Tuesday- 08:32 a.m.
My scout called me again the following day. So I woke up early for my exercise routine. I needed to think, reflect and plan. So I went jogging.
When I got back to the house; I took a long bath. When I was done with the makeup; -I put on a conservative cream white Armani Cullezioni fold over to the knee dress, a black set of jewels and sky blue stilettos.
I viewed my sexy frame through huge mirror between my bedroom and the bathroom. I knew I looked extremely gorgeous.
I then headed to the meeting with my scout. We met for breakfast at 08:30 a.m. To my surprise, he was happy to see me.
“You look amazing honey.” Francois said smiling. He then gave me a peck on the cheek. He was tall. Almost taller than me. He was also was skinny, always wore formal clothes and his hair all curled up. He was a vision of dirty and clean at the same time.
Francois was Italian. He had worked all over Africa, Italy and the United States as a fashion designer. He is the most sought after agent, and I was one of his discoveries.
He held my hand as we walked inside the restaurant.
He said-“You know when they saw the pictures they were obviously worried about the image of the agency. But I have a proposition for you.”
I was curious. We then picked a table against the wall at a far corner. The restaurant was a bit empty. He dragged the chair out for me. “Thank you.” I voiced. We sat down.
He said- “Pase magazine has been pressing me for like two years now. To find an African model that would grace their covers.” I was listening. I ordered coffee and toasted bread. He ordered just coffee.
“Oh Caro, dear… Excuse my impudence. How are you dealing with everything? The photos everywhere…you must be very much stressed?” he said with his Italian accent and scanning my face.
“Uhm I’m okay François. I’m coping…I’ll be fine, you know me.” I just wanted him to circle back to what he was saying, – “Please continue.”
After pouring his sugar; slowly stirring and carefully moving the spoon against the cup; I was agitated. He tasted the coffee. After what I assume was satisfaction; he then finally continued. – “They want a dark, beautiful, young black diamond from Africa.” he was suddenly enthusiastic about what he was saying all over again. It was interesting to watch him explaining with a broad smile. “And here you come to my mind. I said to myself- of course Phontsho will do this. I don’t know what took me so long to realise this. Maybe I thought you were not ready?”
He beckoned the waitress and ordered more coffee. I was half excited about what he was telling me. I did not know quite exactly where he was headed.
“Well? They want me to be on their cover?” I asked. The man was so oddly rapt on his coffee. It was so awkward. I knew even if I said anything in between he wouldn’t respond. So I just waited in silence. At a time he had about four sips; he then came back. “Oh yes they do. They were also impressed with your, your recent pictures?”
“Really? When did this all happen?”
“Yesterday! Yesterday dear! I e-mailed them myself and I said- I have your girl!” I was beaming.
He then instantly said- “And they want you to pose nude.” that was like a gun blast! I didn’t know what to say that will come out right. I was not impressed. I guise I should have seen it coming. I just thought they wanted me maybe in a swim suit, lingerie, or wearing something. But not stark-naked!
I had to be careful with how I answer him. I said- “Uhm, I don’t think that I can-” he interrupted me,-“No, no dear. Legs, thighs, and your face will be shown. Your chest and privates will be covered. Never mind the pictures, don’t worry. That’s your private life, okay?”
He leaned slowly towards me, and held both my hands, -“This is a wise move for you dear. You will be known all over if you do that cover. Right now you are just an African model. You have to see the world”
“Okay I will think about it.”
“Do that. I won’t push you.” He added- “A lot of models have done this. And it worked out well for them. It is a good platform. Pase is one of the biggest magazines in the entire world.”
“I know, I know. I will think about it.”
He then went back to his coffee. When he finished; he informed me about the schedules for my photo shoots at the agency and places we needed to go. He left the bill with me and left.
I sat there for a while trying to gather how this could be happening. Wow, I thought.
The restaurant was now getting packed.
While I was deep in my thoughts and opting to leave; two teenage girls in school uniforms were now pointing at me from the counter. One was black and the other white. I gathered they were friends. I tried looking away. However, after being sure about what they were deliberating; – they came scuttling to my table.
The black one said-“Hello Pontso. This is my friend Michelle and I’m Karabo …uhm can we please take a picture with you?”
“Uhm I don’t-”
“Please.” Said Michelle; her freckles complementing her face somehow
I was really not in the mood. Karabo handed her phone and back pack to Michelle. She was now too comfortable busy kissing my cheeks. Oh my Lord, this can’t be life.
“Now my turn please. Karabo that’s enough.”
They were now giggling and making girly noises. Karabo took five photos; and touching me the whole time. The poses were ridiculous!
“I just want two. We are taking her time Karabo. Quick.” Karabo then gave in and Michelle took hers as well.
It was like being surrounded by playful toddlers crawling between your legs. And all you have to do is stand and let them play. “Okay that’s enough guys. I have to go.” I said. Michelle immediately said-“Thank you so much. I love you Phontsho. I want to be a model as well.” She looked happy. But she looked too short to be a model.
I said to her- “Then you better get started girl.
They then just both gazed up at me with ardent admiration like am a god. When I grasped my handbag from the table;- they started pushing each other side to side like five year olds.
I gathered they wanted to ask me something. I looked around awkwardly and nervously at them. I was hoping they won’t mention the nudes. They were just high school kids. I did not want to look otherwise to them, or give the wrong ideas. However, I was getting a bit irritated. Can we get over and done with this!
“You guys want something else?”
After they glanced at each other; Michelle finally said-“Can you please sign this for us.” and out of her back pack; she took out a weekly gossip magazine. On the inside on one of the pages was me and Brian.
“You guys are so, so cute…please an autograph.”
I was shocked. When did I have an interview? Why are we featured? The picture they used was even old. What is happening?
I seized the pen and quickly signed on Brian’s face. I was not even interested in reading what they wrote about us. Obviously it was nothing positive.
“Thank you so much.” Said Michelle.
“Bye girls. And stay in school, okay?” I said walking away. I paid the bill and I was out.
“Thank you Pontso!” shouted Karabo.
I drove to campus for my Tuesday 10.30 am class. I was still mulling over the Pase proposal. How can I possibly turn this down? I decided that I will run by my cousin Tshepiso before deciding on it.
When I was driving; I felt followed. I felt like someone was watching me. But when I eyed at the rear-view mirror; I saw nothing unusual. This is surely all up in my head.
I arrived on campus. As always I got strangers smiling at me because they recognised me. It was a familiar act even after what I assume they saw on social networks, newspapers or blogs. I wasn’t the only celebrity on campus; so everyone went along with their business.
I was early for my class. The final year exam dates were confirmed. I was starting in two weeks. I always studied ahead and I was glad regardless of the world somehow crumbling right on my face; my studies were going in the right direction. I was right on schedule with the lectures, and I understood everything presented in class. I’m going to get this degree.
I got the study notes and went straight to my house.
I found my cousin waiting for me; I was expecting her.
“You look so thin Pontso! Have you been eating?” She said it like I was a size of a rake. But of course that is your first comment, not everyone loves to eat Tshepi.
“Hi Tshepi.” I voiced. She said- “Well my phone has been quite busy lately and it’s a good thing.” she followed me to the house
“Oh well.” I said unlocking the front door. I threw my hand bag on the couch.
I then set a pair of chairs at the balcony.
“You look so tired Pontso. Bags under your eyes and all. Have you been sleeping; eating?” she was now annoying me. “What is it Tshepi? What’s out there?” I ignored her questions. She was my promoter, not my nutritionist.
Tshepi has been a close family member and a friend ever since my teenage years when presenting on Teens Mzansi. She also manages Bontle, – a very well-known model and TV show host. Tshepi literally does all in South Africa and abroad, and promotes a few upcoming and aspiring artists. She’s very good at what she does. She knows how to market her clients, knowing what’s good and what’s bad for them. I was proud to be her family. I was privileged in that regard.
“Talk to me.” I said.
She quickly said- “Well, Thee magazine wants an interview, plus a cover. Move magazine has called for comments. You have been nominated for the Mzansi Curious awards…Ehm, you also have an interview on ZFM; – which I totally think you shouldn’t do for obvious reasons. Also, you have an interview on the Lifestyle show with Bontle next week Wednesday. And…uhm, what else? Oh yes, – congratulations on those nudes”
“Wow.” I said.
“Yep. You are hot property, and that makes me happy.”
“I cannot believe all this is happening. It’s crazy how this world works.”
“You did not know that this would happen after those pictures?”
“No, I really didn’t. I’m being attacked since Sunday and am wondering when is this all going to end?! Like it’s so frustrating!” I added- “You know, I even feel so unsafe. I feel like someone will just pop out of the blue and do horrible things to me. I am panicking. I feel followed everywhere; as if traumatised.” I looked at her- “Tshepi, you have no idea how crazy the things that have been said to me are!”
“I read some online…they obviously don’t know you. They are trying to paint a “whore” kind of picture of you. The way those pictures circulated? I was shocked! People were crazed, surprised and adoring you at the same time.”
I quickly gulped cold water from a glass and said- “I saw that you were defending me; so thank you.”
“Of course i was. You are family, and yes you pay me.” We laughed.
She then said-“But those pictures are mouth-watering yoh! I went horny girl!”
“You are so nuts Tshepi.
My legs were now resting on the lounger on the balcony; whilst Tshepi on her laptop. “So Thabz really leaked them?” she asked.
“I’m really not sure.” I responded .
“Did you contact him?”
“Because I know Brant is not innocent in all this.”
“Tshepi. It just doesn’t add up. I barely talk to the guy, he has nothing against me, and so do I. He couldn’t just leak such pictures…it just doesn’t make any sense.”
“Some people do it for fun. Hurting people.”
“I really doubt Tshepi. Anyway this has worked badly and well for me at the same time. I’m kind of glad. People want me everywhere. I have to admit; somehow I love it. It’s like a blessing and a curse.”
“You and Brant? You are good?”
“Yah we are. I’m just letting things play out.”
“Your love life is not any one’s business baby; but what I need to say is you is that you have to prepare for the next coming days. You are going to be more than busy.”
I then swiftly said -“That reminds me. You know Francois want me to pose nude for Pase? Can you believe it?”
“Wow! Congratulations girl; Pase? When did he tell you this?” she was so ecstatic like it was her body that was going to be perceived by the entire world.
“He told me earlier this morning. I can’t do it. It will only perpetuate the image people already are painting of me. I can’t do it Tshepi.”
“Are you insane? You are a model for crying out loud. That’s what models do.”
“Well I’m not going to do it.”
“Yes you are Pontso. You should have said yes in a heartbeat. You can’t be an African model for ever. You should now represent the whole of Africa.” she sounded just like Francois. I just kept quiet and picked up my plate from the floor.
I then asked her-“When is the interview with lifestyle again? Am I doing it?” she was done eating and appeared busy on her PC.
“Oh yes, next week Wednesday.” she finally answered me. She added-“I told Bontle to be gentle with you. You know she can be such a bitch.”
“I will surely handle it. And Thee magazine?”
I felt an impulsive panic. “Really? What do they need?”
“They will call you, they have your number. They called you earlier today and you did not pick up.”
She turned to face me,-“Don’t be nervous. They just want a cover and an interview, and obviously they will ask you about the nudes. But I have such a great feeling about it.”
“I trust you.” I said, and she was back on her PC.