With flawless mocha skin, striking features, and a body that won’t quit; it would’ve been easy for Susan to rest on her laurels of a great modeling career. Yet circumstance brought something greater into her a life; to see Nelson Mandela’s vision for a better life for the children of South Africa. Now an Ambassador for the Nelson Mandela’s Children’s Fund, Susan raises awareness and funds to protect, nurture and enrich the lives of children in South Africa. In her own words, she speaks to Ford about finding her passion for this incredible cause, and how she began her career as a successful model with Ford Direct.
“I had been scouted a few times whilst studying at university in Oxford and a couple of times when visiting my family in South Africa. I guess I wasn’t ready, or couldn’t see myself doing it as I was a tomboy and very much into my sports. After university, I was like…. ummmm I need to start making some money, let me see what the modelling thing is about…. so I went to the people who had approached me at university and they signed me. I started doing it full-time straight away, in London only at first. That was in 2005. I had been looking for a charity to work with for a while and was gob smacked when Kathi Scott (the Executive Director for the NMCF UK) asked me to be involved with them. She loved my story/background and thought I would make a good role model and ambassador to help encourage other young people to get involved to drive this cause forward. It was such a wonderful coincidence for this specific charity to approach me.
My family had lived in South Africa for many years when I was younger and after we left I returned there every season to model with Max Models in Cape Town. Spending all those long periods of time over many years, I developed a love for the country, its culture but more importantly I developed a love and respect for its history, in particular Nelson Mandela. This new-found admiration and love for Madiba (Nelson Mandela) was what made it a no brainer to say yes to Kathi, when she asked me to be a part of their ‘family’. I got involved with this charity, as I was blessed enough to come across one with a cause I believed in and a leader I felt connected to. I think it is important to be involved with a charity, as I believe in giving back. You can’t go through life selfishly ignoring the issues that present themselves around you in everyday life, whatever your color, culture, religion or background. Whatever you do, the most important thing is to work for a cause or people that you believe in. I say this because, that is what will drive you to work hard for something you are not being paid for.
As an ambassador, I not only host gala dinners and fund-raising events, I also help spread the word about the foundations projects, help raise funds and encourage other young people where ever I travel, to get involved with helping keep Mr. Mandela’s legacy alive and at present help his dream of building a children’s hospital in South Africa, become a reality.”