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Get to know Yaya ( @yayathemodel)

I found it only fitting that we opened up the blog with a Q&A between Yaya and I. We first met Yaya during the Dove x Ri.Ch Factory model search for AFI last year, her stunning looks made us swoon but its her personality that really captivated us and when she walked that runway with that swimsuit and chiffon kimono swaying behind her... well, a star was born. I had a little chat with Yaya and here it is...

1. Tell us about yourself, but not the typical stuff, where did you grow up? what games did you play? were you a goody 2 shoes or a rebel? what do you like to do for fun & what are you passionate about? 

A. Yaya Manda is a Xhosa girl from EC, I come from a family of 4 and I am the youngest of 3 kids. I am a plus size model, make up artist & I do a bit of acting as well. I'm completing my Animal health & Forensic Accounting diplomas. I'm extremely talkative, vibrant and bubbly. I love dogs, everything pink, a good laugh and a great bottle of wine, ooh & i'm obsessed with Drake. I believe in love and unicorns. Flamingos are my spirit animal. I am very passionate about my craft, I absolutely love what I do. When I am in front of a camera or walking on a runway thats when I feel alive & I love the idea of inspiring other women through my work especially young girls.

2. What does plus size modelling look like for the South African girl?

A. In a sense of the industry "accepting us", I see more brands/ labels creating opportunities for us. Unfortunately as a nation we have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to the plus size industry and one of the reasons for that is probably because our women are not told enough how beautiful they are regardless of their size or shape. we still have this idea of what real "beauty" should look like and we spend too much time glorifying that image rather than glorifying ourselves. Rome was not built in a day though, we will slowly get there.

3. Tell us about your journey with Ri.Ch Factory so far?

A. My journey with Ri.Ch Factory has been a fairytale. I remember the night of the fashion show (AFI) Rina found me crying in the corner and I tried my best to explain to her that those were tears of joy. working with them has been a dream come true. Especially when you know you were hand picked out of thousands of beautiful women to model for such a big brand, that fact just changes everything.

4. Whats your ultimate compliment?

A. lol! OMG how do i answer this question without seeming completely vain? "you've got a beautiful face"

5. Tell us about your modelling career to date? what are some of your dreams?

A. I have been modelling for 6 years now & I absolutely love it. I've had the pleasure of working with a number of well known brands and national magazines. I also had a couple of TV features which was something I weirdly enjoyed. My ultimate dream would be to be featured on the cover of Vogue magazine & to be the 1st plus size African to model at a Victoria's Secret fashion show. It's a dream to wear angel wings

6. One thing you'd like to try?

A. career wise, I'd say acting. Outside of work, I would love to try sky diving. I don't particularly know how that would work through considering I'm afraid of heights... 

7. One thing you're really great at?

A. Annoying my older brother... lol I am also a great cook and baker.

8. If you could pitch yourself to anyone or any brand, who/ what would it be?

A. Estee Lauder. Simply because they house a number of big beauty brands & we need to see more big beauty brands & we need to see more big girls as face of some of these beauty brands.We can't keep preaching that all women are beautiful but keep using the same women. 

9. What makes you a phenomenal woman?

A. My work ethic, my resilience even though the industry hasn't been particularly nice to me, my doings when I have been told I couldn't do it. My ability to get up and keep pushing every time I fall off my horse. More than anything my ability to pray & trust that God will make it happen.

10. One person who should definitely meet you. 

A. Ashley Graham. I love that woman & I think the 2 of us would make fire together.

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  • Thobile on

    Oh My God!
    Yaya is an amazing soul. She Helped me regain my confidence as a plus size lady
    although she didn’t realize it. She’s a beautiful masterpiece inside and out.

  • Marry-Ellen Majola on

    Yaaasss gal. As a fellow plus size woman, when you see what yaya is accomplishing, you begin to let go of all the negative/discouraging things people have to say about the industry and you really begin to focus on taking advantage of the opportunities that are there and available.
    You are awesome nje cha!

  • Jeremie Tshitenda on

    You look so gorgeous Yaya…wow

  • Sdeni-Poi Poi on

    If I had super powers I’d give Yaya Drake 🙈🙈

  • Thembie on

    Yaya is so sweet .. beautiful inside and out
    She is so amazing and adorable.. lot’s of love 💓💓

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