It’s human nature to try and fit in. But we were born to stand out
Self-love is Jethro Jaftha’s secret weapon. It’s a strength that’s taken years to hone. The words of others don’t hurt him like they did before. Growing up, children taunted him for his curly hair and skinny frame. Jaftha tried to fit in, even attempting to play sports he didn’t enjoy. Nothing helped. He remembers feeling like he was stranded at sea, unable to swim. Once Jaftha left school, a photographer invited him to step in front of the camera. The results of his first modelling shoot transformed Jaftha’s perception of himself. The source of his pain was in fact his power.
“Embracing who I am was my key to finding true happiness,” Jaftha says. Motivated to continue pursuing the craft, he took on more modelling jobs. Gradually, Jaftha began to accept himself and found a community of people who appreciated him. He also learnt to be more open about his Khoisan heritage. “By being around like-minded, artistic individuals, I felt at home and I could feel my passion for modelling grow stronger,” he says.
Today, Jaftha believes his features are his greatest asset and harnesses this to celebrate his heritage. “I love who I am and it’s been quite a journey getting to this place,” he says. Now a successful model, Jaftha is using his experience with bullying to uplift others. He demonstrates that acceptance starts with ourselves. “It’s human nature to try and fit in,” Jaftha says. “Being different is way better.”