Activist, Lawyer And Model Thando Hopa Continues To Change Perceptions Of Beauty As She Stuns In The 2018 Pirelli Calendar



South African activist, advocate and model, Thando Hopa is one of the personalities featured in the 2018 edition of the Pirelli Calendar. Photographed by Tim Walker, the 2018 edition also features renowned icons such as Whoopi GoldbergNaomi Campbell, and Sean “Diddy” Combs.

 Thando was cast as the Princess of Hearts, which she says was well-explained by entertainment mogul, Diddy at the calendar launch stating, "Black people shouldn’t only see themselves in handcuffs, he said. What he was speaking about, of course, is stereotyping – the tattooing of only one truth to an image. It’s to see an image and imprison it inside a single, limited narrative. This forms barriers that bar us from exploring our human agency."

She believes it is so important for her to get across the importance of representation when expressing herself in public and especially before the media, which wields the power to form and entrench perceptions.



Thando Hopa posing with Whoopi Goldberg

“From the moment I fell down that rabbit hole I’ve been told where I must go and who I must be. I’ve been shrunk, stretched, scratched, and stuffed into a teapot. I’ve been accused of being Alice and of not being Alice but this is my dream. I'll decide where it goes from here.” - says the remarkable Thando.


Watch full video of 2018 Pirelli Calendar

             

In an interview on South African weekend breakfast television show, Mzansi Insider, Thando emphasized that the project was about representation as opposed to being black.

On how she got into modelling -  she was approached by South African designer Gert-Johan Coetzee, after a few people had suggested modelling to her but she didn't take it serious, then came Gert, she told him she was a candidate advocate at the time and just laughed off the modelling idea.  Then she mentioned it to her sister who told her it's not a laughing matter and that she should think about it. She advised her that it would be a great platform to dispel misconceptions about albinism. I'm glad Thando finally agreed. I mean, take a good look at her. Isn't she stunning?  She's a reminder that you can be anything you set your mind to --activist, lawyer, model and I'm sure that list will keep growing.

The likes of Thando are pivotal because representation matters. There's a young girl out there who has been affected by prejudice and stereotypes about albinism, seeing someone like Thando on mainstream platforms is a beacon of hope; it restores affirmation. Given the history of albinism in Africa, from Tanzania where people with albinism are hunted down and their bodies used for witchcraft practices to other parts of the continent where misconceived conspiracy theories continue to spread, society needs more people like her. We ought to unlearn such discriminatory ignorant perceptions.

I also appreciate the fact that she's only interested in work that portrays her activism in a positive light, she's conscious of that because in this opportunistic society where people will use you to benefit their cause, she's self-aware and informed and that in itself is applaudable.

Thando is undoubtedly owning her story and breaking stereotypes while at it. She's Young, African And Making Things Happen. Power to you Thando. The world is your oyster, keep soaring.

Credit: Pirelli Calendar

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