I met Zola for the first time when she was modeling for a clothing shoot I was doing for Isabel De Villiers. I hadn’t known of Zola before, simply because we don’t have terrestrial TV at home, so I hadn’t seen her cooking segments as the resident chef on the Expresso Morning Show.

We were chatting easily before she sat down for her makeup and she was telling me about her travels all over the world and all the exciting adventures that her cooking skills have created for her. She’s an extremely charismatic, down-to-earth and gentle girl and after the shoot, I went on to learn more about her – thanks to the internet.

It struck me one day soon after, when I was enjoying my favorite pizza at Col’Cacchio with my husband, that Zola is a girl who knows what her passion is, pursues it with vigor and zest and yet always remains true to herself when the fruits of her actions manifest. I had this realization while I was stuffing my face, because I suddenly noticed that Zola was there with me at that lunch, at least in the form of a photo of her, that was smiling up at me from the menu. I knew then that I had to find out from her how she’s achieved what she’s achieved and what role confidence has played in her success.


Meet Zola

Business Name
Zola Nene
Website address
Social Media Links
Sharon from Chandramala photographed by Abigail K Photography A Cape Town based Portrait Photographer

Did you have a female role model when you were growing up who taught you that women could be strong, independent and confident. If so, who was it?

Oprah Winfrey was the epitome of independence and confidence when I was growing up.

What’s the best advice you received to boost your confidence when you were younger?

When I got to high school, I remember my friends starting to wear make up and feeling like I needed to wear make up too. I remember talking to my parents about wanting to start wearing make up and my dad saying to me that I didn’t need any make up because I was beautiful the way I was. He said that the way I look was perfect, so why add anything extra when it’s not necessary. As a result, I never even touched make up until a started to work in tv when it became part of my job..

How did that impact you physically and emotionally?

It made a huge impact on me, what my dad said taught me that the natural me is enough. Even to this day, when I’m not working, I don’t wear any make up. I don’t feel compelled to put on a face before leaving the house. Make up isn’t an everyday thing for me and I’m grateful that my dad gave me the confidence to be myself.

What does confidence mean to you?

Self acceptance

When was a time you felt your most confident?

I feel most confident when I’m talking about/ preparing / serving food – food is my “thing”, I’m happiest and most confident when exhibiting my craft.


How do you celebrate yourself on a regular basis?

I treat myself to restaurant experiences and try to eat at new and exciting places as often as possible

What do you do when you need an immediate confidence boost?

I spend time with my friends. I have a very small good group of friends who know just how to pick-me-up. Just being in their presence reminds me how fortunate I am to have them in my life and how blessed I am to live the life that I do.

What advice would you give to a girl or woman who clearly has low confidence or low self love?

There is only one YOU…stop trying to be like anyone else or please other people, do what makes you happy and your happiness will resonate with the people that matter.

What advice would your 85 year old self give you about your confidence & self love, today?

I’ll have to wait until I’m 85 to be able to answer that question…but for now, let’s hope I make it to 85 to look back and give my 33 year old self advice.

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