Kaunda Selisho

By Kaunda Selisho


PODCAST: Why do influencers do Valentine’s Day shoots?

Influencers like Mihlali Ndamase, Mandisa Jakavula and Naledi Mallela sparked conversation with their Valentine's Day photoshoots.

With the news cycle of the past week focused primarily on AKA’s murder and the dire situation in Roodepoort that threatened the electricity supply to the area, most people seemed to have breezed past the fact that Valentine’s Day was celebrated this past week. 

This was despite the best efforts of South African influencers who posted photos from their themed photoshoots to commemorate the day. 

But why do influencers do Valentine’s Day shoots?


In the life of an influencer, content is king and commercial holidays provide the perfect chance to not only plan themed content but get some sponsorship in the process. 

We also live in an age where new traditions are being formed and platforms like Instagram function like digital photo albums. When you think of the platform in that sense, you can then think of the annual Valentine’s Day shoot as a tradition observed by people who are part of a new culture. 

Knowing that Valentine’s Day shoots are coming also primes other social media users to not only look out for the pictures but to critique them as well. 

LISTEN: Sandi and Kay discuss influencers’ Valentine’s Day shoots and unpacking AKA and Tibz murders on the ‘Who Said that’ podcast

And that is exactly what happened this past week when South African influencers published their shoots.


Mihlali Ndamase’s Valentine’s Day shoot 

Creators like Mihlali Ndamase (@mihlalii_n), Mandisa Jakavula (@mandznothot) and Naledi Mallela (@naledimofficial) were among those who sparked debates about the concepts of their respective shoots. 


While many felt as though the criticisms were harsh and that the women did not receive as much kind feedback as they should have, people are also forgetting that this counts in the favour of these women who are in the business of making money from having all eyes on them and everything they do. 

Engagement is not measured by the amount of praise heaped on a creator and even if you did not like what you saw or didn’t get the concept of the shoot, you still saw it and felt moved enough to give it your time and attention. 

Take Mihlali Ndamase for example. Since making her relationship public – and quite frankly even long before that – her private life has been subject to much social media chatter, inspiring her to nickname herself ‘hot topic’. 

She drew inspiration from that in a photoshoot that feature the run-of-the-mill Valentine’s Day concepts along with a skirt made of the pages from a newspaper. 

And what did people do after she posted the photos? They spoke about it, at length. 

Lord only knows what her engagement and reach stats look like on an ordinary day but during a month where she; injured her foot (and has kept people guessing about what happened), shut down rumours of a break-up with her married boyfriend and polarised people with her Micheal Jackson-esque shoot, one can only imagine what her stats look like and what this means for her professionally. 

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