The Influencer Culture – The Rise of Annelo Sandsons

By Tlalane Mokhesi (Edited by Fatima Ayob)

Annelo Sandsons

Having amassed more than 250k Instagram followers, Annelo Sandston’s future as an influencer seems bright. As Lesotho is still far behind in this area, this ambitious young Mosotho woman recently moved to South Africa to advance her content creation career. Explore her fascinating story to find out more about her background, challenges, and goals for the future.

Interviewer: Hello Likonelo Mavis Sehloho, we are so excited to hear from you. Thank you so much for your time. Please tell us more about yourself.

Hello, I’m Likonelo Sehloho, branded on Instagram as Annelo Sandsons. I am the Queen from the North, or at least that is how they refer to me. I am from Leribe. Magic, stardom, and hustle are my three favorite things. I attended Holy Family High School and Guardian Angel Kindergarten. I made the decision not to attend college since I already knew what I wanted: “To make money!”

I like money and always will. I’ve been a hustler since I was in primary school. I would cut soaps into thirds and sell them to other students who weren’t frequently visited at the boarding school. I used to generate a lot of profit. Using scissors, I would also trim other student’s hair. Oh, I made a lot of cash. I further sold “kota” in high school, even though it was against the rules.

Fast forward in life, I developed a liking for social media. I came to understand how powerful of a tool it is. I made an investment in content creation, and I quickly saw unimaginable growth. Okay, I said to myself, this place is a gold mine, and I’m willing to take the treasure. I am currently rebranding and developing new techniques to maintain my brand in the digital sphere and establish myself as one of the most lucrative and beneficial influencers.

Ah Annelo, what a journey! I really love what you are doing. Everything looks beautiful when you are looking through rose-colored classes. Tell us about the challenges that came with your zero to hero moment in the digital world. How did people react to your fame?

Oh No! People started hating me. From taxi ranks to workplaces to schools. However, I made the conscious decision to focus solely on the positive remarks. People really dragged my name through the mud, some would even go to the extent of saying I don’t look like my pictures. Lesotho has a long way to go in terms of understanding content creation. I moved to SA because content creation is a thing of today and I would love to be in a country that embraces it. Now that they can’t see me, they have nothing to say. They are actually consuming my work more today because they are looking for something to mock. My reach is growing every second.

I relocated because “mopropheta ha bokoe ha habo,”. Since many well-known figures in South Africa consistently raise their hands in support of me, I have come to the realization that only great people will acknowledge my brilliance because I don’t intimidate them. I have one simple rule: “I can sit on the table with anyone because I have love for everyone but once you speak ill of me ,You will never ever sit with me”.

So, when big brands react to your posts how do you feel?

Every time a huge brand, such as Dj Zinhle or another, comments or reposts, I think, “Wow, at least!” after which I consider how they may support my growth. I respect and act humbly among these powerful people because I want to be associated with them, learn from them, and be upgraded by them.

On that note, I want to emphasize that even famous persons are merely ordinary people in real life. Because of this, it amazes me that someone would want me to be a superwoman in real life when a celebrity they admire is not only normal but is clapping for me. They don’t look down on me, even though they could, so I have more faith in them than I do in my own people.

Annelo, that’s fascinating! Someone might think of you as being attractive and seductive, only to discover you are a beautiful woman with a mission. Please share some of your talents with us.

Fashion, my darling! I work in personal styling. I’ve styled a lot of different people, and my desire is that anyone who admires my sense of fashion and wants to rock it like I do will just hire me as their stylist. Perfect for special occasions like your graduation, wedding, dates, and birthdays. Just let me know what you want to see. I hold weekly style-improvement sessions with each of my clients. Style is powerful. You may essentially alter your style to position yourself for a promotion at work. You can change your style to attract the kind of man or woman you want if you want a new partner or spouse.

You can get styling help from me if you’re having self-esteem issues, and we can work together to find the ideal look for your body type. Since appearance matter, I would be happy to serve as your personal stylist on either special occasions or regular days. If you purchase something from my store, I’ll style you for free. No issue if you purchase from different stores, but you must pay a monthly subscription for our weekly consultations. I could go on and on about how joyful fashion makes me. I also enjoy and am quite skilled at cooking. As I have recently moved, I will invest more in it after I get settled in SA.

Oh, and I can move, too. In fact, I’ve fallen in love with music videos. Watch out! Just keep an eye out because, God willing, you’ll see me in some interesting music videos. I may be attractive, but I don’t want to be used for personal gain. Before attractiveness, consider the girl who aspires to be the Queen. My power, not my weakness, is what makes me sexy. Lift me up instead of pulling me down if you approach me.

I’ve also recently developed a liking for school due to my interest in certain skills. I want to attend beauty and fashion schools, but I know I can’t do it all. Instead, I just want to render my services to companies as an influencer, to share their talent with the world. I was not picky about hustle when I was younger, so I am open to influence as many brands as long as I align with their values. To prove that anything may be sold, I would actually go to the well “selibeng” and sell water in the ranks.

Annelo Sandsons

Hmmm! Indeed, Basotho are behind on content creation. What can you say to anyone who looks up to you and wants to create content but is afraid of being shamed “for not looking like their pictures or being fake”?

Fake it until you make it. Every time you get, take a picture of that moment. Seize the occasion! I don’t live a deceiving life as some have said. The only distinction is that I over-capture it and this I turn into content. Learn something new while you have money. Go out. Seize the occasion young girl! Take a picture of it.

Hlapa‘ and take pictures. Don’t just tell us about being in a cool place—take a picture instead! And demonstrate to us how this is done if you wish to create content. Yes, creating content can put you under some pressure, but you can get around that. I am one of the women who still travel to Sandton from the MTN taxi rank with only R20 set aside for transportation in order to live the soft life. I am honest with myself and my pocket.

I don’t force myself to take an Uber to get there. I continue to make an effort to live within my means. I have to continue living this way because it’s how I want to be known. Yes, I market myself as a lifestyle brand (fashion, travel, health, food, luxury). Even though I don’t wear costly clothing yet, I always appear expensive. I simply go to any Sandton restaurant with R300, taking regular cabs. Yes, you may save money, but for me, it’s an investment in new content. We are not alike.

Sandton is usually my first choice because it has beautiful areas. On Instagram, background is crucial. I simply visit these cool locations while smelling like cash and looking fantastic. I take several snaps before returning to my home and hearing you guys refer to me as Slay Queen. It’s okay since I believe that I will become the Slay Queen someday. A slay queen in a sense of a gorgeous woman who earns her own money and slays all day.

I am just faking it until I make it, wait, I am just faith-ing it until I make it. I said it and you heard it. It’s crucial to approach social media responsibly without compromising your morals. Don’t go to Instagram and set up a fake account to attack me. You won’t see the benefits of content creation.

I chose social media to increase my income. I started my clothing business and I am experiencing unbelievable sales. So yes, my investment in content is now paying off. Let’s collaborate on social media, we will have more reach than if we fight one another.

I plan to alter the way I approach working with my clients. I want them to tag me so that I may share their accounts as well, which will help us both grow. If they tag me, you’ll understand what I mean when I claim that people are purchasing my clothing. Honestly, I am amazed. Social media can help you learn new things and make more money. I’m grateful that my business is doing so well. “Ke motho ka batho”.

Instead of limiting your mission, broaden your attitude by following the appropriate people. Don’t pursue someone to outdo or attack them. No! Use social media with a purpose. I believe I am unique. I am going to be successful. I am in the process. I sit myself down and reprimand myself. I follow you not to compete, but rather to add to and learn from you.

We are all aspirational as young people, yet our educational system teaches us to follow the crowd. It does not teach us to value small profits. While I love education and appreciate that it taught me how to speak and write, all I am saying is, it is not enough. Don’t go to school because people did it, do it because you have a plan.

I’ve always been in love with money. While I don’t regret not going to college, I do wish I had made more of an effort to improve my English while I was at school because being able to speak in an articulate manner is necessary for my job. Basically, I’m suggesting that everything should be done with a purpose.

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