Who: Ronette Marx- model, business person, brand ambassador Opulent Model Management team and model search competition

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ronette-marx-b8021659
Instagram: https://instagram.com/ronny.c.marx?igshid=OGQ5ZDc2ODk2ZA==      

South African Ronette Marx (aka Ronny) began her modelling career as a teenager. This year, 2023, she celebrates two decades in the industry. She recently joined the Opulent Model Management team and model search competition as brand ambassador and talks about her career headlining big campaigns, transcending the pressures and juggling hats as a mother and as wife to racing car driver Antonie Marx:

TCR: When did you join the Opulent Model Management team and model search competition as brand ambassador? What does this entail?

Ronette Marx: Opulent Model Search is the biggest modelling competition and is rapidly expanding globally.  As someone who started off with a modelling competition, I have been following them for a couple of years. Owner Johan Ungerer and I, became friends on Facebook. After seeing all the incredible work they do in my beloved industry, I just had to get involved. We went for coffee and I got on board immediately. They had their 2023 finale earlier this year with South Africa winning Top Model in London. I have been involved with the process, ever since registrations for 2024 opened. 

First step is scouting for new talent. I have been very busy, looking for new faces online, in our communities and through my own personal network. I will also be hosting a scouting activation where potential models from all over can come and meet me and talk to me, December 9, 2023, at the Prison Break Market [info: https://www.prisonbreakmarket.co.za/ and https://uzwela.org] You can’t miss us. We will be centre stage. I have personally been mentoring some entrants in the modelling world – regarding what to expect – how to put yourself out there and just have a great time. I will be there- all the way to support those who are interested in the industry, through the process. 

The world of modelling has changed with so many diverse fields of beauty. Social media makes it even easier today. The world is your audience. You can build your own platform. It is about what you can give. Being unique and diverse: Those are the models that make it today. As ambassador I help with visibility and expansion, scouting and yes, Opulent Management have launched too, managing the careers of their models.

TRC: How does the South African modelling industry differ from abroad?

RM: Models are used for advertising campaigns and the South African modelling industry differs vastly from the industries abroad. It is mostly seasonal here and models will go to Cape Town in high season and work abroad in other high season markets. Different markets around the world also prefer different looks. I always tell models, not to take it personal, the look for the season is merely the look that the market requires. My role is to look for the absolute best of the best that SA has to offer today.  I am also involved in expansion-talking to companies and brands that want to get their brand on board.

TCR: Does your work for Opulent extend beyond its South African activities? Opulent Models South Africa (OMSA) runs a competition and is a model agency. Are you involved with both model agency and competition? What about models as “influencers”? Is this part of what Opulent offers as well?

RM: Yes. The Opulent Brand is rapidly expanding globally into countries like Dubai and Austria. I am in the process of interviewing potential future licence holders in other countries. Opulent Management is the Opulent Agency that manages the careers of Opulent talent and winners that we sign on. Watch this space. The vision myself and owner Johan Ungerer have for this is beyond anything that has been seen. We are looking to change the world of model management and yes, this includes the world of brands, models and influencers.

TCR: The landscape of modelling has changed since you entered the industry at age 14. Can you tell us about when you were scouted as a 14 year old in a small town outside Bloemfontein- which town? This was twenty years ago- 2003- and a very different time. Instagram, for example, was launched in 2010.

RM: I was born in the Limpopo and we had just moved to the Karoo as my dad bought a farm there. We were 20km away from the nearest small town, Gariepdam, one of the big dams in SA with a very small town. It was December holidays and my mom decided to enter myself and my cousin into the local pageant. Mr and Miss Gariepdam. Keep in mind- this was a small pageant in the town hall with community members as judges. Not really knowing anything about pageants or modelling, we kept my mom happy. I won Miss Bikini that night.  The lady that organised it was part of a model school in Bloemfontein.  A scout came through to the city to interview potential candidates and they asked my mom to please take me. This was a two hour trip from the farm to Bloem. Once again, I was a little young and didn’t understand how big this was.  I was in boarding school and the one day, on a weekday, my mom randomly stopped at the hostel in tears, saying I just signed with Storm Models in Cape Town. One of the most famous agencies in those days. Just after my 15th birthday, we went to Cape Town, to meet everyone and do my first high fashion professional shoot.  I then moved into the model house with much older models, who looked after me so well, and I started my career right there and then. I was a baby girl with very big dreams. I am grateful to those models who basically babysat me. I am still friends with them today.

TCR: What advice can you give to others in staying grounded in the high pressure model industry?

RM: The pressures of the industry got to me many times when I was younger.  I modelled in an era when body positivity wasn’t around, and the more you try to lose weight and fit the mould, the more you battle with weight loss, skin issues and just stress overall. I really started taking a holistic approach to spiritual wellbeing and it changed my whole outlook on life. I love meditation, manifestation, prayer, yoga and just reflecting on my own thoughts. There is so much space for all of us out there. Modelling became a passion and the more I surrendered and let go of what doesn’t serve me; the more I attracted amazing things. I decided to stay true to what I like and who I am, not doing it for any following or anyone’s expectations, but because it is my art. Once I focused on my own path, I became extremely grounded and humbled by each experience. It is an amazing space of contentment that I wish I had in my twenties.

TCR: Can you talk a bit about the exciting things in your own career- shooting the campaign for Torga Optical, judging Miss & Mr Supreme Queen & King and hosting a ramp workshop, part of your goal “to give back to the industry”

RM: I am so blessed to be booked for amazing jobs like Torga. I had a blast and loved working with the whole team. It just reminded me once again why I do what I do. Being on set with incredible people gets to me my day at the office. Every day is different and that is what I liked! I have a few shoots coming up with some of the best photographers in the country. I am extremely excited to work with them.

I was so honoured this year, to be a judge for Pageants SA. It was inspirational to see everyone, however confident or shy; walk on that stage with pride and poise. As a gift I have decided to host a model runway workshop next year.  I have walked fashion weeks and strutted on the worlds runways like Vienna Austria.  Workshops helped me a lot to get that inner confidence.  I would like to hand it over to boys and girls in the model and pageant industry- to give them a little extra boost.

Model inspiration: South African Ronette Marx began her modelling career as a teenager (14) and is very very much in demand for high profile campaigns. She recently joined the Opulent Model Management team and model search competition as brand ambassador. Pic supplied.
Mentoring: South African Ronette Marx draws on her international career is a model in mentoring potential models and providing them with tips on how to succeed: “I have walked fashion weeks and strutted on the worlds runways like Vienna Austria.  Workshops helped me a lot to get that inner confidence.  I would like to hand it over to boys and girls in the model and pageant industry- to give them a little extra boost.” Pic supplied.
Workshop: South African model Ronette (Ronny) Marx is sharing her skills and experience from her internationally modelling career at Prison Break Market on December 9, 2023. See https://www.prisonbreakmarket.co.za/

✳ Sponsored content. This interview has been marginally edited for length and clarity. Images of Ronette Marx, supplied.