Pair represents sports personalities too, including Olympian Anaso Jobodwana
EL women create platform for future models
After both testing positive for Covid-19 and surviving the virus, two local women decided it was time to stop putting their dreams on hold and dived head first into a new business venture.
Establishing TC Model Management and Promotions in August, Chantal Pillay and Tashiana Vengadajellum are hoping to give self-confidence to models of all ages.
“We had been talking about this for a while, but we never really got going with it. Then I got Covid and I almost died. I had difficulty breathing and it was really scary,” Pillay, 47, said.
“While I was recovering I thought, ‘You only live once’. It taught me to be fearless and brave.”
Pillay modelled as a teenager and later in life entered the 2018 Mrs Eastern Cape competition.
“We just felt we had nothing left to lose,” said Vengadajellum, 26, who also modelled as a teenager and previously ran non-profit modelling classes for young girls in her community.
“I learnt so much from modelling. I was incredibly shy and lacked self-esteem, but it taught me to be confident in myself, and how to look after my body and my skin. I want to teach other young women, and men, do to the same.”
Pillay, a mom of three boys, said TC was proud to be focusing on signing, promoting and managing the portfolios of sportsmen and women as well as training new models.
“We have two sides to TC. The first is the school where we focus on teaching grooming skills, posing, modelling and more. Then there’s the agency where we represent and promote models, many of whom are sports people,” Pillay said.
“A lot of sport personalities end up modelling for various brands and doing shoots for magazines. We want to merge the two; sports personality and model. So we aim to manage these sportsmen and women’s portfolios, negotiating the terms of their contracts and ensuring they are not exploited and that they reach their full potential to get their names out there.”
In just three months, the pair have signed SA Olympian Anaso Jobodwana, SA representative swimmers Layla Vahed and Deshaan Pillay, local rugby star Josh Jonas, among others.
SA representative water polo players Hanna Muller and Krystin Ibbotson and local SA fencing representative Paola Signorile are also on TC's promotions team.
“These are just a few of our models with great sport portfolios and it’s growing all the time,” Pillay said.
The two women hope people have fun and learn to love themselves the way they are when joining their classes.
“Our oldest model-in-training is over 40 and we’ve put no limitations on ages; anyone is welcome. We also have a mom and daughter who signed up for classes. They are having so much fun and doing amazingly,” Vengadajellum said.
“We also have a woman who recently lost 20kg and wants to put herself out there and celebrate herself. I want to change the game for young girls and women. I want to encourage and inspire self-confidence . Modelling really helped me to become the woman I am today. People respect me because I respect myself and I want to teach others, especially young girls, the same.”
Pillay said there was a lot of pressure on women to look a certain way, but TC aimed to dispel societal expectations.
“When I entered Mrs Eastern Cape I wasn’t your typical model any more, but I loved being back on the catwalk again and we want others to feel good about themselves too.
“We want to show people that it doesn’t matter what size you are, you can still look good and feel good. We want to bring out the best in our models,” Pillay said.
TC's weekly classes officially started at the beginning of October and they are situated is at 8 Suffolk Road in Berea.
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