Celeb edition with Melino Carl

Leungo Mokgwathi

Melino Carl turns heads wherever she goes.

Thanks to her unique style and unwavering self-belief, the 24-year-old stunner has overcome the haters to position herself as one of the country’s top catwalk models.

Read on to learn more about her journey…

Kindly introduce yourself.

I am the one and only, Tlotlang Melino Rantsimako, popularly known as Melino Carl.

I am a 24-year-old Transgender model and aspiring international supermodel.

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I am what most would call undefeated, despite past traumas and harsh life experiences.

Harsh life experiences such as?

There’s a lot!

People can automatically hate on you for who you are.

I have been assaulted and even denied job opportunities because of my uniqueness.

On your social media bio, you describe yourself as an androgynous runway model – what exactly does that means?

An androgynous model is someone who is different and unique, but if you’re googling it, you will get: ‘Androgynous model is someone who is partly male and partly female in appearance’.

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So how do you identify?

My pronouns are She/Her.

At what stage of your life did you realise your uniqueness?

From a very young age, I knew I was different.

I remember other kids used to pass funny remarks, pointing out small things such as the way I talk, walk and my interests.

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How difficult was it embracing your true self in an environment as conservative as Botswana’s?

Embracing myself was really difficult because of the societal stigma; I also did not understand why I was different.

However, meeting other models like myself helped me better understand and accept myself.

You mentioned that you’re transgender, have you had any procedures done?

Not yet.

I am yet to have that surgery which will transform me into who I want to be.

Let’s talk about family. How supportive have they been throughout your journey?

Well, the support is there but not that much – but I appreciate them!

What inspired you to be a fashion model?

From a young age, I have always been obsessed with fashion.

I was drawn to fashion looks that were out of this world and just different from what you will get in your typical retail outlet.

The runway afforded me the chance to rock those extravagant looks and showcase my talents as well.

What has been the standout moment of your career so far?

There have been so many exciting and life changing moments, but the greatest is definitely last year’s Gabs July.

Can you believe that I got to walk for the one and only David Tlale!

He is one of the biggest fashion designers in the continent so it was a huge honour.

What goes through your mind when strutting your stuff on stage?

When I am walking the runway, with cameras flashing and lights focused on me, the only thing on my mind is to be the greatest I have ever been.

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I always want every walk to be better than my previous one.

The aim is to also bring fire, but most importantly have fun while doing what I love.

How do you prepare for the runway as well as photoshoots?

Thank God for the internet!

I rely on it a lot because that’s mostly where I get inspiration for shoots that are similar to mine.

I learn poses, facial expressions, as well as how to put together extraordinary outfits.

From there, I come up with my own vision for the gig.

For the runway, I usually train in both cardio exercises and train in heels to perfect my walk.

Let’s talk representation in the local fashion industry. What’s it like?

Truth be told, the local industry is becoming more inclusive as it grows, which is exciting to see.

There is always room for improvement, however, we are getting there.

If you could be dressed by one designer who would it be?

I am patiently waiting for that day when I get to work with South African fashion artist, Gert-Johan Coetzee.

Who are your go-to makeup artists and photographers?

Raymond Geofrey and Pearl’s Makeover, but most of the time I do my own makeup.

There are moments when a person feels low and alone. How do you keep yourself strong in those moments?

Music is my remedy, as well as playing netball.

What advice would you give to aspiring models?

Be as authentic as you can, and always strive to be better than the person you were yesterday.

What are your hobbies outside of rocking heels?

Netball, Makeup and Hairdressing.

Five things people don’t know about you?

1. I can dance
2. I am a safe space, really friendly
3. I don’t know how to cook (laughing)
4. I am jolly
5. I love pasta

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