Workout better, dress sharper and make time for yourself to have your best year yet
The 19-year-old spent his gap year modelling, which went so well that he's decided to do more of the same for 2019.
Why fix something that's not broken? Like the other parts of his life, as soon as Tommy has given something some thought he follows up by executing on it immediately. Which is why instead of any lofty New Years resolutions come January 1st he's already been putting his goals into practice for months now.
"I have started making positive changes to my life where I'm consciously partying less, working out more and am just generally trying to be healthier. Yes, they're the usual clichéd resolutions, but these are so popular because they're the type of thing that make people more successful. I know that doing this will really help with my modelling, that's why I'm not going to wait until New Years to start. As soon as I'd made up my mind to focus on these things I started implementing them immediately."
This is all obviously a lot more difficult when you're on the cusp of adulthood, travelling overseas and being exposed to all the glamour and vices that the industry affords. Tommy's biggest challenge then is practicing strict self-discipline.
"I start every day with a 5km run outdoors, then different bodyweight exercises, usually sets of pull ups and pushups with lots of variations and different exercises for the core, and I also do transcendental meditation every day."
With benefits that include less anxiety, stronger willpower and more self-discipline, Tommy stresses how taking care of his mental health is just as important as building a better body. The same goes for his style and the way he chooses to package this much more awesome version of himself.
"I like to think that I'm the type of guy who has effortless style. Black jeans, denim jacket, boots... Because I'm not wearing lots of different pieces and accessories I can invest in the best I can afford and wear the same things over and over again. It's just a matter of updating your wardrobe with some fresh T-shirts at the beginning of the year and you're sorted."
A second-year UCT student studying astrophysics and applied mathematics, Thembani is an extremely self-aware young man who believes that he can do anything and get anything he wants.
"There's something called the equation of creation – thought plus feeling is equal to creation – where whatever you think about, you need to hold onto that feeling and the universe will manifest it. That way you get whatever you want."
Which is why Thembani has already designed a cover for the album he wants to put out in the new year, without having even learned to rap yet. He's not phased by this though, and says that he's just waiting for Offset to drop his new album from which he'll take a lot of his inspiration from.
"When he raps there's a fire, there's a message, he makes you feel things and I like feeling things. Trap uses the law of repetition where you repeat something so that it gets imprinted into your subconscious mind, which is the most powerful thing in the universe. It's like Lil Pump repeating 'Gucci Gang' over and over again and now he has everything he was putting out."
And while Thembani isn't embarrassed to admit that he still has a lot to learn, he says that he knows what subject matter he'll work with, and will repeat his goals and dreams so that he can feel whatever it is he's putting out when he raps. That all he needs to do is to work hard and believe in the universe. Trust the process. After all, he is the only person in charge of his destiny.
Having spent a portion of his life walking designer suits down the runways of the fashion capitals of the world, Damien learnt lessons in style that weren't available to a technically-minded boy from Kimberly. He's applied these fashion rules to his life ever since, and even though he's still much more of a petrolhead than a fashion guy, he understands that good style starts with the fit.
"You can't be uncomfortable in what you're wearing. So whatever you buy, make sure it fits and if not then get it tailored. Everybody's body is different. If your clothes fit well you'll feel good in them."
As a man who can be found in anything from jeans and a T-shirt to overalls to a suit, Damien's learned that if you dress well people tend to take you more seriously. And as a businessman he understands how clothing can be used to show people respect and that there's a psychology to what you chose to wear. "You can present yourself as someone with his head screwed on right, just by the way you're dressed."
Is there anything that Damien likes to wear when he needs to instantly lift his mood?
"My motocross gear. You put that on and you feel like a gladiator ready to go to battle. I'll be wearing a lot more of it in the new year. I'm definitely going to put aside more time to ride, to work out and get fit.I want to be training at CrossFit three days a week and riding motocross twice a week. Being fit's important. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind where the alternative is letting yourself go. Giving up."
Damien stresses how important it is to make time for the things that are important to you. That it's difficult staying dedicated and the real resolution isn't getting fit but being strict about how you use your time.
"I plan to wake up earlier to be at the gym by 6, train for an hour and then it's back home so I can take the kids to school. Once that's out of the way I don't have to worry about exercise because it's done."
The RnB singer known as Sellah was born in the States and raised all over the world by diplomat parents. Living in Japan, Korean, Germany, Canada, Hawaii and now South Africa, Michael considers himself a sort of gypsy with a mindset of "if you don't like something change it." Which goes for self-improvement as much as it does his surroundings.
"I didn't feel handsome, I thought I was too all-American, clean cut, cookie cutter… I felt basic. My tattoos were a way to give me confidence. To differentiate myself and stand out. They've really helped me exert my identity."
Michael's tattoos include numerous triangles – which he believe are the connection between mind, body and soul – as well as various esoteric symbols that keep away the darkness. Through these pieces and growing as a man he's learned to embrace who he is and how he looks, and today he's proud of who he is and how he looks to the point where he'll walk around set shirtless on a packed set without the same insecurities he might've had in the past.
"I'm not like black power or anything, but the world doesn't do a great job of making black men feel beautiful. Working in entertainment I've been told no because of my height or my colour, and that depressed me, but I'm now at a point where I realise I can't change anything and I'm embracing who I am. Self-care for me is self-love."
This extends to caring for himself and giving his body the respect it deserves. As a former university basketball star Michael gave up the sport to focus on his singing and without the formalised training has had to make a point of incorporating his own workouts into his daily routine wherever he finds himself.
"I had to find ways to workout without actually going to a gym. So I do home workouts like handstand pushups, incline pushups, decline pushups, variations of pull ups... and then I run. That keeps me ripped. I'm in the best place ever. 2019 is going to be my year."
A university student studying international business management, it was while doing an internship in South Africa that Gideon got scouted and is now here living the dream.
"I am living my best life. Every day I wake up with a smile. People were always going to look at me anyways, and I was actually more self-conscious of how skinny I was than my skin, but through hard work and dedication I've accomplished the vision of me that I have always had for myself."
Fitness is now Gideon's life, training six days a week and tracking his meals to see how different foods can change his workouts and body. Right now he's working on getting stronger without gaining more size, and he finds it fascinating how he's able to sculpt his body however he wants using food and exercise.
"I was very skinny. You look at old photos of me and you'll see that I look like a twig. So I started going to the gym and working out. But you can only see good results from the gym if you eat properly, and so I started working at my diet, adding and dropping foods. It's become an addiction where if I don't go for a day or two it affects my mood. If I'm not near a gym I'll train myself doing lunges, squats, crunches, pushups and other bodyweight exercises. This is a bare minimum and because I'm a fanatic I'll do that for about an hour and a half."
Although he's easily motivated and relishes every workout, Gideon says the power of new workout clothes is how he gets others to buy into his healthy lifestyle.
"A trick I tell people is to buy new workout clothes so that they want to wear it and don't want to waste the new gear. My closest is 80% workout gear because it's the stuff I wear the most. I'll wake up at 6 to jog, then go to the gym, then school and at break I'll maybe go to the gym again. I'm really addicted to it and so there's a lot of workout clothes in my closet. If I want to wear all black I can make up an outfit, if I feel like colour I can wear that, too. I do have to do lots of laundry though because I'm always sweating a lot."