By Lillian Henderson, Marketing Director of BIC, South East Central Africa
The Value of Confidence
In 2020 BIC Soleil shavers launched a search for the “Miss Soleil Squad” – three South African women who embody the values of confidence, spirit, inspiration, motivation, and fun. The only qualifier was that these women must be passionate about inspiring others to build their confidence, celebrate their uniqueness, and find their voice.
The winners – Tumi Matela, Amanda Nchukana and Sherri Andreas – were announced as the brand’s ambassadors in October 2020, and have since been on a mission, along with BIC Soleil, to motivate other young women to find their shine too.
“In a world of social pressures and expectations around gender norms, BIC believes that we have a role to play in supporting self-care and empowering women to have the confidence to shine in their own way, whether that’s through their abilities, their talent, their beauty, or their diversity. Celebrating self-care and actively inspiring and empowering women are just a few ways in which BIC has dedicated itself to the cause,” says Lillian Henderson, Marketing Director of BIC, South East Central Africa.
Women Embodying Hope & Positivity
Whether it’s to uplift the youth of South Africa or spread a message of hope and positivity, Tumi, Amanda and Sherri are the embodiment of what BIC Miss Soleil represents. Since being named the brand’s ambassadors, these ladies have used various platforms to share their stories, encouragement, motivation and inspiration with young girls across the country. Be that through the media, on social media channels, doing talks for girls at high schools, or on the stage at various events.
Young Women Empowering The Youth of SA
At a career exhibition at Aurora Girls High School in Soweto, organised by 22 year old former Miss SA Finalist Zanele Phakathi, and sponsored by BIC Soleil, Tumi took the learners through her life and career journey, giving them motivation to always be confident and to believe in themselves and their individuality. “As a BIC Soleil brand ambassador, my mission is to inspire young women to embrace their power to shine, as part of the brand’s #ShineYourWay campaign. It was such a pleasure to speak to the young ladies to embrace who they want to be in life. They are at such a critical time in their life as they decide which career path they want to journey on and use their talents and abilities in the world. You need to shine as the best form of yourself. Always be authentic and act from the heart. Be true to yourself and do not pretend to be something you’re not. You have one life to live, make the most of it. And most importantly, be patient with yourself as you try to figure it out,” she said.
Amongst other things, Tumi also represented the brand at the Miss Tembisa pageant. In her speech, she shared:
“As a beauty pageant model, the advice I would give to the ladies going forward is to go after whatever they want with drive, passion and stamina. You must also have a serving heart, be easy to relate to, generous and passionate about empowering other women and girls.
I believe that identity is one of the biggest challenges that South African women face, especially with social media, to a large extent, dictating who we are supposed to be, but not who we really are. I would caution you to use social media carefully and to keep things in perspective.
We can be quick to judge each other. I would encourage you to listen to each other instead. 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 and that is how we will see change.”
Building Independent Young Women
BIC Soleil also sponsored a self-defence workshop conducted by Fight Back SA. At the event, Sherri shared, “I am here today to learn more about self-defence as an independent woman in South Africa. I am also so glad to be part of this initiative to help empower women and children.
“The advice I would like to give you ladies today is about self-esteem. It’s something that everybody battles with, so you shouldn’t think you are alone. BUT, YOU shouldn’t be the one putting yourself down because society already does that. Be kind to yourself and to others.
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. Fortunately, what we’ll learn in this workshop today will help us feel that much more secure!”
She echoed this sentiment when she and BIC Soleil visited Nkube Secondary School at Leyden Village situated in Mokopane, Limpopo Province. The event was for Grade 10 to Grade 12 learners and was dedicated to motivating them, encouraging confidence, and providing information on careers that students can choose when they complete high school.
Sherri took the learners through her life story, the challenges she overcame with having to move around to many different places and schools growing up, and her career journey. She motivated them to always be confident and to work hard and smart to achieve their dreams. “You need to work hard and use all the resources that you can find to ensure that you work towards your goals. Do your research and ask for all the help you can get,” says Andreas.
While Sherri, who is involved with a number of youth upliftment programmes in her personal capacity, has a main aim in life to spread hope, positivity and bring colour to the world, Amanda brings a body positivity focus to the BIC Soleil Squad.
Young Women Leadership Matters
At a recent event – an “All Bodies are Beautiful MeetUp” created by Body Positivity and Lifestyle Content Creator, Oyama Botha and sponsored by BIC Soleil – Amanda took the guests through her journey to self-confidence and how exciting it was to win the role as a BIC Soleil ambassador, as that allowed her to represent women who love curvy fashion and beauty.
“I grew up seeing so many different advertisements with women who did not look like me or anything near what I looked like. When I entered the BIC Soleil competition, I didn’t think I would win but I was happy to win and be part of a brand that was dedicated to embracing women for who they are. Self-love and confidence is an everyday journey, you have to want to wake up every day and work on yourself,” she said.
Botha agreed that body confidence is a personal journey that she believes can be encouraged based on many factors like who you allow around you, and so partnering up with a brand that spoke to her ethos has been very important for her. BIC Soleil believes in supporting women to shine in their own way as they want to encourage them to do what feels right for them and inspire others to do the same by creating an open, honest and safe environment for these conversations to take place. Botha emphasised that it would be great for more brands to take this same stand and encourage body positivity for everyone within their brands. At the end of the session, guests reflected on what it means to shine their light and become the best version of themselves while giving opportunity to other women.
Oyama Botha joins Musician, Entrepreneur and Founder of #EndGirlHate, Lee-Anne Dlamini, and entertainment powerhouse, Rorisang Thandekiso, as mentors of the BIC Soleil Squad, offering guidance, assisting them in their personal and career growth, and empowering them further.
There are a number of events and initiatives focusing on youth empowerment and advocacy that BIC Soleil, along with the Squad, will be a part of over the coming months. This all forms a part of BIC Soleil’s purpose to help young women embrace their power to shine.
*Interested in discovering more inspiring stores about Top Women? Check out the 16th edition of the Standard Bank Top Women Leaders publication on Issuu – Digital Publishing Platform – here.