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See what Naomi Campbell had to say about it

It was just an ordinary Wednesday for us here at ELLE, when our fashion director, Tarryn Oppel, handed over our fresh-off-the-presses November #BodyLove issue to our gorgeous and eternally happy Angolan supermodel and cover star, Maria Borges. And in New York. Yes, that’s how we roll.

Well, actually, Tarryn is currently in New York as guest of H&M for the KENZO x H&M show, ahead of its global release on the 3rd November. Pin that, we have, because you don’t want to miss out on the key pieces (the ribbon dress and accessories). And we have the inside scoop modelled by Maria.

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Hers is a story of courage and optimism, the perfect recipe for 365-days of happiness. Having entered a model search competition in Angola at 17 (six years ago), her career has been on an upward trajectory, and deservedly so, bringing her vivacious energy and lithe physique to some of fashion’s biggest names. Count them: Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Dior, Givenchy, Chanel and more.

‘Being the “World’s best-selling fashion magazine”, we owe it to our readers to constantly be on the lookout for the most relevant, informative, interesting and exciting fashion content. Being ELLE South Africa means that we always want to anchor this very content into the ever-inspiring soil of our country and our continent,’ says ELLE Editor-in-Chief, Emilie Gambade, who sat down with the cover star for an in-depth interview, over scoops of ice cream, in which she charts her journey to international supermodeldom, which goes beyond the façade and delves deeper into self-love. ‘I was so excited because they were offering a car and money. I told my sister: “Finally, if I win this, this money can pay for my university.”’ On sharing the runway with other supermodels, she adds: ‘I couldn’t believe it. I mean, it felt like I was just back home watching Fashion TV all the time, and here were the women I had seen on the small screen!’ But her most empowering message was tangible and needed no words only actions: dropping the relaxed hair, wigs and extensions and opting for her natural ‘fro for that memorable Victoria’s Secret show in 2015: ‘I was so happy; to me, this was the sexiest moment in my life. Since then, I am sure that being sexy is all about confidence. Being beautiful is being confident. I realised, okay, I don’t need to be like Adriana Lima with long dark hair to be a sexy girl. I need to be myself.’ #BowDown

And while we love fairy tales, and wish for a real-life magic wand, instead we looked to the pages of our November issue in which to fulfil Maria’s ELLE SOUTH AFRICA cover dream. And it helped that she had a gap in her super busy diary – three days, before hitting the runway for New York, London, Milan and Paris Spring/Summer 2017 fashion weeks – so naturally we started planning, as we do.

Over two days, and unpredictable weather, our editor-in-chief, Emilie Gambade, and fashion director, Tarryn Oppel, made magic with Maria and exclusive access to the Kenzo x H&M collection.


The result? See for yourself. So much so, that when Maria shared her cover on Instagram, Naomi Campbell showed it #LOVE. Now that’s a sisterhood to be proud of.


ELLE’s November #BodyLove issue is on shelf nationwide on Monday, 24 October

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