With her combination of beauty, talent and passion, Botswana born model Julia Tsile discusses how she moved away from her home country to pursue modeling in South Africa, challenges she faced and the models who inspire her.

Zen+Magazine+Interviews+Julia+Tsile+2015 (3)Julia ‘Juice’ Tsile is signed to Contact Model
Management in Capetown 

Zen: When did you start modeling?
Julia: I started modeling in 2006 when I was 19 years old. I was discovered by a wonderful woman called Gofa Sithole who saw my photo on the Voice Newspaper. At the time, getting on he Voice was the only major hope models in Botswana had on starting off a career as a top model. She gave me a call and I was the face of her clothing line for a couple of months. She nurtured me on how to become a model and within a few months I did a photo shoot for Lapologa Magazine showcasing designer clothes from Thabiso Dibeela. From that day I knew this was what I wanted to do because of the positive response I got from industry professionals in Botswana.

Zen: What was your first big break in the industry?
Julia: My first big break came when I tried my luck at the Nokia Face of Africa 2006. I was the second best after Keamogetse Basima who represented the country that year. I was spotted by Andiswa Manxiwa who was scouting for Face of Africa at the time and assured me that I have something special and I needed to move to South Africa to pursue my career.

Zen: What are the challenges that you have faced as a model in this industry?
Julia: The industry comes with a lot of challenges. First of all just coming from Botswana where the industry has no support at all was a struggle. Luckily my mother who is my support system was behind me all the way. As a young girl coming from Botswana, back then, modeling was associated with a lot of bad things like drugs, prostitution and being dumb. Also, having to move to another country with no financial support was a challenge. You have to be signed by an agency in South Africa for you to work as a model. I came to Johannesburg with a backpack and looking for an agency was a struggle because all the top agencies I went to told me I have a look alike and because of this I was not going to be recognized. And with my experience with modeling for black girls in South Africa which is the hub of fashion in Africa, they honestly favor darker skinned models from other African countries. So it was a huge challenge for me because I was none of that. But with my determination and my grounded background, I never gave up and I knew I had to work hard for the clients to recognize me.



Zen: Which designers have you worked with?  
Julia: I have worked with Ozwald Boateng for a menswear collection photo shoot in Johannesburg. It was featured in Vanity Fair Magazine UK in 2011. I also got to work with Gert Johan Coetzee, a South African designer, Face of Color in the Desert Fashion Week Botswana and SA fashion week 2011 and 2012. I have also walked at the Swahili fashion Week for Soucha Milingue from Egypt, Mustafa Hassanali from Tanzania, and so many more awesome African designers. I also did Mercedez Benz Africa fashion week which had more than 20 designers. I worked with Kreyn from Cameroon, Mpho Kuaho, Izaura, Black Trash, Mummy Molapo. I also treasure working with photographers like Petra Rolinec, Mikey San, and Zimbabwe Fashion Weekend producer and designers Shamiso Catherine whom I worked with as the international model for Zimbabwe Fashion Weekend. Please note that all the international fashion shows I did outside Botswana and South Africa, I did on my own without any agency but as a freelancer model. 


Zen: What has been your favorite job so far?
Julia: My favorite job was when a photo shoot that I did with Petra Rolinec was featured on Vogue Italia. It was a campaign for human trafficking of models and young girls in the UK art exhibition. My other highlight is when I became the Face of Color in the Desert Fashion Week. Personally that showed my success as a Motswana model who fought hard for a bite of the big apple in this industry without a title.

Zen: What is your dream-modelling job?
Julia: My dream modelling job is to have my own reality TV show. I would like to be able to open doors for aspiring models in Africa. I believe Botswana has a lot of rough diamonds that need to be polished and I can do it with the right push and support.

Zen+Magazine+Interviews+Julia+Tsile+2015 (3)

Zen: What advice would you give to aspiring models?
: Aspiring models need to work very hard. Modelling is not all about the glitz and glam. Sometimes you have to go overseas and pursue your modelling career if you want to be successful. You also need to have a plan B because it is a short lived career. Identify yourself in the industry as a brand, be humble and do not let anyone take advantage of you.

Zen: Who are the African models that inspire you?
: Alek Wek inspires me with her work ethics, her project in Sierra Leone and just coming to the UK with nothing but a lot of perseverance. The second model who continues to inspire me everyday has to be Kaone Kario from my country Botswana. She is a hard worker and doing so well for herself in the modelling industry. Kaone inspires me not to give up and to also keep working hard. Another woman who is not a model but an athlete from Botswana who inspires me so much is Amantle Montsho. This lady has done so well in the world of athletics as a female sprinter who specializes in the 400 metres. She has always represented Africa and Botswana so well in every competition she has participated in. Lastly, my dear friend, Adau Mornyang from South Sudan. She walks the top African catwalks, does big campaigns in Australia, New York and South Africa, and she also has a beautiful heart. I love her!

Zen: What are a few of your guilty pleasures food wise?
Julia: Wow I love food! I think I am a very good cook but my guilty pleasures would have to be our very own fat cakes from Botswana with (serobe) intestines. I completely love croissants with cheese and jam and I love carrot cake {Laughs}. (serobe is a popular Botswana dish in which the intestines and some inside parts of goat, sheep or cow are cooked until soft.)

Zen: How do you maintain your slim physique?
Julia: I do a lot of running at the beach. I also play beach volleyball, hiking, and I do a lot of walking as well. When I want to relax I do yoga, planking and pilates. I also love dancing to dance-hall music. It helps to shape my waist line.

Zen+Magazine+Interviews+Julia+Tsile+2015 (2)Julia is a graduate from Limkokwing University Of Creative
Technology in Botswana, majoring in Tourism management

Zen: How do you cope under the pressures of being a model?
Julia: Well, as a model you have to find your identity, know your weaknesses and also your strengths. Once you have mastered that then I don’t think there is so much pressure. I prepare myself and make sure I show a variety of looks to my image at every shoot because the same old look will bore the client. I keep myself with what’s in and what’s not in. I am a praying woman so I always ask God for guidance when I feel too pressured.

Zen: What beauty tips do you swear by?
Julia: I live by hydrating the whole day by drinking lots of water. I always have a small bottle of Vaseline petroleum jelly in my bag. It works wonders for your body, your lips and locks in moisture. I also never sleep with make up on and I use olive oil and coconut oil to moisturize my natural hair and skin. Buying the right pair of shoes and bra size is key. You also have to snack on fruits a lot. I love berries, gives my skin a glow {Laughs}.

Zen: What do you like the most about African fashion?
Julia: What I love the most about African fashion is how vibrant the prints are and how it represents African individual cultures. There is always an African story with the bright colorful fabrics and I admire how young Africans incorporate it into the modern fashion and show their talent through their individual elements. I love attending weddings and ceremonies where I have to pull an African look which identifies who I am and where I come from.

Connect with Julia on social media today!
Instagram: Juicetsile || Twitter: @juicetsile || Facebook: Juice Tsile

Photo Credits
Photographer: Anika Molnar

Stylist: JaunEileen Lodge
Makeup: Esmarie Portgieter
Assistant: Clive Myburgh