Conquering the world


Botswana has every reason to be proud of Kaone Kario.

The model has not only made a name for herself but has proven that while she may come from a small country, it is certainly big in terms of beauty and talent.

Kario struck it big in 2005 when she won the M-Net Nokia Face of Africa competition which became a spring board of her international modeling career.

From there on she graced covers of numerous magazines, signed up with big clothing stores in South Africa and also became the face of various beauty products.

At the moment, Kario who was born and bred in Maun lives between New York and Cape Town where she is plying her trade.

The Voice caught up with the bubbly, humble international star currently in the country to set the tone for searching for Botswana’s next best model as she believes there are a lot of girls who have what it takes.

Q. You been in New York for quite some time now, how would you describe life there?

It’s a hard city to live in but thrilling at the same time. It’s been a pleasure to live in New York.

The first year was the hardest in my life, a huge ego crusher because I was coming from a market that loved and adored me and there I was in a place where no one cared and yet wanted to be given a chance.

So I struggled a bit but I now have my clients and have a rapport with my agency and it’s much easier.

Q. But why move from a market that loves and adores to the world of the unknown?

Because I wanted that challenge.

I had reached a point in South Africa where I felt I had done everything.

New York had been in my heart and I couldn’t put it off any longer.

So I did it because I had to do it.

I believe in listening to my heart and there are certain yearnings in our hearts and spirits that never go away because that’s God saying show up, so all I needed was to get into an airplane and the rest followed.

Q. You spoke of having clients in New York, who are some of them

Iman Cosmetics, Elizabeth Arden and Beauty Essentials among others. I like beauty stuff.

Q. What do you think sets you apart from other models in New York?

I am not sure really but I guess being me makes me different from the next person.

Q. Growing up, did you ever envisage that you will be this international model?

I grew up in the village and didn’t know what a model was. This industry was introduced to me via Face of Africa.

Even when I was auditioning for Face of Africa I thought I was doing it for K-tv because I wanted to be a presenter not a model.

Q. Moneywise, how much is your fortune worth considering where you have been, what you have done and also being the current face of Nivea for women?

Oh my God, I am an artist and I am broke, Batswana should give me some money (laughs).

You know what, I make enough money to live, I have been fortunate enough to be in the industry for this long.

Sadly we don’t have the luxury of a monthly salary, the fashion business has its perks but you have to be money savvy.

Q. But there are Nivea billboards all over Gaborone with your face on the, surely that should mean good money.

I wish. Look yes we making money but not as much as people think.

Like I said it’s enough to live.

I live a comfortable life and get to do stuff but of course there is always need for more money.

And by the way, this Nivea campaign is regional so these billboards are all over Africa.

Conquering the world
ACHIEVER: Kaone Kario

Q. What comes through your mind when you see yourself on those billboards?

I’m totally tickled and am like yeah, that’s me at work and we mean business.

Q. You are pushing international brands and not local ones, how come you not working with any local entity?

Please ask them, that really hurts because I feel like I am being rejected by my own people.

But the problem is people here don’t want to pay, they don’t understand that this is work.

I would love to shoot for any company here but look it can’t be for free.

Q. Some people never take modeling seriously and there is this stereotype about models…

I know, but that’s their problem, they might think we are stupid but we are making our money.

A younger me struggled a lot with that stereotype but over the years I have told myself that it’s not my job to break that stereotype.

I love and appreciate the modeling industry because it changed the story of my life and has taken me to places I would never have gone to if I wasn’t in the industry.

Q. Maybe the stereotype also comes from the skimpy dressing?

I have no problem with nudity. I feel like we’ve been conditioned to shame nakedness.

It becomes a shame when one looks at it and perverts it with their view.

Modeling is work so when we do some of the shoots, its work and nothing sexual.

Q. If you were to have a talk with aspiring models, what would you say to them?

I have a lot to share, we would talk about how to make the best of modeling, the things I have learnt and the mistakes I have made and how they can avoid such mistakes.

Q. What has been your biggest investment so far?

It has been my travels, I’ve been all over the world and have spent a lot on my travels.

Last year I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and it was fun.

Q. What about property?

Not yet but I am building my first house. And don’t ask where cause am not telling.

Q. When all is said and done in New York and Cape Town, are you planning on coming back home?

Definitely, this is my home.

And what will you do?

I will venture into farming, I want to grow vegetables and flowers and I am really excited about it.

I have a piece of land just outside Gaborone.

Actually it would be farming and fashion as it would be a place where people can hang out, kids learning different things about fashion and boot camps for girls.

Q. Tell us about your love life, have a boyfriend?

Hey, I am grown up, I don’t have a boyfriend, I have a man (laughs).

But you know what, that’s why it’s called private life.

My private life has never been a talking point and would like to keep it that way.

Q. But planning on having kids some day?

My gynecologist thinks I should decide soon.

The conversation of women and motherhood has always been a tricky one for me because I don’t think we are allowed the space to think and decide, it’s like its an automatic thing that you must want to have kids.

I like my freedom and the fact that I can wake up and go anywhere without thinking of my child.

I know it sounds selfish and bad but the truth is, some days I do want to have children and some days I don’t.

And adoption is always an option.

Q. How do you maintain your body?

I work out a lot, I run, I do pilate’s, I am learning how to swim, I hike and I walk a lot and I long quit alcohol.

But I also indulge, I love good food because being skinny is not nice at all, actually it hurts.

Q. What do you miss most about Botswana when out there?

My family and the simplicity of home.

Q. What makes you happy and what makes your blood boil?

I can’t stand people who litter and cruelty against women and children, I also hate slow service.

And what makes me happy…money (laughs) because I am able to pay my bills and travel.

On a serious note my quiet time makes me happy, just being me and being alive.

Q. What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?

I am a very shy person

Q. How do you normally spend you your spare time?

I like being in bed, reading.

I am also learning how to bake.

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