In fashion and as an advocate of diversity, Thando’s rise to the international stage began in a chance meeting with fashion designer Gert Johan Coetzee.
The former prosecutor was spotted by the designer in a shopping centre in 2012, and he immediately followed her to request she model for him.
While she was initially sceptical, the opportunity to be a diverse role model for South African women was too tempting, and she made the most of the opportunity. Since then she has made waves internationally, shooting a Pirelli Calendar with Whoopi Goldberg and making the cover of Vogue.
Showing an artistic streak from a young age, Thando’s success in the fashion industry doesn’t surprise her family, with whom she enjoys a very close relationship.
Her sister Khanyi Matlanyane is a producer working in film and, like her sibling, not one to wait around. She saw how her sister Thando’s four years of serving the public as a state prosecutor would not be lost but rather refocused and amplified on a global stage when she took on modelling.
The sisters draw inspiration from their mother, creative artist Seipati Bulane Hopa, who has supported and believed in them from the very beginning.
Moving forward, Thando aims to make the world of fashion and beauty more inclusive, diverse, and kinder in the way it deals with differences.
With the support of a purpose-driven family, Thando has the world seeing the beauty in smart, involved women, shaping a better future for all.