Zigo Remix by Tanzanian artist AY featuring Diamond Platnumz is undoubtedly the most successful African song of the year so far. It’s getting massive airplay all over. The Trace TV Instagram is laced with teaser videos of the hit.
One of the most talked about things about the video is the gorgeous lady who dances with AY in the video. Much isn’t known about her, but she’s the star of the video. She goes by the name Simone Welff, a 25-year-old lady currently based in Johannesburg.
Originally from Durban, Welff is an Administration Manager at Studio Space Pictures, the production house behind some of the most iconic African music videos in the recent years.
Her inspiring story is a perfect example of how models can make it in the entertainment industry in a truly professional way. There’s a huge problem, especially here in Kenya, such that models are being paid peanuts (sometimes nothing, think ‘publicity’) to appear in music videos.
Simone’s impressive story has seen her work with some of the most popular and successful acts in music, including South African rapper AKA, Nigerian singer Burna Boy, DJ Dimplez and of course AY and Diamond.
Are you a model or a musician seeking to collaborate with top talent? Are you aiming for the success that she has had so far? FYI, the Zigo Remix video has over 6M Youtube views at the time of this publication. Here’s my conversation with the beauty:
Harun: When did you start modeling and what inspired you to explore the art?
Simone: I started modelling at the age of 15. A man by the name of Martin Jones took me under his wing and began grooming me.
I have always loved fashion, my role models are Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss.
I was a very shy and awkward teenager, I began modelling to bring me out of my shell. My first big gig was a catalogue shoot for Jet. From there I have never looked back, I discovered my talent and have been fortunate enough to follow my dreams.
Harun: Many knew you when they saw you in the video Zigo Remix. I saw someone say (on social media) that you’re the most noticeable girl in the video. How was it filming the video? How long was the stint? How did you feel when you saw the video?
Simone: I did get a lot of hype from being a part of the Zigo Remix video, and the YouTube views were CRAZY.
Filming the video was an amazing experience. I got to shoot with one of my closest friends who is featured as the lady with Diamond Platnumz. AY is a good soul, he made sure I was happy and comfortable throughout the shoot.
The video was shot by Studio Space Pictures which is one of the best production companies in SA at the moment, I am blessed to work with such talented individuals.
The filming was a full day, roughly 12 hours, but we didn’t feel it as being that long because we were having such a blast.
When I watched the video for the first time I was in awe of how amazing we all looked. We were all captured in such beautiful, sexy moments.
Harun: Which are the other music videos that you’ve appeared in?
Simone: WOW! The list of video I have been featured in is endless. I think I will give a list of my favourites, as the list will be way to long:
· Tresor featuring AKA – Mount Everest
· Dream Team – What’s Your Name
· Fistaz Mixwell – Alone (My very first music video I shot)
· YBK – Summer Love
· DJ Dimplez – Bae Coupe
· Stilo featuring Nasty C – Day Off
· And of course AY featuring Diamond Platnumz – Zigo Remix
Harun: Many perceive promotional modeling differently. What’s the most misunderstood thing about the business and how would you like to address that?
Simone: The most understood thing about this business is that people on the outside think of ladies featured in music videos as “hoes”. Many people believe we sleep with artists and live a life of partying. That is not the case with most of us.
I am completing my Marketing Degree and I work full time. I enjoy reading and spending time with my family. I do go out every now and then, I enjoy going to Kong Nightclub in Rosebank or hanging out with friends.
Harun: What are those things that a promotional model should consider before taking a music video project?
Simone: Ladies should definitely take into account that a music video is unlike any other modelling job. The hours are long and you have to be 100% comfortable in front of the camera. You also have to form chemistry with an artist you just met on the day and make it believable to the audience. You have to ensure you always look amazing and are in great shape. Gym, sleep and water should be priority.
Harun: Does it pay being a promotional model? Should anyone venture into it fully or they should have something on the side?
Simone: The benefits of being a promotional model is the pay as well as the exposure.
When you are featured in a video with a well-known artist, you will receive a lot of recognition from viewers.
This venture is not something I advise ladies to take on full time. You should definitely have other things going on for you on the side. So network while you are working to ensure that once the beauty fades, you have a backup plan.
Harun: Who would you love to work with in the immediate future?
Simone: I have always said I would love to work with Ice Prince, he is such a talent and has a vast following. However, I have recently shot a video he is featured in ( Eindo featuring Ice Price – Ebenile).
Locally, I would love to shoot with Nasty C, he is an extremely talented young man who is shining at the moment. Internationally I would love to work with 50 cent, I am a HUGE fan of his.
Harun: Any inspirational words for upcoming models who either want to explore runway or commercial modeling?
Simone: The advice I can give to ladies wishing to pursue a career in modelling is simple: Start small and build yourself up. You are your own brand so always be true to yourself. Do what makes you happy and follow your heart.
Check out the behind the scenes photos from Zigo: