GIRL BOSS

BIC Soleil: women empowering women

Following the recent announcement of the first-ever brand ambassadors for BIC Soleil, the three young women who have been selected will be tasked with motivating young women and helping them find their inner shine.

The three women are Tumi Matela (25), who hails from Centurion, Pretoria, and says her purpose is to be a beacon of hope, to inspire change and encourage people to redefine and embrace their power.

Amanda Nchukana, a 24-year-old Capetonian, saw the competition as a platform to guide others on the road to self-love, self-acceptance and living a life of self-empowerment.

Sherri Andreas (30), also from Cape Town, wants to teach young girls the importance of discovering and embracing their uniqueness, which will ultimately lead to a life of happiness.

Living life in colour with Sherri Andreas

30-year-old Sherri Andreas, also known as “Colourful Creature” has been selected as one of three ambassadors to join the BIC Soleil Squad. Sherri will represent the brand for a year while she joins the brand to  inspire young women to embrace their power to shine, as part of BIC’s Your Shine, Your Way campaign.

Her goal is to teach young girls the importance of discovering and embracing their uniqueness, which will ultimately lead to a life of happiness.

Andreas is ecstatic about being part of the BIC Soleil Squad. She says that positive thinking is what got her to where she is. “From the moment I entered the competition, I had the mindset of ‘You got this, you are Miss BIC Soleil’. There were times where I was nervous but I’m so excited that I am able to team up with the BIC team to drive the confidence movement forward.”

She feels that low self-esteem is something everybody battles with, and wants to inspire young girls to be kinder to themselves. “A lot of people struggle with low self-esteem so you shouldn’t think you are alone. But it’s also not worth being the one putting yourself down because society already does that. We should look out for whatever makes us unique, makes us special, or gives us purpose. Just focus on that and make it the thing that helps you get through life and overcome your insecurities.”

She continues, “Society tends to make us, women, feel like we have to constantly be doing something important in order to be considered valuable. But I think it’s so important to look after yourself and build yourself up. There’s a popular saying that goes, ‘You cannot pour from an empty cup’.  So, if you’re not looking after yourself, then you cannot give the best of yourself to others.”

Andreas also believes in the power of women supporting women through the little things. “It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Just be kind to other women, tell them they look good. If your friend is starting a business, support them. It can be as simple as a like or a share or checking up on a friend who has a lot on their plate.  Start with the people around you and always be kind to them.

Beauty is something that makes you feel warm and fuzzy

When asked about her definition of beauty, Andreas had some interesting thoughts: “Beauty for me is about more than what attracts the eye. I think beauty is something that can make you feel warm and fuzzy, whether it’s listening to someone’s voice as they sing a song, watching a sunset or just a feeling someone gives you with their kindness or smile.”

Andreas says there has not been one defining “Aha!” moment in her life that inspired her outlook, but a culmination of moments where she dealt with great loss, hurt, and disappointment. She also credits her parents as her role models. “I think they are the most incredible human beings. They are so kind and generous and have raised me to be strong, resilient, humble, and supportive of other people. I hope to live like them, to make them proud and to honour them through the life I lead.”

Andreas concludes that her main goal is to use her involvement with BIC Soleil to spread her message of positivity, love, and kindness. “I want to build my brand and influence so that my message can reach a lot more people. Also, just to shine a light on the many initiatives that I am involved in and inspire women of South Africa to shine themselves.”

Amanda Nchukana talks curves, self-love and overcoming obstacles

Amanda Nchukana, a 24-year-old Capetonian has been selected as one of three BIC Soleil Brand Ambassadors. As a member of the BIC Soleil Squad, Amanda will be on a mission to inspire young women to embrace their power to shine, as part of the brand’s Your Shine, Your Way campaign.

The bubbly BIC Soleil Squad member saw the competition as a platform to guide others on the road to self-love, self-acceptance, and living a life of self-empowerment – all concepts she is very familiar with. “I’ve spent the majority of my life seldom seeing women who look like me on TV. The thought of a girl like me, short and plus-size, being part of something that can shape and change perceptions as well as empower and motivate women was overwhelming.”

She continues, “I am slowly learning to come out of my shell and embrace the beautiful person that I have always been. Being part of the BIC Soleil Squad will allow me to inspire young women to live their truth, bask in their own glory, and be their own body goals.”

Amanda says being authentic, loving yourself even on your worst days, and just living in your truth is what defines beauty for her. “It’s about who you are on the inside, how people relate to you, and how you live your life. It’s about who you are as a person on the inside.”

Seeing the positive over the negative

Despite her young age, Nchukana says she’s had many challenges in her life, but sees each of these challenges as a positive instead of a negative. “Whatever I’ve been through in life, I always look at what I’ve learnt from it and whether it made me a better person.”

One of Amanda’s biggest challenges was learning to embrace her curves. She admits it took a long time to get to a place of confidence and happiness with her body. “I feel like loving yourself is a lifelong journey and each day it’s a choice.

“I don’t always feel my best when I look in the mirror, but it’s who I am as a person and I’ve grown to love who I am. I tell myself every day that I’m perfect the way I am.”

Self-love is important to Amada, starting with a good skin care routine. “I try not to use products that have a lot of chemicals in them because I have sensitive skin. So, I usually use mud or clay masks. I don’t wear make-up every day and I drink a lot of water. I try not to use things that will harm my skin in any way and wash my face at least twice a day. “

When asked about her plans for the next year, Amanda admits that 2020 has taught her a lot, and it is these lessons that she will be taking into the next year and beyond. “If 2020 has taught me anything, especially during lockdown, it’s that gaining weight is not the end of the world. Working on myself and becoming a better person should be my number one priority in life. Watching my health and what I eat is important to me, as well as my affirmations. You have to be your number one cheerleader. That’s something that I will carry with me not just into the new year, but forever,” she concludes.

Embrace your power to shine with Tumi Matela

Tumi Matela, a 25-year-old who hails from Centurion, has been selected as one of three members of the BIC Soleil Squad. As a BIC Soleil Brand Ambassadors, Tumi will be on a mission to inspire young women to embrace their power to shine, as part of the brand’s Your Shine, Your Way campaign.

Matela says her purpose is to be a beacon of hope, to inspire change, and encourage young women to redefine and embrace their power.

The part-time model describes herself as ambitious, confident, easy-going, fun, and hardworking and is delighted to be chosen as a member of the BIC Soleil Squad. “I am so honoured to be given a platform to empower young women in South Africa. I am excited to embrace this journey and I’m confident that it will be a life-changing experience.”

“My main goal is to inspire and empower young girls. I want them to be inspired to be strong, resilient, and confident young women.”

Matela cites that her ability to be fearless in who she is and embracing her story is what makes her truly shine. She also believes the world of pageantry and the ups and downs of life taught her how to embrace who she really is. And of course, Tyra Banks, who she considers her role model.

“I was always watching Tyra Banks on America’s Next Top Model. The way she always persevered despite so many nay-sayers and became one of the biggest models in the world has always inspired me. I would like to be a role model in how I strive to achieve the things I’m passionate about.”

Women face many challenges

Matela can relate to the many challenges women in South Africa face on a daily basis. “I think South African women face three main challenges including a struggle with identity as social media dictates who we are supposed to be, but not who we really are. South Africa women also suffer from a lack of power and gender-based violence means we often tend to live in fear.”

She continues that women should not be afraid to be themselves. “As women, we should believe in ourselves because this gives us the ability to be powerful, to be fearless, and to create a force of women who can change the world and have real impact on our communities.”

“Just embrace who you are because you are wonderfully and fearfully made in the image of God, and that’s what will help you boost your confidence.”

Matela also celebrates women supporting women, which she believes is achieved by simply listening to each other. “We find that we’re so quick to judge each other without listening. We as women must come together and really listen to each other, support each other, and embrace each other’s stories. That’s what creates power,” she concludes.

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