Would you do a “playboy” shoot? “A big YEBO!” says 22-year old Soweto based model, Tebogo Ngakane. Posing in a risqué shoot, stripping off and baring all is for many models not exactly a comfortable experience, whatever the context. But for her, posing nude is an empowering experience.

She pushes boundaries in every shoot that she does and says nude shoots can have a positive effect on women: ” Personally, it never really bothers me, but I can see how it might be confronting for some. It makes me feel very womanly and empowered,” she says.

Tebogo Ngakane

Nudity can bring an erotic, sensual or emotional edge to a photograph and as such, it has become such a popular theme in high fashion. “I’m the most comfortable in my own skin. Besides creating beautiful images and giving me a full-time career, posing nude has helped me grow both as a model and as a person. It’s my way of showing diversity and sexiness. Models are definitely expected to be comfortable being naked. A lot of the time you are expected to change in front of people on set, be comfortable stripping off in line while changing looks. Most of the time people are pretty considerate but in saying that, you are expected just to get on with it and do your job and make it fast,” she says.

But Tebogo does different types of modelling, not just nudes. She is inspired by Somali born fashion model, actress and entrepreneur – Iman. “I’ve been a model for as long as I can remember and have always loved fashion and looking different. I have found power in fashion. I admire and respect her Iman so much. I think she’s just perfect,” she says.

She has worked with some of the South African and International brands. “I work with lots of photographers and do a lot of travelling. But I want to work with as many photographers, brands and collaborate with other models too,” says Tebogo. 

When asked what she wouldn’t do when it comes to modelling, she said: “Settling for less when it comes to my craft and allowing people to bring me down. NEVER!” she says.

However, she points out challenges that she encounters in the industry. “I’m passionate about modelling and it is what I do for a living. There is nothing as disheartening as being booked for a shoot and not getting paid for it. Also, photographers can be very degrading towards models and if you aren’t strong enough, you will never make it. Don’t allow fear to be your worst enemy,” she says.