Monday, March 15

Catching up with Cape Town Girl


You may have known her as MyBrandedLife TM but these days she's blogging as Cape Town Girl. The lady behind both these popular SA blogs is Alex and she's joining us today!


Hi Alex. How are you?
Fantastic, thanks for asking. 

You're a copywriter, blogger and well, a girl living in Cape Town. What's life like in the Mother City?
Life is both chaotic and chilled. The perfect balance between a beach paradise and a bustling, cultural city. I can’t complain, it keeps me on my toes. 

When and why did you start blogging?
I started blogging back in 2006, because I love writing and blogging was an easy way to get an opinion and a voice out there. My first blog was very cute – I was very young and passionate and shouty. I closed it after a year and a half and started MyBrandedLifeTM to be more in line with my life at the time – I was travelling around the country doing market research, new product development, word-of-mouth and ambassador campaigns, literally leading a ‘branded life’. I later moved back into the creative side of advertising, which is when MBLTM became a bit of a piss-take, to amuse myself and fellow creatives and help us not take ourselves too seriously.

What prompted you to close up MBLTM and start Cape Town Girl?
MBLTM was very niche. It was funny at times, but it was also a very cynical voice and I just grew out of it. I got bored. I mean, how many times could I crack a joke about Personal Branding, you know? I felt I’d worked myself into a catchphrase corner, kind of like Ricky Gervais does in Extras, when everyone loves the line ‘You ‘avin’ a laff?’ and he does it because people enjoy it but each time it comes out of his mouth a small part of him dies inside. I wanted a platform that was much broader, that gave me more latitude with my tone, a platform that is more overtly positive. I’d been waiting for the opportunity to change for a while, and while I was lying in hospital earlier this year due to an allergic reaction to medication, I realised that there’s no time like the present and decided to make the leap as soon as I got out. It was a bit of a thing – pushing yourself out of your comfort zone always is – but I’m glad to have a new challenge to wrap my head and writing around.

Describe the guy or girl who would love Cape Town Girl - the erm blog and the person!
Cape Town Girl is what I call ‘light lunch reading’. The name is inspired by Amistead Maupin’s series ‘Tales of the City’ which are set in San Francisco. Just like people aspire to certain lifestyles in San Fran, New York and LA, I think Cape Town has a certain lifestyle to which people aspire, and I’m simply documenting my side of it – an inner city perspective. It’s also more sustainable that MBLTM - because it’s a broader positioning, it allows me to write about all manner of things, in all manner of ways, not just take the piss out of advertising and surrounds, which makes it more fun. For me, at least. I do plan to take the piss with CTG, but I’m experimenting with news ways of doing it. 

Now about that saucy header on your that you in a blonde wig?
No, that’s me in a pink wig. 

Ah, right. What's all this about lounging around and eating cupcakes in robes? May we know if you're dressed in said attire today?
Most definitely. Why would one ever wear anything else? Thanks to Sammy from JT one for all the lovely lingerie. 

You do fancy a bit of a laugh don't you, Alex? How do men respond to your blend (or brand?) of wit and good looks?
Men are captivated by my beauty and wit, of course. I find wearing underwear all the time certainly makes men nicer to you. Strangers open doors and throw their coats over puddles, and the like. Sometimes they even let me hold their babies.

Ha! I recently read an article by a man who said female bloggers are too diplomatic which makes for boring reading. How do you respond to that? Is it fair to say you're not afraid to tell it like it is sometimes?
Well I definitely try to push boundaries, my own at least. I figure if I’m going to write every day, I might as well make it worth it. You learn more that way. I find nice blogs boring too, so I try to err on the side of honesty when I can. MBLTM was all about that – seeing if I could get a rise out of people, or seeing if I could make people laugh at themselves. But I think you can push boundaries without making people angry, although I’m still figuring out how. When I was writing MBLTM, I was fascinated by the whole ‘it’s funny because it’s the truth’ genre of humour. Now I’m more interested in captivating an audience without provoking them, in creating a strong female voice that readers can empathise with and laugh with / at. Hence the underwear. Ha ha, Cape Town Girl is still finding her voice, but I know from experience that building a voice and a readership is something that can’t be rushed, so I’m just taking my time for now.

What do you enjoy most about blogging?
I love the instant reaction you can get. I love learning about people. When I post a picture of a lolcat and it gets the highest pageviews of all my posts, it can feel like an epiphany. People are both complicated and not, and I love them for it. I also love it that blogging is self-moderated, and hence sometimes not moderated at all. It’s a bit of a f@*kshow, which makes it hilarious, which makes me love it.

I just totally censored you there Alex! 
Any blogging pet peeves?
My worst would be the rebloggers – people who post existing content on their site and then call themselves bloggers. You’re not a blogger! You’re a freaking content aggregator! But I guess I’m just more into original stuff; different strokes… 

How do you find working in SA's ad biz? Any pros and lows you'd like to share?
I love SA’s ad biz. It’s filled with all kinds of nonsense, which is very funny if you take a step back and see it for what it is. I love that the industry is one that encourages innovation and new ideas and new thinking and new ways of working. It’s certainly better than a lot of other biz’s out there… Pros would be getting to come up with all sorts of fun and silly stuff for brands who aren’t scared to take risks.
Lows? Um.. you get people who take themselves verrrrry seriously. Which isn’t a low per se, it’s actually quite amusing, but those people can get very touchy, which can get tiresome. And the egos… yawn. I find the whole awards obsession a little weird. I don’t buy into it. Just like I don’t buy into the ‘hierarchy of fear’ which some agencies like to encourage and perpetuate. 

If you could tell the world about South Africa in one sentence, what would you say?
A beautiful land filled with resourceful, resilient, creative and beautiful people. And some great restaurants (had to bring food into this somehow)

How would you describe Cape Town style compared to Durbs and Jozi?
I grew up in Durbz – Durbz feels like a holiday town. It’s way more laid back than Cape Town for me. It’s also hot and humid almost all the time, which makes the nights seem longer and the sun seem less harsh. Joburg is fast-paced and at times feels more first-world but also more third-world than Cape Town. Joburg reminds me of LA. Cape Town is kind of a compromise between both, and because it’s small, you don’t need to plan anything – you can pretty much be spontaneous all the time. In Joburg and Durban, you make plans and you stick to them. That’s the main difference for me. 

Is there a Cape Town Boy in your life? Go on, dish!
Ha ha – no comment! I’ve reached a point in my blogging life where I realise that certain things must be kept private, and relationships would be on that list. Do you know how devastating it is to cancel a relationship on facebook? It’s worse than the real break-up! Never again!

Describe your perfect day in Cape Town.
It would start with a 8km run on the promenade or the mountain, followed by a swim in the sea at my secret beach. I’d then have a cold shower and head over to Vida, where I’d enjoy a double latte. I’d then enjoy a spot of shopping at The Lot and Wardrobe on Kloof Street, followed by a leisurely lunch at my favourite restaurant at the Waterfront – Salero – which has a great oysters and a view of the sea and is relatively tourist-free. If it’s a Saturday I’d go to the Old Biscuit Mill for oysters and a tuna burger. I’d then meet friends for drinks at The Radisson hotel and possibly enjoy a swim there. I’d spend the afternoon lounging around Kirstenbosch gardens with a book, and possibly take a walk in the forest in the evening. I’d end it off with sundowners atop Lion’s Head (which I have a perfect view of from my balcony) and then have dinner at one of my favourite, non-touristy spots. I’d probably end up at home by 10 – I’m not much into the clubbing scene, far preferring to spend time with friends in my beautiful apartment. All of the above would be photographed and tweeted, of course.

Where's the best place in Cape Town for:
Coffee Lazari / Vida e caffe (Wembley Square, Kloof Street)
Cocktails Around the pool at the Mount Nelson on a hot day 

Chilling Café Neo on Beach Road, Mouille Point 

Candy Cassis in Garden’s Centre – am addicted to their macarons
Dinner Tough one. At the moment I’m enjoying Fork on Long. 

Dancing Decodance on Saturday nights at the Old Biscuit Mill.
Movies The Labia on Orange – I can walk there, and it’s not in a mall.
Music The Assembly for the best in live SA music. Brewers & Union
on occasion. 

Shopping Kloof Street for the independent shops, The New Cape Quarter because it’s relatively undiscovered, Cavendish Square because it’s usually tourist-free. 

Your fave SA and International Bloggers? 

Locally am loving and like everyone else in CapeTown, I always read I enjoy the boys on too, even though they don’t videoblog that often. They did my awesome blog design and have a way of making the tech side of blogging very accessible. 

Internationally, to be honest the only blogger that keeps me coming back for more is Perez Hilton, because I enjoy his new music finds and am fascinated by the whole obsessive celebrity culture – I just can’t get enough of watching what people do for fame and how it is a currency in itself. I’m fascinated by how the media builds up these personalities and then tears them down – and the personalities are in on it and the public thinks the joke is on the celebrities, but really, it’s on the public. I’m obsessed with it. It’s real-time life-as-art. 
I’m also fascinated by great commercial art, in music, movies and literature. Independent music and film culture doesn’t interest me – I find the superstar phenomenon, gross commercial success to be the most fascinating, and the most difficult to achieve. People seem to have this idea that it’s easy to ‘make it commercially’ but if it was, everyone would be doing it right? 

Great stuff, thanks Alex! You can visit her here and see all her flickr pics here.  Do you read Cape Town Girl? Is there an SA blogger you'd like me to shine the spotlight on? Let me know in a comment below. Thanks! x



Anonymous said...

great inty!!!!

Lauren said...


Mel said...

Alex is too beautiful and too cool. This interview was phenom. I love and heart this, so technically I really really like this post. Nice Lauren!

Lauren said...

Thanks Mel! I appreciate all your lovely comments, sweet. x

Miss Molly said...

another amazing inty! loved reading it Lauren!

Jeannaz said...

Nice interview. Always like to read about fellow Cape Town bloggers haha