talks to Iyanda263
One thing that Covid has taught us, which is to not have to physically meet to get things done, and recently I virtually met up with Namibia based Fashion stylist, beauty enthusiast, MC, Event coordinator who in my opinion is a pioneer in the African LGBTI movement and a Forbes 30 under 30 class of 2022. Reinhard is a cross dressing fashion lover who is known for statement pieces during events like Durban July, The Met, Miss SA to name but a few. If this is not greatness then clearly the definition must be rewritten. Let’s dive into these questions so you guys can understand what I’m talking about.
I grew up in the dusty streets of Keetmanshoop, based in the southern region of Namibia. Raised by my grandmother Rietha Katzao. I had the best years as a teen, I could freely express myself through fashion and dancing. For me I think I always knew I was different and I embraced my sexuality since I was a kid, I was ambitious and inquisitive, always had a positive outlook on life, I was a big dreamer. As a young boy, my dream was and still is to be a television presenter I would always volunteer to MC at school and community events and I was in every extra mural activity and sports code in school. I would organise beauty pageants in my residential area, I am equally passionate about event planning and empowering woman as I am about fashion and being in the public eye.
Fashion and Lifestyle Inspiration
I always wanted to be a fashion designer, but I ended up studying Journalism and Communication Technology, graduated on my birthday- 27 April 2018.I work at FirstRand Namibia as a Human Resources Coordinator. My life and careers are centered around people and giving remarkable service. I launched my Reinhard Mahalie Fashion styling on 27 April 2016. My destiny was to always work in fashion and I love every bit of it.
I played and had the eye for fashion since I could remember. My personal style is masculine feminine. Over the years my style has evolved and I now like dramatic, colourful, head turning and memorable looks. My style is forward thinking, unique and different.
Challenges faced as an LGBTI person in fashion in Namibia
it’s hard to get sponsorships for events, that my friend and I host – The Fashion Soirée. It’s an independent afterparty we host during our annual fashion week in Namibia. I believe corporates in Namibia do not want to associate themselves with brands or individuals who openly express their sexuality or cross dress, unless you are a comedian or do skits. The truth of the matter is, need corporate backing in Namibia, since we are a segregated country. So, I always build my own stage and chase my dreams, no matter the circumstance I face as a queer in Namibian.
Celebrity style you admire?
Cate Blanchett and Bonang Matheba.
Best celebrity you’ve worked with?
Definitely Maps Maponyane, he is so regal and easy to dress. Also, one of my career highlights. I was always inspired by his sense of fashion the grace and humility he carries and his energy is contagious.
Who would you like to work with in future (local and international)
My dreams collabs would be DJ Zinhle, Bonang Matheba, Mercy Eke and internationally Beyonce Knowles Carter and Nicki Minaj. They are all so divinely beautiful with a strong work ethic. Any clients God sways my way happens for a reason as well, that’s what makes what I do so exciting and challenging.
Which stylists do you get inspiration from and would you like to work with?
My current favorites stylist are, Tiannah Styling, Swanky Jerry both from Nigeria and Maeve Reilly. I would love to work with them, they are great at what they do.
A day in your life
I wake up very early, say my morning prayers then I do my skincare take a shower eat and leave for work. Once at work I like to check in with my fashion styling clients between free hours and go fabric shopping or pulling garments for clients. Then after work I work out or go for a jog do a bit of research then plan for the next day. My days are different and always changing, especially on weekends when I have to attend events or dress clients. I put in a lot of work on my styling jobs because nothing is more fulfilling than seeing my clients happy and beautiful knowing I did that.
You do a lot of glam for events and stuff, take me through a day when you’re preparing for an event?
My planning and organizing kicks in every glam event. I wake up at 07:30, have light breakfast, shower, leave home by 09:00 for hair and start with make up by 11:00. Getting dressed by 13:00, shooting content for social media by 14:30, do final hair and make-up refresher by 16:00 we should be departing for the event to be in time for red carpet interviews.
Talk us through Forbes 30 under 30. What does that mean for you, what has changed since, what are you hoping for from that?
Listen! That was the best moment and achievement in my whole life, i will always treasure and uphold my listing on Forbes Africa 30 under 30 as a notable highlight in my career. This proved to me that your dreams are valid and the world is watching, keep working and producing quality content. I hope for more brand endorsement deals in South Africa and Africa at large, of course styling more clients local and internationally. I am working on getting management as well. Forbes listing really helped me boost my business with my client database growing day by day. I hope my listing inspired anyone that ever felt being marginalised in whichever aspect won’t take you far, it’s possible I am a living testimony.
What would you say to a 12-year-old you?
Keep going your mindset is where it’s supposed to be. Your competitive and humble spirit will take you far. Don’t worry about the future too much.
Where to from here?
Sharing my knowledge through masterclasses and lifestyle-based YouTube videos. Styling international clients, giving back to the community that natured me through goodwill projects. Hopefully relocate to South Africa and add value to the market over there and in Africa as a whole.
Always trust your gut, let your drive and determination be your beacon of success, stay positive, be ready to cross multiple hurdles to come to the finish line.
Please follow Reinhard on Instagram @reinhardmahalie to follow his African Domination journey.