Ntombi Moyo is a queen. Except instead of a kingdom, she reigns over her very own queendom—the magical land of wardrobe.
If there was ever anybody’s wardrobe I’d love to raid, it’d be hers. Forget that, can we just be best friends? In return, I can offer some half decent dance moves, a cringe-y sense of humour and some very mediocre cooking skills.
Ntombi’s eye for statement pieces and consideration when constructing looks see her seamlessly blend colours and prints like its child’s play. And the final product is more than just an outfit, it’s a work of art and a very big mood.
She’s been slaying the styling game for eight years, starting out purely for fun before eventually turning it into a career path. And this was at a time when being an ‘entrepreneur’ wasn’t just an Instagram title.
“Growing up I always knew that I wanted to be a businesswoman and work for myself,” Ntombi says, “I never knew creative jobs could be an option though.”
Failing styling, Ntombi says her back up was being a lawyer (same). A surprising option for a creative, and a path she says did not appeal to her at all. But something tells me she could rock a power suit.
After graduating uni with a degree in business management, Ntombi began to style in and around work, hustling any way she could.
“I would do it on my days off and before and after work,” she says, “I did a lot of editorial fashion photography shoots, but it’s definitely when I started styling TV commercials for Tony and Guy, and music videos, that people started to really enlist me for larger projects.”
It was Ntombi’s work with artists REMI, Sampa The Great, Maribelle and Golden Vessel that put her on the map and finally gave her recognition as more than a stylist, but as a visual artist. But her biggest ‘pinch moment’ only happened recently.
“I just did a music video that featured Duckwrth, an amazing LA-based artist. I’ve always been crazy about his music so to find myself chilling with him on set or hanging out after and just talking about our creative paths and dreams was really dope,” Ntombi says, “And I can definitely call him a friend now.”
It hasn’t all been glitz and glam for Ntombi though. Being a freelancer and having to balance her own finances is something she says she still struggles with.
“I constantly desire to source unique styling pieces, but have to watch my spending to ensure that I run a sustainable business,” she says, “I’m a creative, I hate thinking about that stuff.”
“I just want to be free to create and flow but unfortunately working for yourself means you have to crunch numbers too.”
To keep her affairs in order, Ntombi took the advice of a friend who told her to “get a good tax agent immediately.”
“Having a good tax system in place has been super helpful and I’m grateful for it at the end of every financial year,” she says, “I soak up all the advice given to me by the agent on better days to keep my fashion habits sustainable.”
Ntombi is her brand. She’s worked hard to develop her own distinct style and attitude. If you happen to catch her between fittings and shoots, you wouldn’t think she’s been up since 6am and off the back of multiple 12-hour work days.
But it’s the daily grind that keeps her going. She’s currently working on creating a fashion editorial magazine and has just returned from travel, where she worked with Amehl for NYFW before styling a music video in Amsterdam.
Ntombi’s ultimate dream though, like a lot of ours, is simple—Gucci.
“I would love to style a Gucci campaign. Gucci has a lot of drama and their style aesthetic involves a lot of print clash, dramatic layering, bold colours and excessive accessorizing which I deeply appreciate,” she says, “It combines all my favourite things.”
The key to success for aspiring stylists and freelancers according to Ntombi comes down to hard work, dedication and believing in your brand.
“Quit your job, pursue your passion and work hard as hell until you no longer have to introduce yourself.”
“I am borderline obsessed with my work and I don’t believe I could have been this motivated if I was working for someone else,” she says, “but it comes with a lot of long hours and grinding though.”
“Sometimes I start my day at 6am to unpack my car from a previous shoot, go source my styling pieces, head over to a shoot and find myself easily getting home around midnight. Then I get up and do it all over again the next day.”
“But working hard and consistently producing good work does wonders.”
Image credit: supplied