For many decades, the modeling industry has been dictated by portrayal of perfection. In the early 2000s, all there was to modeling was perfect skin, a small waist and many more. It is utterly refreshing that once again, Gen-Z is hell-bent on shifting the narrative of modeling to imperfections being beautiful.
Most importantly, the modeling industry has become less about the poses one can come up with but more about having beauty tied to purpose. 20-year-old Kabelo Leqhaoe is a studious young woman who is making significant strides in Lesotho’s modeling industry. She was born in Maseru, Lesotho and is the first daughter of four children.
At age 11, she fell in love with modeling and she currently holds ten titles and is far from ending her journey. She has become an inspiration to Basotho models in that she is not only a beautiful face but she is determined to use her beauty to spread hope.
Miss Leqhaoe is currently reigning as the 2nd Princess of the Face Of Lesotho Beauty Pageant. She graced the stage with her eloquence and beauty and managed to win the hearts of the judges over. Significantly, modeling is not just about cat walking to her because she uses it to portray her inner self.
She indicates, “Beauty pageants provide platforms for young girls to spread their wings and portray their inner selves.”
Miss Leqhaoe believes that being given the opportunity to walk on a stage to compete is not just about the acquisition of a tiara and a sash but is a chance for people to see a reflection of her inward beauty as she cat walks on stage.
She regards modeling as the center of her life. This is because it has cultivated high self-esteem in her and helps her better the sense of fashion she has. In addition, it has helped her overcome negativity that came with being a plus-size girl and she transformed that into motivation to display who she truly is.
She rose above the odds and became confident enough to walk on stage. It was evident that she was truly beautiful regardless of her thick thighs. Kabelo Leqhaoe is not just a beautiful face, for she allows her beauty to shine purpose not just to her own life but also to the lives of others.
She is the founder of a project called ‘Chance At Change’. Here, she actively works with men to minimize the rate of Gender Based Violence in Lesotho by educating them about the detrimental effects GBV has on women.
She reports, “This project depicts my assertive, empathetic and altruistic character because it enables me to step into the shoes of victims of GBV and marginalized women.”
Miss Leqhaoe firmly believes that to rid our society of Gender Based Violence, men, who are the main perpetrators, should to be involved in eradicating the problem. Moreover, she believes that working with men and boys can catalyze a faster transformation compared to just talking about women empowerment in isolation.
The reason it is called ‘Chance At Change’ is because Miss Leqhaoe believes that abusers have psychological problems that cause them to resort to violence to escape the demons they battle with. As such, she believes that by educating them about the need for them to have healthy emotional outlets, the stereotype of men not having to be emotional will end.
She therefore believes that if men are given a Chance At Change through counseling and mentorship, they can become better which will simultaneously lower the rate of Gender Based Violence
One of her most significant activities through this project was a counseling session she led at the Lesotho-China Fellowship Collegiate. In this, students were taught about the effects of GBV, both physical and psychological and were urged to never condone or commit Gender Based Violence.
She collaborated with Mr. Tsotang Letsie who is a counselor as well as Ms. Mosa Rose Sekheleli to host this incredible session where attendees were taught how to identify GBV and prevent it. In addition, they were all urged to never keep quiet about it.
In her words, “If a brother, friend or teammate is abusing his female partner – or is disrespectful towards girls and women in general, do not look the other way. Urge him to seek help by consulting a counselor or anyone who can help. Do not remain silent!”
It would be an understatement to say she is just a beauty queen. She is an inspiration and is the perfect role model to children who aspire to become models. We cannot wait to watch her blossom for she says, “I want to use modeling to teach girls to have each other’s back. Most importantly, I want to instill a sense of sisterhood in females by diversifying my project to help people who are emotionally abused.