'I have my own money' - "People's opinions have nothing to do with my reality." |Mihlali.
By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
Mihlali Ndamase says she's in a happy relationship, and among other things money was not the deciding factor when she started dating her partner, businessman Leeroy Sidambe.
"It's not my place to wait. I'm not the one who's married."
Mihlali's interview is a lesson in setting boundaries. When Thembekile asks her, "Why a married man?" she fires back, "Oh, no, darling. It's not my place to wait. I'm not the one who's married. It is him who decided that he wants to find a partner and date someone."
"People's opinions have nothing to do with my reality."
Thembekile probes Mihlali about what it has been like to trend every time her lover Leeroy Sidambe's divorce woes, legal battles and business scandals make headlines.
"When people have nothing to come at you about, then they are going to find something to constantly dig at. They're going to try and find something that they feel like might be a weakness … honestly people's opinions have nothing to do with my reality," says Mihlali. Later she explains that she keeps her private life private because, "I feel like in this industry, every single woman's work then gets linked to a man and a man is credited for who she is."
"I've got my own money! Are you mad?"
And when Thebekile asks her, "Did you get with Leroy because he's got money?" Mihlali gasps in mock outrage and asks, "I've got my own money! Are you mad?... There's a lot of men with money in the world. But do they respect women?"
Confronted with rumours that her lover has mistreated his ex-wife, his ex-girlfriend, and their children, though, Mihlali shrugs and says, "I will not speak on anything that I do not know about."
"Have you seen me assaulting anyone?"
Mihlali gets even more slippery when Thembekile tries to pin her down on claims that she assaulted internet troll Musawenkosi Khawula, who leaked her phone number and address online, petitioned for brands to cut ties with her, and insulted her mother.
"Have you seen me assaulting anyone?" Mihlali asks mischievously. "I don't know who that is. All I'm gonna say is, if you come for my family, I will come for you. Full stop. Next question."
In Mihlali's world, it's no receipts, no secrets. And if you keep prying, she'll just laugh and laugh and pretend that she didn't hear you, whether you're asking if she's had a BBL, who bought her car and pays her rent, or what goes on in brand boardrooms every time she trends.
In Unfollowed, Mihlali also talks about her biggest mistake on Twitter. And media experts comment on the social media trolls who try to raise their profiles by targeting high profile women with misogynistic abuse, and how influencers navigate the tricky intersection of reputation, brand damage, and creating the kind of content that drives page views.