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Zona Mpendulo is the founder of dynamic image and beauty company, Anointed Beauty Za. Think special occasion make-up, image coaching, wardrobe styling, personal grooming, as well as etiquette training. “After years of working as a freelance make-up artist on the side, with many women asking for additional advice on all these other areas, it was only right that I get the necessary training and make it official,” she says.

Zona works with women of different ages, backgrounds and ethnic groups at pivotal stages in their lives. “I always feel honoured to be instrumental in getting them ready for these big transitions. From beginning new careers or positions or weddings and graduation,” she says.

Before beauty… The first big break…

Zona’s first job was as journalist and researcher for HIV/Aids and health activism organisation Community Media Trust, subcontractors to SABC Education. “Being part of that team set the tone for my career, not just as a journalist, but an activist for human rights and involvement in community uplifting and charitable projects,” she says.

Over the years she worked as a reporter in commercial radio, print journalist and now as government communications officer with the Department of Social Development. “This was an intentional move to be on the ‘doing’ side of development, instead of the receiving end. My duties in the department go far beyond the communication and branding tasks as I’m actively involved in the Women Empowerment Forum. This platform is tasked with ensuring gender equality, women empowerment and safeguarding women’s rights in the public service industry,” says Zona.

Zona says her first job was fairly easy to get. “I was fresh out of uni and you couldn’t tell me nothing. I was passionate and confident. You know how it is when you’re still wide eyed about an industry you’ve dreamed of being a part of all your life, so I applied,” she says. As a 20-year-old, she did one audition and was told on the same day, the job was hers. “It was amazing, especially considering my humble beginnings, from a village in the former Transkei and the crime-ridden township of Duncan Village in East London. It was quite the big deal,” she says. My media career gave me good exposure and I learned a lot about research, content generation and audience mapping.

Pursue your side-hustle: beauty

Zona’s side-hustle grew through her first big break: winning a Maybelline competition in 2014. She was featured in a magazine and gained support from make-up and beauty enthusiasts.

The one lesson you’d tell your 21-year-old self?

Wisdom over emotions, at all times. “Acting out of emotions without facts and knowledge will often lead to regrettable action. Carefully study the matter, then take action,” she advises.

Advice for the next generation of female leaders and entrepreneurs?

Stay true to yourself as a woman. “Don’t ever conform to a man’s ways of doing things. Our true weapon to conquer is in owning your womanhood. Always keep a more experienced and emotionally intelligent confidant to keep you in check,” she adds. Zona is also a firm believer in being well-nourished, both spiritually, and mentally.

Leadership tips…

1/ Setting more short-term goals is as important as the long ones.
2/ Have weekly targets that you diligently execute – these lead to bigger achievements and help you avoid procrastination.
3/ Don’t limit yourself to one area. Be willing to explore.
4/ Make full use of these opportunities that have come along with the 4th Industrial Revolution.
5/ Do not despise humble beginnings.
6/ Show leadership and service excellence in every position you’re in.
7/ How you perform at a lower level improves your chances of elevation.

A must-read…

Joyce Meyer’s Battlefield of The Mind. “Your mindset determines how far you’ll go in life. They say we are all a product of our thoughts, so you have to get your thinking right,” says Zona.

The importance of self-care

“I’ve been intentional about eating clean, running and mild weightlifting since spring 2016. This has been [an] ongoing self-care tool that I don’t compromise on,” Zona says. She believes this is the key self-care area that has cascaded into other areas of her life. Zona sets aside Sunday afternoons for facial masks, hair and nail care. “Drinking water is also self-care. I skip often. The skipping rope I got from a Women’s Health issue with Amanda Du Pont on the cover is still part of my home workout kit,” she adds.

Connect with Zona

Instagram: @zona_za and @anointedbeautyza
Facebook: Zona Za and Anointed Beauty Za

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Co-founder Burnt Studios
Girl Boss Zona Mpendulo
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