Thandie is one of those ladies that have such a bubbly personality and dazzling spirit. She’s one to make a stranger feel included with her genuine deposition. I know this because I sorta crashed her birthday party, and partied with her like I knew her all my life. Since then, she is one of many reasons I can call New Zealand home. She always pushes me to make the most out of life, a constant source of sunshine (no matter the budget, we always have a blast). We had lots of time to get to know one another and be there through challenges that arose. The way she holds herself in a silent confidence is so admirable, so I had to find out how she does it.
I have always loved how daring she is with her hair, I mean I change mine a lot, but I have never cut it super short and dyed it blonde! She did. So I asked her about how she does it. She shed light on the subject, by starting from the beginning.”I was raised by my father and I hung out with boys so I was a bit of a tom boy. I was never interested nor did I envy women with long hair, and so during my childhood I didn’t sport those styles. For as long as I can remember, to be honest, I felt free.”
At fifteen, when we moved to New Zealand my opinions of long hair and extensions changed. Mainly because I had to learn how to maintain my own hair as it grew. The hair dressers had no clue how to cut kinky African hair so I had to let it grow out. Forced to take the initiative, I began to teach myself how to braid my hair, how to maintain natural and relaxed hair.
Fast forward twelve years later, I love experimenting with different hairstyles and colours. I don’t have any fear when it comes to my style. I’m bold when it comes to trying new things and I do what makes me feel comfortable and sexy. Truth be told not everyone can imagine themselves with short to no hair, but I say “don’t knock it till you try it and if you hate it buy a wig”.
These days I rock my short hair to work and when I’m out and about depending on how I feel I wear one of my many wigs. Short hair is liberating and I think as an African Woman I am lucky I can pull off any look natural or otherwise. My hair is an extension of my personality its big, it’s bold and carefree.
Thandie is not one for rules or trends, and this applies to her fashion aesthetic. So I asked her what her thoughts were on style. She always dress anyway she feel without worrying about the “in thing”. I feel that we all need to express ourselves despite what others may say. She gives an example “as a busty girl many will say “you can’t wear a crop top” but I feel if you find the right fit for you. In my case anything with a scoop or V-neck top will flatter my chest and show off my waist.” So armed with this, she purchases crop tops that fit her bust and don’t make it look colossal.
Thandie has a voluptuous bust and I thought I would get her perspective on the term “Plus size’. She explained that absolutely hates the term plus size. To many designers it means bigger than normal and these days bigger than normal isn’t size twenty-two it’s anyone above size four.There shouldn’t be a separation between “plus size” or “normal”. I feel labelling is what contributes to young girls not having a healthy body image. They unfortunately then aspire to be size zero like “real, normal” runway models. Mixed with all the other body image pressures facing women, the implication that most women are “plus sized”, not “normal” is very dangerous to women and society. All models should be referred to as Models regardless of size and shape.
We went further to discuss her experience with body image issues, and she candidly opened up saying her bust size is something she struggled with for a long time. She is short with a nice size bottom small waist, and has cup size in the doubles, which brings unwanted and sometimes wanted attention. It was not until she turned twenty-five, when she fell unapologetically in love with all of her ravishing self, that she realised her lovely bust actually added to her radiant body structure.
One of the main reasons it was a struggle being busty was when it came to shopping it was hard to find clothes that fit perfectly and didn’t make her breasts look bigger than they are. New Zealand unfortunately doesn’t have a market for women with either a bust or butt, so she purchased the majority of her clothes from the USA or UK.
She is frank saying “Most people in New Zealand think my breasts are ginormous and true next to your average Kiwi woman of European descent they are. However, as a Kiwi woman of African descent, I am part of the norm. We come in all shapes and sizes blessed with big beautiful assets which I can now say I’m proud to flaunt”.
For guidance for what to buy, she thanked Tyra Banks for educating me on how to dress for my body. Her hour glass figure and busty top was something she could relate to. Watching one of her talk show episodes she advised women with bigger bust to buy a dress or two sizes up and finding a good tailor to cinch in around the waist and hips. These two things have worked for Thandie tremendously, and now her clothes fit perfectly, leaving her feeling sexy and confident having her girls out!
Thandie is a go-getter so, I asked her what goals she has set for herself this year, and she responded saying:
“My biggest goal right now is to conquer 2016. I had a rough year in 2015 and feel I didn’t actually live life to the fullest. I had planned on starting 1 year 1000 challenge inspired by Jesse Brisendine however finances, health and school took precedence. So I tailored the challenge to suite my current situation and decided instead of doing 1000 amazing things in a year I would compile a list of challenges. Some of the things I’ll do are things I have done before but I want to do more often or expand my knowledge on. One of the items on the list that I’m thrilled to do is travelling around Oceania! I have launched my website to share my experiences and achievements as I work through my bucket list.”
Thandie has already started on this list (more than twenty checked off!) and it’s not even the end of January. She is such a positive and vibrant woman that I’m so honoured to even know her, let alone share her story. Her sultry demeanour, balanced with her jovial shenanigans and her unbridled love for life are not only contagious but a true mark of beauty we can all be inspired by. Check out her electrifying adventure on her blog http://adventureswiththandie.com/