Model Talk

Please Don’t Feed The Models

Model Talk

By Mia Arderne

Model A: You look you so good.

Model B: No, you look so good.

Model A: No really, but you look good.

I’m in the front row of the Cosmopolitan Magazine Lingerie Fashion Show in Cape Town’s Canal Walk, trying to find a snippet of interesting conversation. This proves a challenge. The free booze is a piss-with-blood shade of red. A dash of Skyy Vodka (the sponsor) mixed with an energy drink that tastes like a poorly blended rip-off of Red Bull.

Actresses, models, artistic directors, photographers, musicians and comedians are in the mix. South African celebrities include Alex McGregor, Siv Ngesi and Jimmy Nevis. The crowd suffers a desperate collective need to impress. The long white catwalk before me is still bare. The long white catwalk of superior beauty beams bright. Holding my judgement in my throat like an avalanche of sick, I observe my fellow spectators:

‘She looked great by the way.’

The flamboyant dandy to my right strokes his carefully sculpted goatee.

‘She did.’

A blonde sits stiff in her second skin jeans

‘Like when she walked in. Didn’t she just look great?’

The blonde hesitates to answer. Her face is covered in a layer of base so thick that if I even lightly scratched it I’d have a clump of powder beneath my nail.

‘I saw. She did.’

Another pause from the blonde.

‘I want this to start already’

The dandy has no make-up on. His Prince of Persia features don’t need it. Thin skin over delicate cartilage, perfect complexion, no powered base needed here.

‘Yeah, me too. I wish it would start on time. Like it hasn’t for the last eight years.’

His delicate fingers curl around his pearly white iPhone. He checks the time. The blonde’s hand is firmly at her side, glued to her thigh.

‘I know, what was the last one – Victoria’s Secret? Remember how late that started?’

Her blonde hair falls into her face, picking up some of the excess powder.

‘Remember that year they were wearing tops and speedos?’

The dandy talks with his wrists, tiny wrists waving through the air. He speaks with a slant in his tongue, words slipping out like they’re not worth the motion of his mouth.

‘Yeah that was a little rough hey, I don’t think anyone should be wearing that.’

The blonde’s tone is nasal, disingenuous. She’s caught off-guard when the dandy launches in and asks her the million-dollar question,

‘Why aren’t you up on stage, huh?’

His nimble fingers are still clutching and flipping his iPhone. She looks down at his hips, his thighs. His hips and thighs are narrower than hers. His question twists her stony features into a tight clench.

‘Well, you know, once you retire…’

She waves her hand in an over-exaggerated flick that fails to match the dandy’s effortless flamboyance. The smoke machine starts blasting clouds of opaque white onto the catwalk. He flutters his eyelids and gently swipes at his brow.

‘This is gonna hurt my eyes so much.’

‘See you after the show.’

Kiss–kiss, one on either cheek and he’s gone. The blonde was just a stop on his series of hug-hug kiss-kiss hey-dahling greetings. He repeats the same procedure on another six people in the front row.

I zone out and watch the line of starving giraffe-proportioned models walk, hypnotized by the flash at the end of the runway. As each long-legged beauty makes its way back and fourth, the crowd claps. I seem to have forgotten how to clap for people walking.

Cracking the Street-Racing Empire

Cape Town Street-Racers

Cracking the Street-Racing Empire

by Mia Arderne

Cape Town’s street-racing scene is a high velocity subcultural thrill, centering in Athlone and branching into dark streets throughout the city. After 10 PM, a host of stylishly skilled drivers revel in a dangerous nighttime pleasure far beyond the gaze of the tourists and, more compellingly, the law.


In Athlone on Wembly parking lot, I get out of my car – my little Toyota Tazz has never felt so diminished it all its life. The parking lot is techni-colored and buzzing in an influx of neon caps, brand-name tracksuits and a palette of modified vehicles. This is a world where men are identified by the cars they drive. The boosted-GTI driver next to me takes one look at my common unmodified ergonomic Toyota Tazz and scoffs. You are what you drive.

Tip 1: Show up in a boosted vehicle if you want any respect.

It is a clear night. I can almost see the stars through the dusty clouds of diesel pollution. 11 PM is daylight for street-racers. This crowd only meets on certain nights, as not every night sees a race. It’s Sunday, and Sunday is a big race night. So are Thursdays. Fridays and Saturdays sometimes are too, but Sundays and Thursdays are the biggest. And never waste your time going to a race when it rains. A wet road equals no race.

Tip 2: Get your timing right.

A Honda with at least 16 subs drives past, the bass shaking the tar beneath my feet and rattling  my spine. A symphony of whale’s penises and branch-fitted exhausts fills the air. What are whale’s penises, I hear you ask? Enhanced manifold filters used to increase the noise and fool the gullible rivals. Also, here in the Mother City, we do not race, we dice.

Tip 3: Familiarize yourself with the jargon.

From the back of the fast food Roadhouse queue, I smell the masala steak on the grill. This is half the reason I’m here. Wembly’s fast food Roadhouse just across the street from the techni-colored parking lot. Buy food anywhere else during the race, and you would be missing out. Not that you could, because everything else is closed on Sunday at 11 PM. Prices are good, portions are gigantic, spicing is sublime.

Tip 4: If you know nothing about cars, get yourself a sizzling steak roll and just watch.

Abdul and Ashraf pull up in a RunX RSI and a yellow Honda Civic respectively. The Honda Civic is stabilized by silver rods, adorned with a fin and credited with lowered suspension. The rivals greet each other with a respectful, “Slamat” – and a kiss on either cheek. With one hand in his pocket and the other one smoking a Rothmans, the Honda Boy gets out of the vehicle and joins the other Hondas. The racing crews are sectioned out: Honda Boys, RunX Boys, Nissan Boys, V-Dub Boys etc.

 Tip 5: Understand that you may be affiliated according to what you drive.

I do not race. I have one reason for this: I don’t have a fast enough car and I will not make a fool of myself. This is okay. There are many spectators here with steak rolls, hookah pipes and brandies (artfully concealed) to enjoy the race. If you do decide to race, however, make sure you know the stakes. You can race for fun, for status, for money or for pink slips.

Tip 6: Assuming you haven’t watched The Fast & The Furious, pink slips means you’re racing for your opponent’s car and he is racing for yours.

My street-racing friend, Leatin Booys, with his neon green sneakers and their oversized tongues sticking out beneath his tracksuit, is ready to dice. Foot on the pedal of his emerald Nissan Saber 2lt VVL, Leatin neglects to see the police insidiously snaking towards us. When he looks in his rear-view, the flashing blue lights are invasive and the howling siren signals panic. All systems go. He drops the clutch. Cars flood from the garage. It’s every man for himself now. And I’m stuck in a car with no pull-away power.

Tip 7: Be aware that street-racing is illegal. And the cops in Cape Town are a merciless bunch of thugs with chips on their shoulders who don’t need half a reason to rough you up properly.  

A Taxonomy of Youth Culture in Cape Town

This piece deciphers the Mothers City’s Cliques, analyzing the Yuppies, the Hipsters, the Poppies and the Zef riffraff, so you may know where to place yourself – or not to place yourself.

“A Taxonomy of Youth Culture in Cape Town” is formerly known as my “Cape Town Cliques, A battle of sub-cultures” – and you may find it all at the bottom of this blog.

It has since been published by Matador Network.

Here is the Link:

Cape Town Cliques

Cape Town Cliques