‘If you want it, never give up,’ is the motto that Miss Flavour 2008 winner Sasha Shantel lives by. Three years after winning the contest the southeast Londoner is busier than ever and clearly a woman of many talents. The signature in her email reads Editor of In-spireLS Magazine, Editor of Inbox Magazine, Career Advisor, Blogger and Model. With that list of roles, does she have anytime to sleep? Let’s find out.
Hi Sasha, how are you?
I’m very well thank you. I am feeling really tired but I know it’s from being productive so I cannot complain.
It’s been 3 years since you won Miss Flavour what have you been up to?
Winning Miss Flavour 08 was a major platform for me because it made me realise once and for all that I wanted to write and start my own magazine. I created In-spireLS Magazine because I wanted to create a space where talents from all industries, both established and up and coming could be celebrated. Too often magazines are filled with gossip and slander. I wanted to make a magazine which included inspirational articles as well as informative pieces on a number of areas including fashion, poetry, gadgets, money matters and music to name but a few. It’s still early days but I now have a team of 15 writers who contribute month in, month out. I couldn’t make it work without them. Away from the magazine, I am Editor of Men’s lifestyle magazine ‘Inbox Magazine’ and we are in the process of taking the magazine to the next level. I also have a weekly column for Hectic.tv called ‘Sasha’s In-spirations’ where I write pieces every Friday to empower and motivate.
Aside from writing, I re-entered back into the modelling world 6 months ago after gaining management under Pink ‘N’ Black Entertainment. Since working with them I have my official website www.sashashanteluk.com which launched in May 2011. It combines all of my talents. It also has up to date photo galleries and links to my You Tube and other social networking sites. Things are moving progressively forward and I am excited by the future.
Why did you call your online magazine In-SpireLS?
I called it ‘In-spireLS’ which stands for ‘In-spirational Lifestyles’ because all of the areas covered are done with a positive slant. You should read the content and be inspired and encouraged to keep going, no matter who you are or what you’re working on.
Who inspires you and why?
My mother in-spires me. We started the magazine together and we continue to work together on a number of ventures. In life, there is always struggle, but together we push through. She gets me through.
Away from my mother, day-to-day life inspires me. The battles I have overcome in my personal life inspire me. Working with like minded people like my manager and my team also inspire me to keep going and to never give up.
Tell me about your business?
I am working on another venture with my mother and I am also joining in business with my manager on a number of ventures. In-spireLS is at its first year in September and we are planning a live event to celebrate. After this period I will be able to hone in on my other ventures and make things happen!
You’re doing a lot of amazing things. How do you think being a part of Miss Flavour helped towards you achieving your goals?
Winning Miss Flavour made me realise that I am confidant and hardworking. It also made me realise that I am a winner. Life is very challenging and sometimes you want to give up but when you win one thing, no matter what it maybe. It soon becomes apparent that you can win anything, if you want it bad enough. It was an amazing experience and it helped me to meet a great number of industry people who have helped me within my ventures. Since winning Miss Flavour, my surroundings and who I work with is much more colourful. It was a great choice that I made to enter.
What modelling experience do you have?
Well, I have featured in a number of print publications including; Pride, New Nation, The Voice, Black Hair and Beauty and of course Flavour Magazine- where I was the first non-celebrity to feature on the front cover! (It was a hot cover too!) I have experience in modelling for Music CD covers, catwalk shows and I have also featured on a number of online magazines and blogs both in the UK and the US. I have experience shooting for high fashion boutiques and even recently modelling for a bra campaign which can be read about on my website. I am working on more ventures so watch this space!
This year will be 5th year of Miss Flavour. For future contestants what 3 qualities does a Miss Flavour winner need to have?
A ‘Miss Flavour’ contestant must be confident in herself and her abilities. If she has only come to take part, she might as well pack up and head home. You have to be in it, to win it.
She must be focused and recognise that it is a platform. Nothing will be handed to her; she must know that once you win, the hard work continues after that. And finally, she must be bubbly. Over serious is never the way. You need to enjoy the moment. Enjoy everyone like it’s your last.
Tell me about the endorsements you have secured?
Through my management I have hair sponsorship from ‘Sleek’, which is fabulous because I always wore their hair anyway so that helped a great deal. I also have clothing sponsorship from Applebottoms UK and Baby Phat. They are all amazing brands and make shoots a great deal easier! I also have lots of pairs of Applebottom jeans in my drawer, which is heaven!
What would you say is your best feature and why?
My smile. I am also pretty blessed with an ample amount in front and in the back, which is also great too! (Laughs)
If you could choose to model for any brand or be in any celebrities music video who or what would it be and why?
In terms of a brand it would have to be a bra company like Bravissimo or for Marks and Spencer lingerie cause their shoots are always so classy and I love swimwear and Lingerie modelling. In terms of music artist-Ginuwine’s too old for me so it would have to be Chris Brown’s. That would be serious! (Laughs)
What advice can you give to young women that would like to be in your position?
I am still trying to get into the position where I am taken care of. I have a long journey to go, but at only 5ft 5, I’m pretty proud of my accomplishments. All I can say is keep going, don’t listen to the people who tell you that you can’t. The number one support system you need to have in place before all other is yourself.
When you’re successful not everybody is proud of your achievements. How do you deal with the haters?
Recently, many people have been underhanded and you sometimes feel like you’re the bad person or the one in the wrong. People will always want you to be down and not go anywhere. For a while I stopped modeling and focused solely on promoting others, which appeared to please a lot of people. But now, I’m back doing this and involving myself in as many ventures as possible. I don’t live for others; I live for me so if they don’t like it they can simply make themselves invisible. The industry is full of snakes, it’s vital you surround yourself with people who matter cause the people who don’t matter, never really did.
Do you think that women are fairly represented in the media and how would you like to be represented?
I am clever in how I present myself. It’s important to not have a shady background so that you don’t run the risk of being attacked by others or being represented in a bad way. I respect myself and I feel that shows. I am able to model bra and knickers or a bikini and still get respect from men because they speak to me and realise that there is a brain there. If you are careful in how you present yourself, you will not worry about how you are represented. There are women out there who are being persecuted on a day-to-day basis, all over the world; they don’t have any control on how they are being presented. Right now, footballer’s wives are being highlighted for being addicted to the lifestyle and putting up with their cheating husbands. Are they children? No. They made a decision, they need to understand and expect the repercussions that come when in the media spotlight.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
Winning Miss Flavour and starting my own magazine have been the biggest highlights to date. They have been the start of even more bigger and better things.
What’s your day-to-day beauty regime?
I live by Tea Tree- Superdrugs brand. It cleared my teenage acne and I have stuck with it ever since. My skin is sensitive so I use moisturizer by ‘Simple’, which means it has no perfume in it. I also use a face scrub by Neutrogena to unblock pores 3 days a week. Dry skin brushing is also a must. My skin is very soft because of it.
What’s your ultimate beauty tip?
Hot water and lemon and green tea. Both of these I drink religiously. I have great skin and a good complexion and it’s down to drinking these religiously since I was 17.
What hair product/item could you not live without and why?
My GHD straighteners. They were expensive so I made my aunt buy them but I couldn’t live without them. I love dead straight hair. I recognise it’s damaging. Doesn’t change the fact I love them.
Are you single?
I keep my relationship status private. It’s more interesting that way.
Describe your ideal man?
My ideal man is caramel coloured with a six-pack and is 6ft tall, with nice smelling breath and a respectable job. Oh who I am kidding? My ideal man is a man who loves me, recognises my flaws and accepts them without running away.
Who is your style icon and why?
I love anything Rihanna wears. I couldn’t get away with half the things she puts on but she always looks so effortless.
Describe your fashion style?
Clean, bright and organised. I am creative mainly on weekends. Weekdays I throw on anything because I work in an office outside my glamorous extracurricular activity and a hot wardrobe would be wasted.
What does the future hold for you?
A lot. There are so many things in the pipeline. I don’t really socialise anymore because I am working on defining what makes me great. I am at an age where fear or lack of sleep cannot bother me. Not chasing my goals will affect me more. I am doing more shoots, resuming study, starting outside ventures with my mother, developing my magazine and working on two new projects.
Who would you suggest readers to follow on Twitter?
Follow my manager @pinknblackent_ follow fellow Pink ‘N’Black models @salenalima and @staceyhewson and follow my magazine @inspirels – Everyone I follow are amazing. So if your amazing and I don’t follow you @me!
How can people get in touch with you?
For my magazine email me on email@example.com
For all info about me go onto my official website http://www.sashashanteluk.com and drop a comment in the contact box. Oh and follow me on TWITTER @sashashantelvip
Interview by Annika Allen