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South African model with albinism, Thando Hopa is the new face of Audi Q2


Thando Hopa, a lawyer and model is the new face of Audi’s SUV car. The model has been vocal about the treatment of people with albinism, using her experiences to raise awareness on albinism, which is still profoundly misunderstood. Hopa is undoubtedly the perfect face, and her involvement with Audi could bring more discussions around albinism.

South African model and lawyer Thando Hopa is the new face of Audi Q2 compact SUV. The 28 year old has been a voice for albinism, with the hope of defeating the prejudice and stigma around albinism.

Hopa partnered with Audi South Africa for their Audi Q2 #Untaggable campaign, which highlights diversity of beauty standards, and embracing the art of forging your own path. Her father is Xhosa and her mother is Sotho.

Hopa started modelling when she was approached by designer Gert-Johan Coetzee at a shopping mall in Johannesburg in 2012. She had received similar offers to model but not from a top designer like Coetzee. She’d rejected those offers so as to focus on her legal career. With encouragement from her sister to use modelling as an avenue to overcome the negativity associated with albinism, Hopa took up the offer.

Read: Malawi bans witchdoctors and media adverts for herbalists to curb albino killings

Thando Hopa became ambassador for Vichy Photo: Thando Hopa/ Twitter

Her appearance during the South African Fashion week in September 2012 opened conversations on albinism, prejudice and beauty.

Due to her albinism, Hopa has problem with her eyesight. This was part of the challenges she faced when she started modelling within two weeks of meeting Coetzee. She told Buzz South Africa, “There were steps, and since I struggle to measure depth because of my eyesight problems, I was afraid I would fall.” Her modelling career took off as she did publicity shoots and appeared in Forbes Life Africa in 2013.

An umbrella against the sun is a constant companion for Thando Hopa. Photo: Thando Hopa/ Twitter

Thando studied at Witswatersrand University, due to the problem of her eyesight, she was supplied with larger papers to help her with the issue. She still considers her job as a prosecutor more important than her modelling.

She became a Vichy Capital Soleil ambassador in 2014. Vichy produces sunscreen creams.  People with albinism are prone to getting skin cancer if exposed to too much sun. Applying sunscreen creams prevents damage of the skin.

Her collaboration with Audi

In the Audi’s YouTube video, Hopa is introduced with the all-new Audi Q2. She catwalks with gusto. Then questions on the screen appear; what if we don’t fit the #boxes? What if we don’t want to? #thandohopa #untaggable.

The questions are no doubt a representation of the questions people with albinism face daily. According to Destiny Connect, Audi Q2’s campaign aims to shed light on what motivates people like Thando to shatter clichéd conventions and create their own identity.

Read: PICS: Tanzanian albino children receiving prosthetic limbs in US

The head of Audi South Africa, Paul Sansom said, “Thando was the only choice as the face of the Audi Q2 #untaggable local story. She personifies the Audi Q2 approach — she refuses to be boxed, labelled or categorised. We are also inspired by her personal journey, her success in so many careers and her activism on behalf of people with albinism.”

He further noted, “Thando is impossible to categorise. She is current, edgy and upscale, but refuses to fit the mould. Her inspiring life story and unique approach make her a perfect fit for the Audi Q2, a vehicle that refuses to be labelled.”

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