Up-and-coming actress Solar is spreading love and light through wellness and easy-going style
Words: Afrika Lethabo Bogatsu | Photographer: John Baloyi
East Rand-born, Joburg-based blogger, influencer and up-and-coming actress Itumeleng "Solar" Modise is passionate about wellness and is on a lifelong journey towards peace and contentment through self-awareness.
It's this that has inspired her nickname, Solar, and if you follow her on Instagram you'll agree that her gorgeous images and motivational quotes are as illuminating.
Much like her personality Itumeleng style is a ray of light, and at the same time chilled and easy-going, She appreciates clothes that are flowing and feminine, but also likes to play with tomboyish looks depending on how she's feeling on the day. Solar wants her clothes to make her feel like they were made just for her, and she loves the fact that she can get this on the cheap by thrifting. A Moschino denim jacket that she bought for 50 bucks is just one her most prized possessions, and something she plans on wearing for the rest of her life.
"I'm not a brand conscious person. I just like beautiful clothing. Kerata diaparo tsenhle."
Whether Solar is working on her own personal projects (most likely with her partner Jay Teja), attending events in the city or hanging out with friends, real life influences her style, which isn't necessarily as glamorous as some may think.
"I go to a lot of auditions and that influences how I dress. Sometimes I have to dress up for a character that I'm auditioning for. It's usually something like 'cool, funky girl.'"
A big fan of the headwrap, a regular in her #OOTD, beyond it being a gorgeous accessory it's also great for bad hair days and has a deeper cultural meaning.
"There are a number of reasons why women choose to cover their heads. Growing up as an African woman, covering your head is a sign of respect and modesty. It's strange because it's kind of supposed to hide your beauty in a way, because hair is seen as a big part of a woman's beauty, but it enhances it in a significant way, too."
It's this very openness and raw honesty that makes Solar so influential and relatable to her Instagram followers, sharing her experiences in an honest way that sometimes shows her vulnerability.
"I share things people don't always think about sharing, or don't know how to share. We often go through similar things, yet we don't know how to express ourselves when it comes to these experiences and lessons."
It's this ability that's helped Solar keep a clear vision of her purpose in life. That and her reverence for Oprah Winfrey.
"I'd love to have my own production company one day, and host a talk show that addresses a lot of the same issues that she did. I want to inspire people and help them heal."
When asked about her thoughts on influencer culture in relation to wellness, Solar struggles at first to find an answer, but eventually says that it's necessary for the sake of representation.
"Kids need relatable people that they can look up to, a place to belong when they go online. Someone who says 'I get you'." However she's critical of lack of authenticity. "To a certain extent a lot of influencing isn't real, and it can come off as pretentious."
Ultimately Solar hopes to use her influence to inspire and motivate people on their own journey, helping them to understand that wellness isn't a destination but rather a process of growth and progress.