My Journey As A Plus-Size Model In South Africa

Who am I?

Hello!! My name is Refiloe Hope Matsaung, and I am from South Africa. I am a 24 year old plus-size model from Mmotong village, just outside Polokwane Limpopo.

Throughout my life, I have struggled to find opportunities to live out my passion… modeling! Fashion shows have turned me down because I am “too chubby,” or “too short.” The fashion industry does not offer many good opportunities for for people my size, and people from my demographic as well. I grew up poor, which meant my family never had the money to buy me cute clothes or trendy outfits, which put another roadblock in my path to becoming a model.

Because of the struggles I have faces, I have made it my goal to be a voice for others who have faced the some problems that I went through. People of all shapes and sizes should be able to live out their dreams, and I no have a platform to help others realize that. I truly believe that there are thousands of people with high levels of talent for modeling, but they are never able to break out onto the scene because they don’t pass the “eye-test.”

I have been able to surpass some of these hurdles with the use of the most powerful tool available to our generation – social media. Instagram has given me a platform to grow my following and start accepting opportunities I never could have dreamed of!

How I built my following

I built my following through advocating for body positivity, and taking part in lingerie shoots. My targer audience is people who have faced been told they are “too chubby,” or “not attractive enough.” These people need to know that they are able to accomplish whatever they want, and every person is special in their own way.

In addition, lots of my followers struggle with low self esteem, just like myself. By building each other up, we can create a community of confident individuals who can live out their dreams. 

My advice to you

You have probably heard it a million times before, but the key to building a following on social media is consistency. Be confident in the content that you have, and continue making it available to your loyal following, no matter how big or small they are right now.

Another piece of advice is to make your page as clean/organized as possible. Think about it – how many times have you seen a page on social media and thought to yourself, “Wow this page is beautiful, you can tell lots of work went into it.” On the flip side, how many pages have you seen that are an absolute mess? Treat your social media like your career, because someday it very well could be!


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Plus-size model, God-fearing woman I love to travel, food and having fun

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