30-year-old radio and television personality, MC and businesswoman, Hulisani Ravele shares how has been building a brand to be reckoned since a young age, and her success tips to young people
You started your career in the entertainment industry at the tender age of 9, was this your dream career when you were young and how did that opportunity come about?
When I was 9 entertainment wasn’t really a career, I just loved the arts. I was an active child and participated in both sporting and cultural activities including drama and choir. How I got onto TV is really a story of a mother wanting to fulfil her child’s nagging and fate, lol! My mom says every time the taxi drove past the SABC I would ask her when she’s taking me there. She then asked her sister, my aunt, how she could go about fulfilling her child’s dream to go to the SABC and as fate would have it my aunt was back opposite neighbours with Tsholofelo Wechoemang, she was on Kideo at the time. My aunt got her agent’s contact details, I then joined that agency, Professional Kids, and as they say, the rest is history.
What prompted the decision to move from entertainment to the corporate environment? Please share some of the challenges and lessons you have learned throughout your journey in corporate?
I always had corporate ambitions growing up, a career in entertainment wasn’t the plan. So I pursued my studies and proceeded into the corporate world. I took away many lessons from that time in my life, the most important was finding your passion and have the courage to pursue it because there are e lot of people who are just going through life and not truly living because they hate what they do and they do it just because it pays the bills.
You have crafted your career as a presenter, radio personality, MC, voice-over artist and now, a businesswoman, share with us how you’ve built an incredible income portfolio such as this and who do you credit your success to?
Honestly, it’s a combination of God’s grace and the values, such as a strong work ethic, that was instilled in me by my family. I’ve also been very conscious of never being a jack-of-all-trades but master of none, so within each “role” I fulfill or portray, I work hard at being excellent at it. I’m a perfectionist by nature, so that works for me (and against at times, lol), but I strongly believe and know I have an innate nature of excellence and wanting to do well in anything and everything that I do.
Please define what success means to you?
Simply put, success for me is achieving a desired outcome. It’s setting a goal, no matter how big or small, setting in motion actions to achieve it, and then completing or reaching that goal.On a soul and wholeness level, success for me is being at peace with your decisions and where they have brought you to.
Another definition I love is one I heard when I was interviewing Penny Lebyane once, she said: “Success is wanting to do it again,” and I agree.
Do you have mentors in your life, how have they contributed to your career growth and how important do you think it is for one to have a mentor for career and business guidance?
I have a of set individuals whom I turn to for advice and to bounce things off, these are family mentors, peer mentors, spiritual mentors, industry mentors, business mentors. They all fulfill different purposes. They offer me a safe space to share where I’m at in life and where I want to go. Their contributions over the years have been invaluable. They offer an outside perspective, an experienced perspective, and where necessary they interrogate my plans and ideas (which is sometimes not the best feeling but I know it’s necessary).
I believe mentors are important, I just don’t think it has to be a particular individual nor does it have to be someone you know personally. Some of my mentors are people who have no idea I exist but I follow their careers and lives and take learnings from their journey. For me, the mentor and mentee relationship should be a natural progression and not a forced thing that necessarily requires titles. Find your person/people and start learning. I think many young people stop at the stumbling block of “I don’t have a mentor” and that can’t be the excuse for not getting on with it and finding other avenues to gain guidance and advice.
What is the best career advice you have received that you still apply to your hustle?
There’s always something to learn, even in an undesirable situation or employment or partnership. Open yourself up to the lesson.
Tell us about your new business venture, Studio MoMa, what is the story behind the name of the business and why did you venture into a grooming/ beauty sector?
I joined Studio MoMa after it had been operating for more than a year. The founding partner, Mpho Sedibe, named the business. This is a business that was birthed of the spirit and operates on that belief and basis, and so, as God is the potter of this vision, a potter works in a ‘Studio’. The ‘MoMa’ part represents Mpho’s familial names, based on a belief that you should tie your name, your belonging, to anything you’re a part of.
Why I ventured into the sector? Well, one thing I’ve learnt from observing the many individuals who inspire and mentor me, some from a distance like Oprah, is the importance of diversifying your streams of income and wealth whilst always remaining true to who you are.
I believe in taking care of yourself from the inside out, and that the outside glow up is really a reflection of the internal self-love that’s going on. So joining Studio MoMa as a partner made sense.
You’ve been sharing that you want your own television show and had bumps along the way, what keeps you going when you come across challenges and when things don’t go your way?
The fact that I know it’s my Destiny. I know that I know that I know. It’s hard to explain but those who understand Destiny, those who understand their calling, and those that have found purpose in their work get it. You just know, and that makes the “bumps” easier to accept because you know they have a very intentional purpose, they aren’t just happening nje to delay you.
How do you unwind and what is your favourite traveling destination and why?
I love watching series! Time on the couch doing nothing and just getting up to feed me are my favourite days, lol! I also love reading. I enjoy time out on the golf course but I wish I played golf a lot more, my poor clubs are just hanging out, but I’ll get there.
Favourite destinations? I have a great love for Cape Town, I don’t know what it is, but I always leave there refreshed and happy. Maybe it’s because it was one of the first destinations I ever flew too, so maybe that’s the affinity, on a subconscious level. I also love any destination with the ocean, I love the sound and sight of water (but I’m scared of going on cruises!)
As a young person hustling for her dreams what would say is the biggest lesson you have learned about building a brand and making a success of yourself?
First, I prefer the word building my dreams than hustling, semantics, I know, but ja. My biggest lesson has really been in how I run my finances and cash flow and just being careful and mindful of how I do that. Even though I’m a freelancer, I now run myself as a business and pay myself a set salary no matter if I earn R10 or R100 in a particular month.
Lessons about building a brand, the more you are authentically yourself, the less it will feel like you’re building something you need to live up to. Just be you and those that gravitate towards your brand do, and those that don’t, don’t. And that’s ok.
What would you say are things you have ‘failed’ at, what is your relationship with failure and how does one transform their setbacks into comebacks?
I’ve failed at managing my money well at various points in my life. I believe failure is an opportunity to try again and do better. Transforming a setback into a comeback starts with a choice to do so, a choice to not be defined by the failure.
What are your success tips to young people who want to venture into different industries they are passionate about and especially those who feel discouraged about not seeing their career dreams come to fruition?
For every one image of success you see, there are probably a hundred failures you don’t, so just run your own race. Success does not come overnight nor will it fall into your lap, you have to willing to work hard for it.
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Image sources: Instagram