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Why Gert-Johan Chose A Girl With Albinism As The Face Of His New Collection!

Meet Thando Hopa, a 23 year old lady with albinism, who will be strutting her stuff at Gert-Johan Coetzee’s first SA Fashion Week show in two years. Hot as she is, Thando is not a model, she is actually a prosecutor who works for the NPA and her meeting with Gert kinda went like the stuff you usually read about when celebrities talk about being #Spotted. Thando was spotted in a mall, while out shopping, sometime in July.

“Thando is so striking and she has remarkable poise – she can literally stop traffic. That’s how I experienced her when she walked past me in the mall,” says Coetzee. “I just had to meet her.” After he introduced himself and the two had a conversation, Coetzee was convinced he wanted Thando involved in his new collection. “I am obsessed with colour and besides being really beautiful, Thando is the exact opposite of colour… visually she personifies the infinite possibilities of a blank canvas. The creative tension that causes is just so exciting!”

About Thando:

She was born with albinism, a rare genetic condition that leads to a complete or partial lack of pigmentation in the skin, eyes and hair. It is caused by a recessive gene that both parents have to carry for a child to be born with the condition. Persons With Albinism (PWAs) are vulnerable to sun exposure and most of them are in some way visually impaired, but otherwise they lead perfectly normal lives. Black PWAs with their white hair, pale eyes and fair skin naturally stand out much more than their Caucasian counterparts do and this often leads to bullying or teasing. Thando’s parents don’t have albinism, but two of their four children do.

“My parents raised my younger brother and I as if there was no difference between us and all the other kids in the neighbourhood, and for that I am very grateful. As a child I never had a role model who looked like me, so that is partly why I am interested in Gert-­‐Johan’s project. If one little girl out there looks at me and sees a world of opportunities for herself this would have been worth it.”

Thando admits that one has to be strong to keep one’s head high and that even though she now loves being different, it was hard growing up with albinism.

“I was horrified to learn that PWAs have been cruelly persecuted in certain parts of Africa – especially in Tanzania where many of them have been killed in muti murders. I feel honoured that I can play a part in the education process that may help to dispel some of the prejudice and superstition that people with albinism face.”

Well done to Gert on spotting Thando, we can’t wait to see her on the runway!


53 comments on “Why Gert-Johan Chose A Girl With Albinism As The Face Of His New Collection!

  1. Nkele
    September 26, 2012

    Damn this post could have had more than 300 comments on main site, ms Boyana kante watagwaan,

  2. Zoliswa
    September 26, 2012

    Well done to both Gert and Thando!

  3. Brown Shuga
    September 26, 2012

    Nkele, not even on the main site do we have 300 comments after 15 minutes.

    • PussInHeels
      September 27, 2012

      hahahahahahah!! Good one BS!

  4. zin
    September 26, 2012

    Oh man things that make my heart smile, sometimes being different is a blessing. Beauty comes in different forms and models always fascinate me with their rare looks. If it’s not their long necks, defined cheek bones it’s their skin tone! All the best Thando.

  5. PulengR
    September 26, 2012

    Oh Wow! She’s so beautiful, I dont know why but the first picture made me think of Zizo Beda

  6. eyh2jee
    September 26, 2012

    Andile from Khumbu and Lebo Mashile would die for that hair.
    Thandis is HOT.Wish her luck le Gert wa hae.

    • Nokuthula
      September 26, 2012

      kanti how does one post a comment here, ive been trying for 3days im tired now

    • PussInHeels
      September 27, 2012

      True that eyh2jee…they would kill for her hair!

  7. unpluggedchickitay
    September 26, 2012

    Puleng, it must be the pose….something about that pic screams Zizo Beda

    I love this hey and Thando is so gorgeous. It’ll def go a long way in curbing stereotypes…*side eyes FanaThePurp*

  8. Nokuthula
    September 26, 2012

    Wow u go girl, happy for u

  9. coco bear
    September 26, 2012

    bt pwa hav the best hair colour ever… The way it glows is jst magical. All the best to miss Thando

  10. Ms Android
    September 26, 2012

    Mhle uThando
    lol @Nokuthula your coment came through just when you were about to giveup.

  11. rhee
    September 27, 2012

    reare beauty

  12. blommy
    September 27, 2012

    Wow! Wat n inspiring story. This wil surely make people look difrently at PWA’s. She is trully gorgeous! A rare dime

  13. Bubblez
    September 27, 2012

    I was never really a Gert fan but after this I definetely am!
    Thando is gorgeous…Love her already and I’m seeing international success for both her and Gert and in the not so far future.

    It sure feels good to be able to comment:-)

  14. beverley zitha (@peachesbgz)
    September 27, 2012

    She is absolutely gorgeous, wow.
    Thanks to Gert for showing us such beauty and giving other PWA’s a role model and someone that’s not afraid of her unique yet beautiful features.
    Congratulations Sisi 🙂

    P.S. Hottt body

  15. BlindFold
    September 27, 2012

    I am sh*t scared of albino’s, had a classmate at primary my goodness.

    • PussInHeels
      September 27, 2012

      Blindfold, why are you scared of ’em? *curious*

  16. MashDiva
    September 27, 2012

    Shes gorgeous! I also love their hurrrr!

  17. Nongqovu
    September 27, 2012

    Lol Blindfold

  18. Miss T
    September 27, 2012

    She is gorgeous. Her body is flippen HOT!

  19. fancyface
    September 27, 2012

    Well done Gert,

  20. lalli
    September 27, 2012

    she is pretty, way to go Gert.

  21. True-self
    September 27, 2012

    beautiful girl, but the article was way too short. I am waiting for 9am for the competition…tick tock

  22. Nongqovu
    September 27, 2012

    What competition True-Self?

  23. Nonny
    September 27, 2012

    Wow, Gert is sure to get a lot more fans through this move, I hope it was not strategic, and that he really did see something in Thando because she is very beautiful.

  24. True-self
    September 27, 2012

    Its a weekend away with a partner to Tsongo sun hotel, they tweeted it yesterday saying at 9am. BS also mentioned it on anything goes. I want it want it!!!!!

  25. dejane
    September 27, 2012

    She’s gorgeous. Looks like Albino’s are the new black. The new face of Legit is also an Albino. Fana wrote a blog about wanting to bed an albino. Its the season of the Albino’s.

    Its good though, that they’re finally being embraced on a wider platform. Kudo’s to Gert, Thando is beautiful.

  26. zenzybear
    September 27, 2012

    im also scared of albinos, have been since a very young age. its a fear i have try to overcome but kunzima hey. i have albino relatives but still hey. im seeing a shrink for my paranoia, fear of albinos n fear of death

  27. mapaseka
    September 27, 2012

    wow truly beautiful gal

  28. mapaseka
    September 27, 2012

    zenzy wats ur email ad, wana follow u on instagram,

  29. mafezi
    September 27, 2012

    I saw a gay albino on Saturday.

    There’s this albino gal here at work, that gal is hot for days. She also has a thick banging body, think Minnie Dlamini and she knows that she’s hot.

  30. zenzybear
    September 27, 2012
  31. Vesa
    September 27, 2012

    She’s got a hot body hey!

  32. fabtee
    September 27, 2012

    @those who say they are scared, what exactly is it that you’re scared of?…Thando is indeed beautiful, with brains too, I like!

  33. mapaseka
    September 27, 2012

    zenzy uv got mail

  34. ladymillions
    September 27, 2012


  35. Tendai
    September 27, 2012

    I love it. She is gorgeous and challenging every stereotype there is out there. You go girl!

  36. Monei
    September 27, 2012

    She is beautiful! and brainy! and her body looks hot too ka nnete. Well done to her and Gert in this monumental action. she must enter miss SA if age permits and all of that- who am i kidding- those ppl dnt even want bald or natural hair contestants.

  37. Nondumiso Ntshangase
    September 27, 2012

    I’m proud of u resiepooh, love u and keep at it represent GIRL….

  38. Nondumiso Ntshangase
    September 27, 2012

    I’m proud of u resiepooh, love u and keep at it represent GIRL….that’s my girl Woop Woop

  39. sqeda
    September 27, 2012

    Wow I’ve never met or spoken to an albino person! In my 20 something years of life!!! *such a shame*

  40. bongi
    September 27, 2012

    @ zenzybear if you have a fear for albino’s – do have a fear for umlungu? i really dont see a difference between albinos and blond white people..i used to have a fear for snakes; no more now..my curiosity about snakes made me realise that they are just harmless animals, that only react because they are scared too. Thuli indutsu yakho inoba ivulekile ke mos..

  41. bhubesi
    September 27, 2012

    Hawu sqeda how is that possible becwele kangaka

  42. zenzybear
    September 27, 2012

    @bongi, yes actually i am scared of white people with red hair and freckles, people with false teeth, the list goes on. what is ‘indutsu’?

  43. smatsatsa
    September 27, 2012

    Kwaaaa! Zenzy uthi u are scared of red heads and people with false teeth?! Haaa haaaaa haaaaa!

  44. smatsatsa
    September 27, 2012

    This lady has a banging body indeed! Those curves! I don’t have a prob with albinos and come to think of it, I personally don’t know anyone who is..

  45. kamzababy
    September 27, 2012

    *sets smatsatsa gravi as backround*…

  46. Sqeda
    September 27, 2012

    @bhubesi…i’ve seen some on the street….ngithi nje talking to one…interacting nje in some way bathong…thats the experience i havent had…kiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii…not funny kodwa

  47. True-self
    September 27, 2012

    I wonder which artist tbotouch is bringing next to the country, he’s going on and on about it on twitter. Its not Justin bieber, not Rihanna.

  48. kaizer
    September 28, 2012


  49. koki
    September 28, 2012

    From highschool and varsity-i know this-she has been nothing short of a force like no other

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