How Kamo breaks modelling barriers



Born in the mountainous district of Thaba-Tseka at Ha Leronti in Mantšonyane, approximately 208km from the capital city of Maseru, ’Makamohelo Ratalane (31), has always desired to be a model. While at school she would neatly adorn her school books covers with pictures of models cut out from magazines after which she would then inscribe her name next to the pictures. Kamo, as she is fondly known, says her mother was also a beauty queen and she believes that she takes after her.

Her recent feat modelling in Vicsion Designs lingerie while pregnant at the King Moshoeshoe International Fashion Show, flooded social media platforms with detractors mocking her while hordes of fans were amazed and applauded her valor. Growing up in rural Lesotho and being married at a tender age in semi-rural Nazareth, in the outskirts of Maseru, Kamo’s family has broken cultural barriers surrounding pregnancy until due term.

Her husband and in-laws stand in solidarity to support and encourage her to continue modeling despite expecting. Kamo opens up about the great relationship she has with her in-laws and the support she receives from her husband. She notes that Kamo is the name her father in-law calls her, which has since become popular.

She says: “My husband is the one who reminded me of how I was thinking that I would never get a chance to model again when the Covid pandemic hit our shores. Now he told me if I want to I can go ahead and pursue my dreams.” Kamo is thankful to whoever posted her picture modelling while pregnant on social media, which she says worked in her favour as she is now a woman in demand for modeling gigs internationally.

She notes that on the night of the event when she sent her mother in-law the picture, her response was: “You go girl, you made it. You won the stage.” She adds that the response gave her a lot of confidence. “When I saw comments on Facebook I laughed because they don’t know where I come from with my modeling journey and I will not let people who do not know me break me,” she continues.

“It took courage from a very young age to accept my body as I was always mocked for being skinny, now being mocked does not break me anymore,” she boldly says. “Once we let people to determine our potential, it will be the end of life for us. Not everyone has to understand your vision. God has put a priceless seed in us and it is up to us to decide whether you tap into that seed or die just holding it because you are worried about what people will say.”

While growing up, Kamo says although she badly wanted to become a model, the reality she saw was that being a model in this country seems to be like a farfetched dream but giving up on it was also not an option she ever wanted to consider, regardless the hardships. Her first modeling gig was in 2019 when she got an opportunity to be one of the models for the King Moshoeshoe International Fashion Show. The following year people’s movements were restricted resulting in many events being cancelled due to Covid-19 pandemic.

When this happened, Kamo says she was seeing a little ray of hope that she had fading but because of the support she has from her loved ones, her husband mainly, she kept the faith. When the lockdown rules were eased in 2020, Kamo took the initiative to do a studio-photo shoot with Matsoso, where she sponsored her own attire while her make-up was sponsored by Ntebo’s touch and nails by Dikey. Her sponsors volunteered to sponsor her because they knew and understood her love for modeling.

Looking back to how she overcame the fear of showing of her body, Kamo said a while ago when she taking a school trip to Durban, her mother-in-law bought her a swimming costume and insisted that she should send her pictures wearing it. “I told her I could not because I already had a tight and a T-shirt that I would wear when going to the beach. I told her I could not wear a swimming costume in the presence of my pupils. She laughed and said Kamo I am not asking I am telling you,” she recalls with a wide smile.

While in Durban, Kamo says almost everyone on the beach was amazed by her body and some strangers even asked if she was a model. From that moment the spark of modeling flickered once again in her heart. Speaking of the support she gets from her family, Kamo’s face beams as she speaks highly of her in-laws, her husband, her son, her mother and siblings.

Raised by a single mother, Kamo is the second born of three siblings. She says while she was close to writing her high school final examinations, her mother became mentally ill and that shifted her focus from her studies leading her to not passing some of the subjects well. However, she adds that this did not break her spirit as her in-laws and husband were very supportive of her and her siblings during that period.

She later enrolled at a teacher’s college and she is currently a primary teacher. Being a teacher was not so much of an option since she just wanted to be a nurse so that she could treat her mother. Although being a teacher was not her aspiration, she says now she enjoys it and her pupils inspire her to continue modeling. “You know how pure hearted the young ones are, they tell it like it is, even when they feel like today I am not dressed in a way they like, they tell me,” Kamo says.

She recalls when she began this journey, she would even apply to modeling agencies overseas and would be surprised when they asked for her profile. She then conducted some research to learn what a profile is in modeling and that is when she thought it would be important to do a photoshoot. To keep alive the memories her mother in-law made by buying her a swimming costume, she then decided to do a photo shoot wearing it.

“That swimming costume is a souvenir of my mother in-law’s love and support for me,” she says with a cheerful face. During her spare time Kamo enjoys going out with her son to travel or to sell beauty products. While indoors she listens to worship music, and when out she likes to dance. Currently her favourite jams are Amapiano “because they are the in thing.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *