Choma Rule Breaker: Thando Hopa
Thando Hopa is a successful 25-year-old legal eagle and model, and she is an albino. She suffers from a condition called albinism where her body is unable to produce melanin, the pigment that determines skin, eye and hair colour. Growing up in Soweto, with snowy skin and blonde hair, Thando didn’t look the same as everyone else and endured her fair share of teasing and torment. Her condition also weakened her eyesight making reading and learning difficult for her at school. Having to apply sunscreen every two hours and making sure she was always covered up to protect her pale skin from the sun, only added to her troubles. But tenacious at heart and with the support of her parents, Thando has become a rule breaker of note in defying the odds against her to find her shine.
Here are top five reasons why Choma loves rule breaker Thando Hopa:
- Beauty and brains: Thando has a law degree and is a prosecutor for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). Pretty cool, for a chick who struggled to read off the chalkboard at school.
- Confident and different: Her striking looks earned her a spot on the modelling ramp after being spotted by top SA fashion designer Gert-Johan Coetzee at a mall. She challenges the perception of beauty reminding us we all have our own beauty and uniqueness to celebrate.
- Leading the cause: While she has successfully managed to live with albinism, there are others who do not. Thando is using her own albinism to help talk out about the myths and hatred linked to the condition, especially in Africa.
- Passionate: With skincare being a major concern for Thando, it was a natural fit to become the face of skincare brand Vichy’s sunscreen range. She is passionate about helping to promote and educate people on the importance of skin health, no matter the colour of their skin.
- Self-motivated: Thando’s message to chomas is simply “Limitations can't define your will.” In other words, no matter what your obstacle or hardship, you can still find your spot in the sun and shine.
Let Thando’s story help light your way, chomas! Follow her on Twitter at @thando_hopa.
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