Brutal Fruit presents Success Tastes Better Shared
Words by Naledi Sibisi
“I finally believe in my own magic and in the magic that exists in other women.”
The past few years have seen women from all walks of life break down tremendous barriers and achieve incredible success in their respective fields. Historically faced with countless challenges, women have not only overcome these obstacles, but have done so cheering each other on with tremendous vigour. Today, we celebrate a young woman who has not only been inspired by many talented women before her, but one who has become an inspiration to many others with her online activism, business prowess and tenacity to open doors for young women like her in the creative industry.
Having worked in the design industry just shy of a decade, as well as gathering years in experience in her other respective fields, Lerato Mannya has quite an impressive catalog on her hands. As a firm believer in using minimalism as a tool to get one’s message across; she has successfully managed to use her expertise to not only build herself up as a brand across social media platforms, but also impart knowledge on others as well as open up about her personal experiences.
Currently part of the marketing team at a prominent South African mobile company’s head office, the digital expert currently working for black, graphic designer, copywriter and social media specialist also forms part of the latest Brutal Fruit Spritzer campaign. Immensly talented, the common characteristic on her diverse resume is her passion for working with strong, powerful women who serve an profound role her continuously supporting her as a digital trailblazer and informing her world view.
“In high school, when it came to choosing subjects, my dad asked me to do the usual; maths, science and economics in order to give me more career options but I hated all those subjects,” she recalls. Lerato let me in on the defining moment that led her onto her chosen career path. She believes that this was because she felt as though these choices would limit her creativity in the ways that she felt had fed her soul. “At age seventeen we had a career day at school, and I came across a table that spoke about things like ‘Graphic design and Photography’. For the first time in my life I knew that there were career options for creative women like me. I went home and told my parents that there was something called ‘Graphic Design’ that I wanted to do. I applied to The Design School of Southern Africa and got accepted in Grade 11”. She seems relieved about this aspect of her journey. “Following this, it was really about my parents finding ways to encourage me to nurture my talents; from hockey, to art classes after school, to attending art shows. For me, that year was life changing”.
It is this air of certainty from a young age that captured me as I chatted to her. Fast-forward to real time where she has and continues to achieve her creative dreams -- I found myself curious about the most rewarding aspect of her current profession. “That would definitely be engaging with people and learning about how their minds work. I’ve always been fascinated by what other people think up until the year 2007. I had never been comfortable expressing myself publicly before then”.
It was at that moment that I began to wonder about who she considers a strong influence during the course of her personal and professional journey. “Sibu Mabena” she declares. “She is younger than I am and such an incredible powerhouse! She pushes herself and makes sure she takes other people with her. The lessons I learnt from her in 2015 still resonate with me today and probably will for a lifetime”. In the same manner, I have come to admire her level of success for someone who is also so young. “I would attribute that to my parents who were consistently there for me. Even if they didn’t understand why I was doing something, they found a way around their own perceptions and just gave me room to be myself. This has remained a consistent thing even after my dad passed away in 2013”.
True to the Brutal Fruit Spritzer campaign “Success tastes better shared” which is testament to the importance of celebrating and acknowledging other women. A notable and praiseworthy shift in today’s culture, particularly when it comes to women and empowerment, is undoubtedly the spirit of unity and collaboration. No stranger to observing patterns and subsequently nurturing her desire to engage with others; Lerato exhibits a passion for creating secure and encouraging spaces.
“But there is one other driving force that I don’t think a lot of people are aware of – depression” she continues. “I have good days and bad days. But when my good days happen, I use them to research, plan and build. After doing that, focusing on execution becomes extremely important to me. I’ve found ways to use the negativity and self-loathing that has come with my depression to build myself up. I have a lot of young women watching me and I want them to be aware that on good days, you too can be your own driving force”.
Interestingly, Lerato got to meet another in aspirational woman and international actress last year. She talks me through what it was like meeting Taraji P. Henson. “It was so surreal to me because I wasn’t sure what to expect. One never knows with celebrities, but she is so down to earth with the most incredible personality. I don’t think she understands it, but she reminded me of why I do so much and why it’s important to be driven by passion. She also reminded me of how important it is to learn to silence the noise from people who say you can’t do something. That was extremely important”.
“I finally believe in my own magic and I understand that me being myself is my best asset, even if others do not necessarily understand it”. She credits this as one of her biggest strengths today. On the advice she would give to other women? “Don’t shrink yourself to make others feel better, allow yourself to shine. Either they will shine too, or they will allow darkness to win. You’ll know who to keep and who to discard. Energy doesn’t lie”.
One of the really fun things about the new Brutal Fruit Spritzers are the variety of blends and unexpected flavors which can be shared to make those special moments memorable. Brutal Fruit believes in women who understand the collective power of unity and encourages young women to share their stories while they enjoy the tantalizing taste of Brutal Fruit Spritzer on Social Media platforms with the hashtags #SuccessTastesBetterShared #BrutallyYou #BrutalFruitSpritzer.
To wrap up, I create two hypothetical and unrelated scenes. In the first, she buys a lottery ticket and ends up winning the jackpot. In the second, she is hosting a slumber party and her group of girlfriends includes three women she is currently inspired by. “I’m buying a house in Parkview, buying another apartment as an investment and giving the rest to my mom to invest for me. I trust my mother with my life!”. In terms of her slumber party? She will be sipping sweet and zesty blends in the different Brutal Fruit Spritzer flavours with Taraji P. Henson, Michelle Obama and Jada Pinkett Smith.
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