A visionary…Cultural Leader…Game Changer

Thando Hopa is a fashion model and an advocate of diversity who has made her mark globally. Her varied portfolio includes her background as a sexual offence prosecutor in the regional court at the National Prosecuting Authority, an international fashion model, an actress and a cultural leader. Her work as an activist resulted in her contribution to United Nations policy discussions around albinism in the SADC region during its consultation phase.  She was later nominated as a delegate to participate in the round-table contributions of the Department of  Social Development on the implementation phase of the United Nations action plan on human rights issues pertaining to the safety, development and inclusion of persons with albinism in South Africa.

Moreover, she is one of the founding delegates of the Global Albinism Alliance which was created and constituted in France. Her tenure in the media and promotion of inclusion, diversity and representation has led to Thando being recognised as one of BBC’s Top 100 Inspirational and Influential women across the globe as well as her appointment as a Fellow and a Cultural Leader in the The Narratives Lab of the World Economic Forum.

Her cultural portfolio includes being the face of the award winning Audi Q2 Untaggable Campaign and conducting several fashion campaigns with The Foschini Group for the empowerment and inclusion of women from diverse walks of life. She was also featured as a trailblazing artist in Foxlife Africa’s reality television series entitled, Game Changers.

Her work as a fashion model saw her gracing the covers of several magazine publications such as Marie Claire and Glamour magazine.  She also became the first South African person of colour to feature in the Pirelli calendar curated by Vogue photographer, Tim Walker, and featured alongside entertainment icons such as Whoopi Goldberg and Naomi Campbell. In the year 2019 she was the cover star of Vogue Portugal, making her the first woman with albinism to ever grace the cover of Condé Nast’s internationally acclaimed publication.  She formed part of the expert panel of expert judges for Miss South Africa 2019 which translated into an impactful Miss Universe victory through the reigning queen, Zozibini Tunzi. She worked alongside an all star female judging panel which included former Miss Universes Catriona Gray and Demi Leigh Nel-Peters, Businesswoman and Actress Connie Ferguson and Radio DJ and Television Presenter Anele Mdoda.

As a fashion model, diversity advocate and cultural activist, Thando has used the powerful communicative influence of the media to campaign for inclusive representation and transformative social narratives.  She’s delivered lectures and/or talks in schools, tertiary institutions, community based NGOs and internationally renowned platforms such as the MAKERS Conference in Los Angeles, Bloomberg LP (talk on the politics of difference in terms of concepts of beauty, race and normality) , Richard Branson’s – Business is an Adventure, The Beauty Revolution Festival (first beautycon festival in Southern Africa that was aimed at democratizing beauty), The Ringana Conference in Austria as well as several master classes at African Fashion International.

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