So much more than just a pretty face
When I met with Siyanda Bani – the founding editor of online fashion and beauty magazine Glow Up – for the first time, the first thing that I felt is welcome. She had never met me before, however, she opened up to me as if we had known each other for years. We chatted about love, life – with a bit of fashion and beauty thrown in for good measure…
From the time she was eight years old, Siyanda wanted to write. Her mom was a librarian and encouraged a love of the written word in her. Despite her humble township beginnings, Siyanda always knew that she was destined for great things. “My grandmother was a domestic worker,” she said, “and she would take me with her when she went to work. I remember watching shows like Top Billing while she worked. I couldn’t believe that people could live such a lavish lifestyle, however it showed me where I wanted to go.”
After having studied copy writing, Siyanda started off her career in the editorial side of magazines in Cape Town. She slowly worked her way up to the position of digital coordinator at the same company. The entrepreneurial bug bit her and she decided to pursue her own venture. Siyanda is a self-professed creative and so she needed to do something which would not tie her down. This is how Glow Up was born.
A clear path mapped out
Glow Up, for Siyanda, allows her to express her love of fashion and – most of all – beauty. This made it clear to her that she wanted to work in the heart of the beauty industry. And when she was thinking about companies there was one -and one only – that she wanted to apply to: Estee Lauder. “When I first applied to the company, my application was rejected. This didn’t deter me: I kept applying until they accepted me.” This planning and determination paid off as today Siyanda holds the position of digital community coordinator at the cosmetic giant.
Don’t discount being an employee
Over the past couple of years, young people have been encouraged to pursue entrepreneurship as a career path so as to become in a position to employ others and curb our chronic unemployment problem that we face in South Africa. Siyanda acknowledges the great role that entrepreneurs play in our society, however, she also advises that if young people get the opportunity to work in a company – be it big or small – where they can learn from the successes and challenges of their colleagues they should grab hold of it with both hands. “There’s nothing more valuable than learning from others’ experiences,” she says.
You are the one who will make it happen
One of Siyanda’s favourite sayings is luck is a combination of preparation and opportunity. People who – on the outside – appear to be lucky, to have things falling into their laps, aren’t just in the ‘right place at the right time’. They’ve been able to spot the opportunities around them and, because of the preparations that they have done, they are able to take advantage of these gaps. To outsiders they appear to be lucky but, in actual fact, a lot of background work has gone into what they have a reality. So how do you go about this preparation? “First, do your research,” advises Siyanda. “Find out where you want to go and who you want to be. Then find your voice and have the courage to use it. It is only in this way that you’ll be able to make a mark on the world.”
The next part of the journey
The path that Siyanda has chosen for herself is the one she wants to stay on for the foreseeable future. She wants to grow the Glow Up brand and – ultimately – be in a position to employ people. “Successful women can like make-up and fashion. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. That’s the message I want Glow Up to portray.”
We look forward to watching you do this Siyanda!