Nyeleti (whose name means Star in Tsonga) brightens up my Facebook timeline with her creative and bold hairstyles every time, which is refreshing and I appreciate her confidence!
A life of mediocrity would be an injustice to myself- I am a star!
She’s always been an expressive person as she got bitten by the acting bug at the age of 10 and vowed after completing her drama degree to make her dream of being an actress a top priority because she feels most alive when she’s on stage. She’s also a voracious reader and loves dancing to de-stress.
Read more about her below.
Where did you grew up?
I grew up in Soshanguve, Pretoria. My father was a Doctor and my mother was a Nurse. I’m the last of 3 children, and the only creative one in the bunch. My family of academics could not understand my passion for the arts, my parents wanted me to be a lawyer. I told them that my plan was to become the best actress in the country, and it was all their fault because they named me a star and it worked! Now their letting me pursue my dream.
When did you start doing creative hairstyles and what inspires you?
I started doing creative hairstyles in 2016. As an actress, I get most of my work from attending auditions. I was getting frustrated when I was going to audition after audition, but I was not getting booked. When I interrogated why this was happening, I realised that I looked like all the other girls I was auditioning with who had long, sleek weaves or long braids. No wonder why the casting directors did not remember me,I was blending in. I decided that in order to change this I would have to separate myself to stand out.
Do you agree/disagree that hair is part of your identity?
I agree that hair is a part of your identity, I don’t want to look like everybody else. My hair helps me stand out as an individual. I’m fearless, I’m quirky, I’m bold and my hair helps me to express myself.
What does owning your crown mean to you?
Owning my crown means that I can do and be whoever I want to be.
I don’t like rules and restrictions, I am an individual and I march to the beat of my own drummer. I make my own rules for my own life. My parents always taught me to be self-reliant so instead of following the herd, I want to lead the pack.
Any Summer hair trends you’re looking forward to try?
Colour! I want to experiment with different colours this summer. Yellows, purple, pink.. Anything that will make people stop and say ‘Who’s that girl?’
What would you change about the Hair industry?
Black girls need to embrace their beautiful hair! We need to stop obsessing and trying to look like the Kim Kardashians of the world. I look up to women like Grace Jones, Solange and Janelle Monae, they are not scared to push boundaries and try new things with their hair. They rock it short, long, braided… They are not boxed in by the long weave trend that has swallowed many African women.
Do you name your crowns?
No I don’t, but I’m thinking of trying that. A name for all my hairstyles, that could be interesting. I do have one hairstyle that my boyfriend named the Leti Nyovest, lol!
What’s the craziest comment you’ve received regarding your hair?
‘Who does she think she is??’
My 3 nieces call me Aunty Hair Queen, which I love!
Does your hairstyle influence your fashion and music?
Yes, definitely! When I have beads in my hair it makes me feel like an African queen, and my fashion will have a lot of African prints and an African feel. My favourite colour is red, so when I had my red braids I rocked red dresses to compliment my hair.
Who is your hairstylist?
I don’t have one hairstylist that does my hair. I hop around from salon to salon, and I’ve been very lucky that the ladies that do my hair always get my vision, and sometimes they add their own spice to make me look better. Its always collaborative which I like.
In your opinion do you think hairstyles reflect a person’s journey at that specific time?
Yes, I think so. When I first started dating my boyfriend, I had bright red braids. The braids perfectly reflected how I was feeling at the time, fiery, passionate and in love. The hair spoke to where I was in my life.
Besides hair, how else do you express yourself?
I’m an actress, I’m currently working on a one-woman show called ‘There’s a Zulu on my Stoepid Heart’, which I wrote and star in.
I also love to dance. Poetry also helps me spill out everything I’m feeling and I also love to sing but I’m not very good at it, lol.
Please share your work or social media handles
Facebook: Nyeleti (Leti) Ndubane