There is only an upward trajectory for Tshego Rams. This Joburg-based artist has been working with some of the biggest names in the South African creative scene, while establishing her own foothold. Makeup artist, stylist, cosmetics entrepreneur, and recent reality TV star are just some disciplines of her impressive repertoire. We caught up after she was a creative director (alongside Bontle Juku) on our recent Yogi Sip Young Creators’ Network Event Hero Shoot, soon to be released on 10and5.
You have such an impressive portfolio of styling, art direction and makeup work. Tell us a bit about yourself and what your journey to this point has been like?
I come from a very artistic family that encouraged self expression through creative outlets. I’m an artist before anything else. From a very young age, I would experiment with art through drawing and painting and later with my own hair and makeup. After graduating in multimedia and web development, I got an opportunity to assist in styling Bonang Matheba for a luxury magazine cover shoot. That opened the door for me to style AKA for his now iconic music video, “Congratulate”. We worked so well together that I later styled him for his appearance at the MTV Africa Music Awards. I was very fortunate to assist the makeup team in the Bontle Mondiselle led film “Hear Me Move” – it was the gig that launched my makeup career.
I’m very daring in nature and my sink or swim attitude is what propelled me to work with more A-list celebrities such as Moonchild Sanelly, Pabi Moloi, Nadia Nakai, Nasty C, Lootlove, Big Zulu, Sthandiwe Kgoroge, Glory Bosman, and Kitty Phetla, just to name a few. The journey has been quite unbelievable and fueled by passion, dedication, hard work, lots of sleepless nights and Jesus. I chose to follow my bliss and my bliss led me here.
When did you start StudioRAMS? And how does this work together with your makeup artistry alias SwirlStylist?
SwirlStylist is my professional alias for both my styling and makeup artistry. StudioRAMS is a cosmetics company I registered in 2017. Having worked with makeup all these years, I was inspired to start my own easy to use range for the everyday person that wants to add casual glamor to their looks. I’ll be releasing a full collection later this year.
What have been some of your favorite collabs so far?
I have been incredibly fortunate to have worked with talented crew. I love all my collaborations but my top three to date have got to be the Moonchild “Flaunt” magazine cover shot by Trevor Stuurman, Nasty C’s music video for his international single “Palm Trees” and the Rihanna Savage x Fenton collaboration with Boitumelo “Spotted Beauty” Rametsi.
When conceptualising or planning the vision for a look, where do you draw inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from a number of things, from Vincent van Gogh’s masterpieces to the beauty of everyday moments. But my process always begins and ends with music – it takes me to that sacred place within where I work from the heart. My greatest work comes from me honoring that space.
Who are some of the ‘icons’ you look up to? Among your peers, in SA or internationally?
Rihanna is someone I’ve looked up to since I was a teenager. Her no-nonsense, unapologetic take on fashion, music and business acumen is the blueprint I use in my endeavors even today. My mother is the very definition of a superwoman and the wind beneath my wings. My brothers are so unapologetic in who they are and they always inspire me to always be as myself as possible in every situation – also, they’re the greatest hype-men a girl could ask for. Koketso Mbuli is such a powerful force and dear friend who’s helped me understand the true value of what I do. Thando Khumalo is a sensation! Her drive and motivation always push me further to succeed. We could literally be talking about nothing and everything and I always walk away feeling light and inspired. Vincent van Gogh is an artist I’ve always loved, I found comfort in his art.
You’re such a charismatic person and clearly work well with people, which is one of the reasons you’ve created such a following, besides being a talented artist. What exciting things can we expect from you in 2021? What projects are you looking forward to?
2021 has so far been filled with many firsts – I just wrapped filming an international sitcom where I served as makeup director, details will be revealed later this year. I’m also starring in Moonchild’s reality show “Woza” currently airing on MTV on Monday at 9:30pm. I never imagined I’d be adding reality TV star to my name but it’s been an exciting chapter so far.
Share with us something our audience may not know about you as a person.
I’m obsessed with dancehall music and the culture around it. I have an insatiable sweet tooth, so in my spare time I bake delicious sweet treats, and I play tennis.