The next big thing the world will come across
MASERU – A beauty king’s almost regal bearing makes him a perfect candidate to play royalty on any ramp, and model Bokang Lepota regards himself just that – the next big thing the world will come across.
Bokang hails from Ha Tjopa Peka, in the Leribe district, and began his schooling at St Rose Primary School. He then proceeded to complete his Junior Certificate and LGCSE examination at St Rose High School. He later enrolled with the National University of Lesotho (NUL) studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce.
“I fell in love with modeling in my early teens, I would watch Miss Universe and devote my whole attention to the show until it ended; and even today anybody who knows me is aware that I am a huge fan of that pageant. I cannot really point out a single person and say they inspired me, all the models I would come across on magazines, news papers, TV and like really did have an impact on my decision to pursue modeling. I would always look at them and think ‘damn it’s really possible’, more especially the ones from South Africa,” Bokang told Life&Style.
“I am also an athlete, I play netball, I am a poet and oh yah…I play around with wood making artifacts. I remember that on my LGCSE final project in woodwork I had made this lovely container which served as a dustbin and a base at the same time. Besides that I made a dining table and a cute little lamp table, it was really magical. I also have a couple of medals obtained from running even though that part of my journey had its ups and downs, I still love it nonetheless,” he recalls.
Bokang says he never really had the courage to embark on the journey as a model, he would always attend pageants just to watch and would always fantasize about being on stage and hearing people screaming his name. At some point he thought it would end just a dream, that it will never become reality “mostly because of how people had painted modeling to be in my head. A profession that required a great body, a six-pack, good clothes, money and fame.”
So he looked at himself and said he had none of these things, he was a simple village boy with just one thing, a big dream. “But a light shone, I realized those were just things people were saying, probably their own opinions of what a model should be. When I got to the NUL I started researching a lot more I had resources unlike when I was still at home. I started associating with models and getting to know more about this thing that I loved the most.
I got two offers in 2019 to be on a panel for some pageantries, I was hesitant to accept them thinking ‘no I have no stage experience as much as I know about pageants I do not think I will do this justice’; but I ended up accepting the offers and it turned out to be a great experience for me, way better than I had anticipated,” he says.
Around November last year Bokang says he took the boldest decision to enter in the modeling industry, he says it was scary but exciting. He joined one pageant and made it to the Top 3 and that this feat boosted his confidence tremendously; that is when he started modeling. He has thus far joined four pageants, his first being the Mr Summer 2020 in which he was the second runner up; then it was the Mr Popularity, after which he joined Mr Khubetsoana where he became the first runner up. His third pageant was the King Of Globe Lesotho. He says int this third pageant “things were hectic for me, however, I was awarded the Public’s Choice Award and the Mistek Culture Award. This year I was crowned the Face of Leribe 2021.”
“Now, this one melts my heart. I become emotionally overwhelmed whenever I think about support from people close to me and my family. I do not want to call them fans, I just want to call them my backbone, my support system. The love and support I have been getting from people is really one of a kind, even from people I do not know.
I remember this one time on campus somebody greeted me and said ‘oh I see you, you are running for Mr Summer’, I honestly was so happy, I did not think for a second I was getting that kind of recognition. To show how supportive they have been, of the four pageants, two had a popularity contest which required people to vote for me by liking my picture; and I have won in those two because of these people who have been showing me love and support ever since I ventured in modeling.”
He further points out that he doesn’t have the right words to describe the impact modeling has had on him, that it taught him the value of helping each other, the importance of giving back to the community and always helping where he can and “not because I have much but because I know have enough to sustain me.”
“We once visited a children’s home in Maseru with some food and other necessities we had bought, the joy I got when I saw those kids smiling was none from this world, it was so touching and I knew then that the world needed more models to do the great work.
One greatest lesson I have learned is that I am enough, handsome and intelligent and I should not let anyone tell me otherwise. Modeling has taught me to accept that there is no one who can be a better version of myself better than me, I then made peace with my skin problems, my stretch marks and all of the scars tattooed on my body and learned to embrace them.”
Bokang adds that the most important wish he intends to fulfill in his lifetime is to impart what he knows to young children.
“Modeling has put me in a place where I can speak up for vulnerable people who have not found their voice because I know how it is to not have your voice, it has out me in a place where I am content with what I have and I am able to say grace and give thanks to God without complaining which is something I rarely did back then.”
“The future is so not predictable, we plan things and write down goals but God is the one who executes, So I can’t really say a definite thing but I can tell you I am the next big thing that the world will ever get,” he says.
He is currently running for Mr Culture, and he says he is expecting a long and interesting journey, and that he will be taking his people with him all by his side, “as they know on June 1 the popularity contest begins and they are so ready to vote.” Apart from that there is something brewing between him as a model and one of the local brands in the country “so stay tuned.”
“I am sure it is a challenging thing for all male models to be in this industry here in Lesotho. Male pageants are very rare in the country and most of the time when you find one, there are like less than 10 males so it is not as fun as it would be if we as male models were more involved when pageants are organized, but besides that I take pride in being one of the male models in pageants.”
He concludes that he once conducted a research about the scarcity of male models in pageants in the country, and a lot of men were saying they are reluctant to join pageants because male models in pageants are associated with being gay “so I believe it takes guts for one to join pageants without fear of being called gay and I love and respect all male models who participate in pageants they really know what they want and they know that people’s talks will do them no good.”