26 year-old Phumza Tiya, a Johannesburg based part time model and digital marketing freelancer, has been chosen as Wonderbra’s 2018 South African brand icon.
Phumza has won a modelling contract and prizes worth R150,000 including lingerie, Lipault handbags and luggage, Gerald Wells and Dermalogica’s Splush haircare and skincare, a Fastjet magazine cover shoot at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge and Zando shopping vouchers, as well as business mentorship, social media influencer training and spokesperson training for her personal brand.
The extremely interactive competition ran between January and March this year. Each month, three semi-finalists were chosen – two by a panel of judges and the third by popular social media vote.
Andreas Henkel, commercial executive for Hanes South Africa which manufactures the Wonderbra lingerie range in South Africa, said that it had been extremely difficult to choose between the finalists.
Phumza will be featured on Wonderbra’s packaging, promotional materials and advertising. Although this is the first time in nearly 10 years that the world’s leading push up brand has gone public in its search for a brand icon, she nevertheless follows a very proud tradition.
“Phumza is now part of a proud South African and international tradition. We are truly local in all we do and design, develop and manufacture almost all our products in South Africa. At the same time, we are backed by a strong, quality-oriented global brand. The icon search is another example of how we value and are committed to developing our own talent,” Henkel said.
As far back as 1994, Wonderbra made headlines with its global Hello Boys campaign featuring supermodel Eva Herzigova. The brand then went local with the beautiful Kerry McGregor as its first Wonderbra icon. She was followed by, amongst others, Lieschen Botes and Elbie van der Merwe.
“I entered the icon search because I believed would open up new opportunities for me as a model whilst also allowing me to grow and be more confident in what I do. It will help me to teach other young women like me to believe in their unique beauty,” says Phumza who is extremely excited about her win and the year ahead.
Born in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, she is the first born in a family of three who she says were raised by an incredible mother.
She matriculated from St John’s College in Mthatha. After a gap year, she moved to Tshwane (Pretoria) where she enrolled for Media studies at Boston Media House.
“Being raised at a small town with limited dreams, I always knew that I needed to think beyond the immediate and never limit myself and my mind. So, whilst studying, I developed undying love for modelling. I had grown up in a society that had always pointed out my skin tone and exotic look. That never bothered me because I had always believed I was beautiful,” she explains.
Ambitious, open minded, hardworking and a go-getter, Phumza loves positive people and fashion and says she is always searching for more in life.
“I draw a lot of inspiration from my mother and how she is constantly fighting to better her life. I also look up to all kinds of women who are confident about who they are and what they want from life, women who strive for nothing less than success,” she explains.