Image from Unsplash
For some reason, I feel like it is finally time to reveal why I left The Entertainment Industry. Although I was born to parents who are both Scientists, my Mother’s extended family is well-known in South Africa for entertainment, particularly singing.
When I was a kid, I would hang out a lot with this side of the family and, because I could sing, everyone know that my destiny was to be a well-known singer. It was my ultimate dream. My Dad gave me the advice to follow Whitney Houston’s route and become a model so that I would get recognized and then I would be able to live out my dream as a professional singer.
I followed my Dad’s direction and I got into modeling. Being a model came with many negatives but it helped me meet a lot of people. My Dad was right! As I pursued my singing career, I began to dislike The Industry because of everything that came with it.
Here are 3 reasons why I chose The Wellness Industry over the Entertainment Industry:
1. I can now be who I really am.
When people ask me why I don’t model or professionally sing anymore, a memory of me being told that I’m fat, short and unworthy by agents and managers comes to the forefront of my mind. I have always been someone who has believed that authenticity is powerful. However, in an industry where standards sell, rebels and authenticity is hardly ever celebrated, it is very difficult to meet people who are game-changers and prolific because most people are concerned with selling and see you as a money-making machine; as opposed to a human-being. When I decided to become a yoga teacher (6 years ago), I felt like I could be myself in front of a big group of people for the first time in my life. I felt home.
2. I didn’t want to contribute to the misogyny and sexualization of women anymore.
I went to some of the best schools in South Africa and my parents spent a lot of money on my education. Furthermore, I came from a family of strong and educated women who are Scientists, Journalists and Entrepreneurs. However, when I would go to shoots or sets, I would be treated like furniture. I went from being able to have an opinion to, people reacting if I spoke a word when I wasn’t supposed to. Unless you have experienced this, it is hard to fathom. It’s hard to believe that in 2019, women are still being treated the way that we are. However, denying that it is a problem will not help us solve this problem. There is undoubtedly a culture of sexualizing women on a grand scale that feeds into the representation of women. That is why it disheartens me when men in The Entertainment Industry only have women who are close-to-naked in their videos, social media and public representation- it would be nice to see interpretations of women who are clothed and beautiful too. Sending the message that a woman is only valuable when she is naked and being used as a prop is dangerous. There is a difference between a Singer choosing to be naked and one who is forced to be, in order to sell. And, as someone who has been in The Industry, I can assure you that most of these women are being forced and pressured to be naked in order to sell in fear of being dropped by their label or a contract.
The Wellness Industry has shown me that women can serve many roles that they create for themselves; not what society has pressured us to be.
3. Health is my first priority.
I can’t tell you how many times I have been offered drugs on a shoot or set and after declining, the person (who offered it to me) refuses to work with me again. I worked closely with a Producer who would try and coerce me into taking drugs and I would refuse his offer, over and over. It got to the point where I felt disrespected because he would make me seem naïve and immature for saying ‘no’ to taking drugs. The ‘party scene’ is a big moneymaker for The Industry and, in general, people who say no to drugs or the party lifestyle are seen as boring, a buzzkill and are often not booked again or chosen to work with on a future project. I gave up needing to prove that I was not judgmental or stuck up for choosing to be healthy and careful about the direction that my life is headed in. Now, I always choose health and surround myself with people who support my decision because that decision is not easy to make, particularly around people who tell you that it’s a dumb choice to make.