Inspire Inclusion Models at Motsepe Foundation GEWAL Summit 2024

Inspire Inclusion: Models on Redefining Beauty Standards at GEWAL

Ranji Mangcu

The Motsepe Foundation’s Gender Equality, Wellness and Leadership (GEWAL) Summit, hosted annually on International Women’s Day, is a diverse gathering of women and men, coming together to find solutions and form meaningful connections through impact-driven platforms and projects.

Emphasis is placed on initiatives that enable women and girls to work towards eliminating, gender inequality and the severe economic imbalances that continue to negatively affect them. 

During the event, which had multiple panel discussions with leading figures in business, governance, philanthropy, and fashion; backstage was a hub of activity. Behind the scenes were models, hairstylists, make-up by our beauty partner, MAC Cosmetics and runway rehearsals, all in preparation for the  

The House of Nala by AFI “Inspire Inclusion” Fashion Show – a showcase of the “Made By Her, Worn By You” collection. This is a curation of pieces by the talented women designers.   


We spoke to the models and beauty crew about what inclusion means to them, and how fashion can continue to push the conversation forward.  

What's the biggest barrier to inclusivity in the fashion industry? 

Anthea: There is a huge barrier between what is expected and what a model’s “type” is. I think it is important to break all barriers and for there to be no boundaries when it comes to using people who are authentic in their style and people who can showcase who they are.   

Iwan: I would say it is the unrealistic beauty standards. I think society has created an ideal of beauty that is impossible to reach. And a moving target. Especially for a younger generation that follows trends and impulses that constantly evolve and change. I would say that embracing the beauty of everything as it is created is more of a way to standardize what beauty is, especially in the fashion industry.  

What would make you feel more included in the fashion industry?  

@africafashionint A look Behind the Scenes at this year’s #GEWALSummit Fashion Show with our beauty partner, @maccosmetics 💄✨🪩 #behindthescenes #bts #africanfashion #africa #fashiontiktok #beautytok #maccosmetics #makeup #runway #inspireinclusion #backstage #trends #GEWAL ♬ A cool song when a model walks the runway(1296390) - yui

Ivan Kgadi (Mac Cosmetics): The fashion industry is headed in the right direction. I already feel quite included, but we could do more by designing clothes that are inclusive to all genders. I’m not a believer of clothes being for specific genders. I believe that if you love something, it should be for you.  

Also, when it comes to size. I’m a very tiny little man… [fashion brands] can start designing from the smallest size to the biggest size so we can all be included in whatever we love.  

Jackson: When it comes to casting, the fashion industry tends to gravitate towards people of fair skin tones or dark skin tones… I would like it to explore more of the middle, and for people of my [medium brown] skin tone be able to showcase these brands and show what they’re about.  

What kind of content would you like to see more from fashion brands? 

Talia: More diversity! I want more people that look different, people who look like me and have a different type of beauty.  

What can consumers do to promote inclusivity in fashion? 


@africafashionint Behind the Scenes at Motsepe Foundation’s #GEWALSummit, AFI’s models and hairstylist spoke on the theme, #inspireinclusion. #behindthescenes #bts #africanfashion #fashiontiktok #hairtok #model #inclusivity #internationalwomensday #foryou #pourtoi ♬ Stylish African house Amapiano Afrobeats(1494538) - Ninja Muzik Tokyo


Aviwe: Support local brands. We know that is how the value chain works. If we are supporting local brands, [it means] they are employing people within our economy and, ultimately, we move forward.  

Who is a woman in fashion who inspires you? 

Jackson: Naomi Campbell. I’ve been watching her career throughout. I haven’t always wanted to be a model, but just looking at what she’s done through the industry and her impact as one of the first black supermodels. It’s rubber-stamped her status in the fashion industry.  

Talia: Rihanna. Bad Girl Riri. She has my heart. But I’m sure that’s everyone’s answer. 

What does #InspireInclusion mean to you in the context of fashion? 

Ivan: It’s always been about being included as a person in everything that happens in the beauty industry. Male grooming is very big right now, and I always feel included. I’m always about all races, all ages and all genders. I feel that everyone should be allowed to wear what they want, in terms of makeup as well as fashion. Then we can all live in today’s world and live in the trends of makeup and fashion. The way I want to dress, I should be allowed to dress like that. I’m inspired by people who break boundaries and rules to say “it is what it is, let’s all be included in everything”.   

Anthea: It means a lot to me. It’s for people that really need to showcase their beauty. A lot of people are so beautiful and are underrepresented because of their size, age or disability. It’s very important that we look at the diversity of everybody and I’d love to see that grow and grow in the fashion industry.  

Iwan: I definitely think it means feeling confident in your own skin. There is only one of you. There is only one of me. The more that we embrace that concept and stop comparing and despairing with other people, and just embracing whoever you are, what you are. That, for me, is the true spirit of beauty. 

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