I was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The second of four children. After school I went to the University of Port Elizabeth to study Psychology although my true passion was always music, art & fashion. I quickly realised that psychology was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, so after my first year I decided to drop my studies and go to London to pursue my true passion. The aim was to attend as many fashion shows as I could and learn as much as possible about the industry, but I also had to make a living at the same time. During this time I had 2 jobs, working double shifts at Starbucks in Windsor and then bum a lift to my 2nd job where i was working for dressing room assistant at Zara in High Street. During my time at Zara I really started understanding what people liked and it grew my love for fashion even more.
After being in London for 2 years, I visited Bangkok for a brief while to see where most of the manufacturers are in the clothing and designing industry. I came back to Cape Town in 2007 and started out as an entrepreneur in clothing and photography. Right after coming back I was approached by Red Bull South Africa to be their head sales representative for the Western Cape. While finding my feet and learning about the business I received the award for top sales representative and a certificate in business & marketing. For a busy body like me I took up modelling under mentorship of International model Christina Storm. I worked as a photographic model and did campaigns for brands like Remy Martin and Strawberries & Cream while pursuing one of my dreams. To understand the fashion industry better I attend the International School of Design twice a week for 4 months focusing on clothing designing.
I was still with Red Bull during all of this and got promoted in August 2009 to go and work in New York. I was extremely excited by the opportunity and accepted it immediately, but shortly after my job offer I found out that I was expecting twins. It’s very hard to explain, the emotions where all over, I was thinking about being mom, my career, being a photographic model, as if I lost everything but at the same time being so excited about the twins being on their way and becoming a mom. 2010 Arrived and I became a mom to the most 2 beautiful boys Jay-Dee & Kalum on the 30th of March.
This started a brand new chapter in my life. The shock of motherhood, it was beyond crazy, if I had to describe it in one word – HECTIC. I had to adapt to being a mom who also still wanted to follow her dreams and make things happen. I chose to commit to being the best mom I could be and put my passion for the clothing industry on the back burner, only focusing on it part time. I said my goodbyes to Red Bull and this is were my most difficult time started. I Was physically and emotionally abused by the biological father of the twins. Just thinking about it brings back so many feelings, it’s absolutely indescribable.
I Quickly realised that the best way to cope with everything happening in my life I would have to stand up for myself, have my own rules and not accept the situation I found myself in. Sitting back and waiting for opportunities to come back my way was no option and I decided that if I really wanted something and if I wanted to change my situation I would have to go out and do it. It was hard being in an abusive relationship and trying to keep a family together and also trying to keep my dreams alive while making money. Being between rich people who have no respect for others also made me realise that this was not something I wanted in my life. My values changed, the way I interacted with others changed, I wanted to be different and I wanted to stand out and show people I could rise above my situation. But when times are tough its much easier said than done.
After everything I went through I got the one call I never wanted to get on 24 May 2014. My only idol, the person that was my everything, my father had passed away. I don’t even want to describe the feeling. 2014 was one of the most difficult years of my life, the loss of a father, being there for my family, trying to build a new career, being a mom, having a new high profile attorney boyfriend was not easy, but I was determined to make it work. 2015 came around and I decided to push ahead from where I left off. I was more focused and determined than ever. I started a new venture, opening my own beauty salon in Cape Town called Sublime Studio. I wanted to be different and stand out from the crowd and was the first South African salon to have stand-up sunbeams imported from Sweden. I really missed the modelling and decided to get back into it. That year I became a Top 10 finalist for Maxim USA. The salon was doing great and I was awarded with having the most beautiful salon in South Africa by Beauty & Style Magazine. 2017 Came around and I was off again to see the trends of fashion in Paris, and to pursue my dream of having my own label.
On this phenomenal trip I got engaged right next to the eiffel tower in Paris to my husband Olof.
When I got back to South Africa I started to lineup my suppliers and manufacturers in Paris. I decided it would be better to close Sublime Studio which was doing very well, and it was the right time for me to move on and focus on what I have always wanted to do which was designing. 2018 January I launched Lady G and it did not take very long to gain followers from all over the world. Lady G is my personal brand, who I am, and everything I stand for in life. You could say this is my alter ego, people started knowing me as Lady G. Lady G is a brand about being a mom, a business woman, sharing my stories of hope to inspire people and make them realise that anyone can make it.
I am now officially launching my own brand label called Chandre & Co. My designs have already been seen in Zara stores in London. Chandre & Co aims to be a brand that is different, with our target market being professionals between 25 and 45 years old. With some exciting meetings underway we are set to hit the market in New York and the other parts of Europe in 2020. Chandre & Co will also be expanding in 2020 with a very exciting make-up range under the brand. My makeup brand is still the secret that everyone is waiting to see, I don’t want to say too much except for “watch this space”. If everything goes to plan we will be launching in Paris, London & Cape Town in March 2020.
The other brand I am currently working on is called Fiora. Fiora is a imported rose collection in the most trendy colours that last up to 18 months with no water. Fiora will be supplying high-end product to corporate companies, hotels, restaurants and private functions like weddings so brides who invest in their floral arrangements can enjoy their flowers for a lot longer than a couple of weeks after their wedding. This is beyond anything that I have ever seen in South Africa, and we aim to keep the brand very trendy and exclusive.