self-acceptance and positivity

South African model Thando Hopa is spreading an inspiring message of self-acceptance and positive self-image through her work.

Her mission is to change perceptions of beauty in the media and remind people that they are enough as they are.

Hopa has hit pause on her career as a lawyer to pursue her a bright future as a model, actress, public speaker and activist for albinism.

She spent four years as a prosecutor, working with sexual offences cases, before walking away from law in 2016.

I cried when I had to give up my gown. I had given four years of my life to prosecution.

Thando Hopa, South African model

I needed to try and do things that I have always been afraid to do. It was such a difficult decision.

Thando Hopa, South African model

Hopa says she gained invaluable inspiration from women and survivors who stood up for themselves and reclaimed their dignity.

Now she wants to use her modeling career to share her story, portray a positive narrative and contribute to affirming healthy self-image.

Hopa explains that many people see her as a symbol for breaking thoughts of inadequacy, fighting prejudice and negative perceptions.

I wanted to give a positive narrative about albinism.

Thando Hopa, South African model

There is no image monopoly on possibilities. Anybody is allowed to dream and access possibilities.

Thando Hopa, South African model

Representation is important to see that you are celebrated and belong in society, with your idiosyncrasies and difference.

Thando Hopa, South African model

I've realised about the power of relatability. People relate to a feeling of inadequacy and they want a break from that.

Thando Hopa, South African model

I'm not comfortable with the word albino. The term albino can be a plant, it can be an animal. It's very dehumanising when its applied to a human being because it make you sound like a thing.

Thando Hopa, South African model

She spoke about her experiences with her intersecting identities and how she dealt has dealt with discrimination.

She also reflected on being scouted by designer Gert-Johan Coetzee, her August cover for Marie Claire and being the first black South African to feature in the Pirelli Calendar (2018).

Take a listen to her recount her inspiring journey:


CapeTalk welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the CapeTalk community a safe and welcoming space for all.

CapeTalk reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

CapeTalk is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
7 cybersecurity tips for online shoppers this Black Friday

7 cybersecurity tips for online shoppers this Black Friday

Nick Saunders, Sales Enablement Manager at Mimecast on how to keep safe while shopping online this Black Friday.

Photgrapher Gary Hirson captures what keeps Cape's Cableway moving in new book

Photgrapher Gary Hirson captures what keeps Cape's Cableway moving in new book

A new book has captured the nuts and bolts and the behind-the-scenes story of the Table Mountain Cableway.

Eskort sponsors smart water meter for WC school

Eskort sponsors smart water meter for WC school

South Africa's leading producers of pork products, Eskort is the latest company to pledge towards the Smart Water Meter Challenge.

NPO creates Xhosa, Zulu crash course for English-speaking South Africans

NPO creates Xhosa, Zulu crash course for English-speaking South Africans

The Imbeko project connects people who want to learn isiXhosa or isiZulu with tutors, in an effort to build social cohesion.

Cut-off date to file tax returns looms, warns Sars

Cut-off date to file tax returns looms, warns Sars

Time is running out for non-provisional taxpayers, described as individuals with primary income from a single salary.

[LISTEN] Idols finalist Paxton Fielies chats about her life and dreams

[LISTEN] Idols finalist Paxton Fielies chats about her life and dreams

The 16-year-old Idols finalist in studio with CapeTalk's Pippa Hudson.

Popular articles
Zim ministers snub Mugabe's cabinet meeting call

Zim ministers snub Mugabe's cabinet meeting call

Regional Co-Ordinator at Crisis Zimbabwe Coalition, Joy Mabenge says the keys to Mugabe's impeachment are turning very fast.

Tender irregularities plague City of Cape Town

Tender irregularities plague City of Cape Town

Allegations point to irregularities in the tender processes where some bidders were preferred by the City's senior executives.

What Shoprite, Checkers, Pick n Pay and Makro will offer on Black Friday

What Shoprite, Checkers, Pick n Pay and Makro will offer on Black Friday

Up for a Springboks level scrum? Instructions on how to ensure you get the deals in your inbox the moment they become known...

I didn't believe that he was ever going to step down - JJ Cornish

I didn't believe that he was ever going to step down - JJ Cornish

EWN Africa Correspondent, JJ Cornish describes Mugabe's Sunday evening speech as a humiliating downturn for the Zim president.