THREADS: Misha and Sizwe in the city of a hundred lovers

Culture, Threads

Linking up with one of Auckland’s cutest couples Misha and Sizwe before they appeared together at New Zealand Fashion Week 2019, it was a surprise to learn this would be Misha’s first ever interview. The couple talk to S E R U M about what it’s like being Kiwi but also originating from another country, dating in the spotlight and also being boujee on a budget: 

How did Not For You Clothing come across you two when they were casting for their  NZFW/2019 show? 

Misha: Just Instagram and DM

Sizwe: Most of our works through Instagram 

And for you two it would be often hey? 

Sizwe: This one (points at Misha). 

Misha: Just promoting stuff  

How did that start for you? 

Misha: I just enjoy taking photos and dressing up  and stuff, then occasionally like brands will just hit me up to promote their clothing, from there it just got bigger and bigger. Random brands would start inviting me to events and stuff, I honestly don’t know what the heck, I wasn’t expecting it but I guess promoting on Instagram is the new way of advertising. 

Who’s the biggest one that you were like wow, cool. 

Misha: Fashion Nova.

Where were you when you got that DM?

Misha: I was just on my bed and I saw the DM from this lady, it was actually just Fashion Nova who DM’d me, I’ve never worn their clothes before or DM’d them so when I saw that notification I was just like what the heck and my heart started racing, I screenshot it and put it on my story, then Seez screenshot it and put it on his story too pretending he got sponsored [they both laugh out loud] but yeah that was so cool. 

So how does it work when you model an item for them? 

Misha: They just asked for my address, I choose a few items from their website and I have to post a picture within four weeks of receiving the item.

So not an issue

Misha: Yeah nah it’s pretty easy, its my hobby, so yeah.

Do they pay you for that girl?

Misha: Fashion Nova doesn’t, like big brands like that they just have heaps of stock, but small brands like New Zealand brands do. 

Ohhh who are the Kiwis let’s always support our local! 

Misha:  There’s Premium Clothing, me and Seez are both sponsored by that, it’s a New Zealand brand and Australia, then there’s Bambi Boutique we’ve been to a few events of theirs and Benefit Cosmetics NZ they’ve sent me some stuff too and then we’re walking for Not For You Clothing today too.

What took you to the States recently was that for modelling?

Misha: Oh I got sent to the States to be in a Snoop Dogg music video. 

So that’s still done through Instagram?

Misha: So for Instagram I was getting heaps of brands and heaps of emails from brands trying to organise something and this man from Instagram DM’d me, he’s now my manager and was the one who got me the opportunity to go in the Snoop Dogg video. He answers all my emails for clothing brands and stuff and organises a price because I suck at that, I just do everything for free and he’s like, ‘No you have to make money off it.’  

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Miss u LA 🌴💄

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So you’re slowly learning the business side of it as well? 

Misha: Yeah I’m like ‘OMG you can make money off it like Instagram is a real job’!

Sizwe: I wouldn’t say I am an influencer but if those opportunities come by, especially with this one, there are people that want us to work as couples and all that, modelling. I guess through me shooting my fits on Instagram and then opportunities will just come like, ‘Oh this guy knows how to rock his clothing.”  

For you, Insta’s not just rocking clothing though hey, you’re also a rapper. 

Sizwe: Nah, it ‘s me trying to build an image but it all goes around music. If I was to get fly or anything or put on any piece of clothing I’d hope that they’d be like ‘Oh this guy’s cool let’s go  check out his page’ and then find out that my main focus is music. 

So for you, when you wake up in the morning and you’re thinking about what to wear, what does your appearance do for your mood or vibe in the morning when you’re planning for that day?

Sizwe: I always try, I don’t want to look like anyone else. I want to put on something like when I walk down the street it will stay in your mind forever even if they just see me once and I’ve had people tell me that, then that’s a successful fit to me like, ‘Oh you’re that guy that was wearing this and that’. Someone once told me, ‘You’ve got that kind of look that will stay in my mind for like 10 years’ and that’s when I was like, ‘I like this shit, I like what I’m doing’. 

Since then working with Jet was a big one for you, too? 

Sizwe: Jet was a big influence, the biggest thing he told me was, in fashion and dressing there should be a theme. You’ve got to try and have a theme with it so that was the biggest thing, he told me but obviously he’s designing and stuff, he always put me in his clothes which is cool and I love helping out young people who are designing. 

Because it is a passion aye it’s not just.. like about clout and shit… if I was to sum up your style like real quick I would say like…. hood gothic…

Sizwe Yeah! Hood goth definitely. 

What about you girl..

Misha  Hmmmm, how do clothes define Misha…

Sizwe: Baddie 

Misha : Yeah just going for that bad bitch Insta baddie or Bratz Doll…just like what you see on Instagram that’s what I wanna be in real life.

Do y’all mostly get support for what you’re doing? 

Misha: Mostly support yeah but it does attract unwanted attention just for standing out and stuff.

Sizwe: Yeah 

Can we talk about those things a bit more?

Misha: Yeah sure, me personally because I am Indian there’s not  a lot of girls who wear, I guess we will say revealing clothing so there’s a lot of Indian people that will look down on me but then the majority are Indians who look up to me because there’s the sense that they can wear whatever they want and not hold back…Young girls mostly that’s my main audience, young Indian girls and that’s cool that I can inspire them, so yah.

It’s cause you’re challenging barriers or old school restrictions hey

Misha: Yeah even with my own parents and stuff they would not approve of my outfits until they saw that I could create a platform and stuff out of it and now they just approve of it it’s all they can do but they don’t really say anything too.

Sizwe: Yeah just let you walk outside and pretend they didn’t see it.

Misha: Yeah they let me walk out the door. 

Lol were there times where there times where they wouldn’t approve?

Misha: Yeah they’d just be like, ‘What are you wearing’!?

Are you from New Zealand? 

Misha: I was born in India and so I moved here when I was one so I was brought up here as a Kiwi.

Sizwe: I’m from Auckland, born and raised here but I’m from South Africa, I’m part Indian too – my dads Indian, I don’t know my dad  I wasn’t raised with him, I was raised in a South African household – always been in Auckland Great North Road, Avondale ways, Waterview. 

Would you guys called yourself third culture kids? 

Sizwe: Nah 

Kiwis

Sizwe: Definitely Kiwis but with my culture – I don’t know my mum didn’t never force culture on me .

Misha:  Same as me like my parents moved here so I could grow up with this sort of culture like be more free, I guess. 

Sizwe: Yeah same to be honest

Yeah cause it’s your generation now that get to kinda make those rules and forge that identity for the future 

Sizwe: Yeah I don’t know how to explain that too but I get what you mean – I know exactly what you mean my mum –  it’s just not forced on me – but as an immigrant I don’t know, you’d expect us to hold that like that South African Indian thing,  but I don’t know if it’s just never been pushed on to me.

I feel like a lot of us in those positions take on dress and pop culture, as our culture, like it goes a lot deeper than just material on your body it’s another way to make your own identity right? 

Sizwe: As soon as I noticed that and started going on the gram and noticing and getting into fashion I started feeling like I can do this, I can make my own culture, I can make my own wave I just felt like it could be my own thing and all my people, my family overseas they see that and they’re fine with it and all that.

What are you hoping the youth will pick up from you as a popular person? 

Sizwe: I guess with my music I feel like …the kids need to say it at a young age. When I started – I met you when I was 14  – I was just talking through my music and with the dress code I think, dress however you want and not let age be a limit.

Cause in New Zealand you can right?

Sizwe: Yeah cause like it’s real hard shopping in New Zealand, like finding pieces. 

Misha: That’s so true.

Sizwe: Getting to know your local designers and all that is like being in touch with what’s next and what your local designer’s gonna put up, I think the kids should be involved in that because I don’t know where to shop in New Zealand, like I really don’t.

Where do you shop? 

Sizwe: Online or through friends like I went to Australia and went through heaps of my mate’s designs, so I just got heaps of his shit.

Is it because you’re just not into what NZ has got?

Sizwe: I was to go to the store and get something right now it would be like an Adidas tracksuit at the most. They just don’t have what you want here. In Oz it goes harder but not really here I can’t find anything here – what is there like Loaded?

How do you guys feel like paying $300 for a pair of jeans, I think that’s on average what you pay here for ‘style’…

Misha: Nah bougie on a budget that’s what I like to go by. 

Sizwe you’ve just signed to Gallatino I mean aesthetically they’d be one of the most on point in NZ so far, I’d say…

Sizwe: True Tapz and Mzwetwo, I think they put me on because they needed someone young and in touch with the internet I don’t even know how to put a name on their swag but Otis has had my back forever, he was the one who put me in the studio first and as soon as I linked with Tapz and worked on my new shit ‘Why’, I’ve just dropped ‘Why’, I’ve seen more opportunities come through to do with music. Otis is a good manager he’s cool and Tapz is just like the best big brother, I just wanna be like Tapz to be honest I’ve always looked up to Tapz he’s just always travelling I wanna do what he does. 

That’s the plan? 

Sizwe: That’s the plan for sure. 

Now that ‘Why’ has come out what can your people’s look for next?

Sizwe: Album, more tracks this year. 

This year?

Sizwe: This year…Nah I promise this year we looking at like December.

And also… couple question, being a couple dating  both definitely have got Instagram heat, whats that like? 

Misha: I’ve always wanted it like I can’t picture myself with someone who isn’t into dressing up and flexing and stuff so Seeze is just like,  we enjoy it, it’s our hobby. 

Sizwe: I mean we’re just like the same people, she’s like the girl version of me I’m the boy version of her. It always takes us hours and ages to get dressed because we’re so fucken picky with our outfits.

And you do it together? 

Sizwe: Yeah we do it together  we rate outfits she’s like, ‘nahh you can’t wear that today, nah nah nah’…I love having someone who I personally think looks good and can see me get dressed too you know what I mean it’s probably the best part of it too.

Did  you think you’d find that with someone when you met her? 

Sizwe: Nah I didnt but to be honest when I saw it I was like ‘Nah I need that’.

And so it was like a long game thing or was it like ‘You, come with me’.. .

Sizwe: Nah that was exactly it, ‘you come with me’ literally. 

Misha: Yeah it was just like, you’re my girlfriend now, he never asked me out  he just said ‘okay now you’re my girlfriend’ (lols) And I’m just like, what, like ask me out but it’s cool.

Sizwe: The exact words was like ‘I’m ready to be loyal’ that’s it.

Misha: Yeah I was just like what, ‘what does that mean’…like what?

What’s it like dating a rapper

Misha: Omg it’s cool, yeah …But I’d like to go to a few shows and stuff, we’ll see, it’s cool when fans come up to him on the street. 

Sizwe: Being in Auckland it’s real small so getting your name out, I couldn’t imagine this much hype, like when we’re walking on the street people stop us like someone just stopped us on the way here.

Misha: It’s like why me you know I just take selfies and people come up to me to get photos like, huh. 

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She wanna dinner d8 w gallantino

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Is it a bit awkward to have that much attention? 

Misha: No it’s cool but you always just feel like..

Seez: I love it, it’s cool  

Misha: Yeah I love it too …

Sizwe: I wouldn’t say ‘Why me’ I feel like I worked a bit and got a reason.  

Misha: Yeah he’s a musician so I get why he receives that much attention, but I’m just an influencer so I didn’t expect it . But I obviously love all the positive attention and support, it means a lot.

Is there a difference between an influencer and a model? 

Misha: Yeah there’s a huge difference. Models aren’t their own boss, as they never have a say in how they want to look. However, I always get to choose the clothing I promote and I can always do my makeup how I want which basically means I’m always guaranteed to feel comfortable and confident knowing I’m being myself.

So you get to make your own rules in a way? 

Misha: Basically that’s what I wanted to do, I don’t want to be with an agency but I’ve modelled for a few boutiques and stuff.

What is it about an agency you don’t vibe with?

Misha: They won’t let me do my own makeup and stuff, I like the way I do my eyelashes, little things.

Who are the top five people that influence you guys style wise?

Sizwe: Kanye, Kid Cudi, Playboi Carti, Jet and my mum, just with emotions and dealing with life.

Is clout chasing important: 

Misha: No?! What. 

Sizwe: I noticed the difference between clout  chasing and being hungry, I think being hungry is important I could say clout chasing and the best example of it is like fake fuckign with people, or fake showing love or just riding waves and all that – that’s not cool like that’s not important but being hungry is definitely important and letting people know that you’re hungry is definitely important, I like showing people that I’m hungry.  

And what 3 tracks would you put on your own runway playlist: 

Misha: Aw yeah that Lady Gaga one, ‘walk walk fashion baby’….

Sizwe: Yeah what’s that one called again – is it Bad Romance?

Misha: Paparazzi! I’d have like Nicki Minaj,  any of her songs hey, she just puts me in some sort of mood. 

Sizwe: Okay, Paparazzi Lady gaga, Kanye West  Black Skinhead and Kid Cudi Dance for Eternity.

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Best friend 🧸

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Yo, have you guys practiced your walks? 

Misha: We were just doing that walking across the road like ‘try not smile’, when we on our way here actually. 

Anything I haven’t asked you that you want people to know about modelling, rapping, being a couple or being cute in general..

Sizwe: Respect women, dress how you feel.

Misha: Be confident. 

Sizwe: Definitely always do your best, give it your all and make an effort to make people smile during the day, love your parents especially if you’re an immigrant you gotta like know, you gotta know how much your parents did to get you here and not let them down. That’s got to be my biggest part and that’s my inspiration I always think about what my mum did to get me here from South Africa and that just gets me out of bed everyday. 

DIASPORA: Meer makes waves for Arab women in rap music

Culture, Interview, Music

Rapper Meer is a young woman living in Australasia. Having just moved to Sydney from Auckland to be with the love of her life she says she appreciates a man who respects a woman going after her potential. “I want to make a mark as an Arab woman – I want people to know what an Arab is. I want Middle Eastern to be a part of the selection when you choose where you’re from,” she says.

Born in Dubai, she came to New Zealand when she was five years old. Having always used writing as an important outlet, especially when it comes to her mental health and positive well being, she says eventually making a rap song became an obvious choice. “The first time I went up on that stage I couldn’t explain it, it was something magical, that feeling I got, I couldn’t get anywhere else and I was addicted.”

Although her lyrical content can get quite heavy theme-wise she says “I want people to scream my name on that stage I want people to know my lyrics, I  want to touch people in ways that they have never..that sounds weird…I want to affect people emotionally through my music, in ways they’ve never been before.”

‘You messing with a bad bitch’ goes the hook of her most recent video release Pomegranate. But, she says “I’m not really an intense person – I’m such a kid – the person you see on stage is someone who feels powerful and wants to prove it but the person I am when I get off stage is powerful and I don’t have to prove it. Even though there’s a lot of intense content, people might think it’s too much.. Do you think?”

A GAME OF SKATE with Too’OnPoint

Culture, Interview

One brief decider using paper, scissors, rock, then twin brother Shingi Murare kicks off a ‘Game of Skate’ match versus his brother Muche, the pair known as Too’OnPoint  meet me at their local park in Flatbush, Barry Curtis Park. 

ALEYNA: So you guys grew up around here? I’m filming you.

SHINGI: Oh shit, yeah we did, we grew up like…. we’d skate 20 minutes down the road before they built this, everyday after school. Weekends I’d be here  first thing in the morning. It’s still probably one of the best skate parks in Auckland, but we didn’t have that much back then…Til we begged the council.

ALEYNA: Who’s we?

SHINGI: Like a lot of us, like the local skate shop as well

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ALEYNA: Which is?

SHINGI: Boardertown, my brother works there. So even though I got into music and shit, skating’s still …before I wanted to be a musician I wanted to be a proskateboarder. I was really passionate about it, now it’s just fun like what you do for exercise and to have fun, before, I took it too seriously.

MUCHE: And then it’s not fun.

ALEYNA: When did you come across the show Epicl’y Latered and what did you like about it?

SHINGI: It would’ve been almost 10 years ago now we would’ve still been in intermediate school just learning how to skate then the show Epicl’y Latered was something new and refreshing. You got a peek into their personal lives as well as an in depth interview on skate culture. It put a personal attachment to my favourite skateboarders which intern motivates you to scare you even harder it’s almost like a musician watching their favourite musicians biography you know.

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ALEYNA: So where are you guys from?

MUCHE: Harare, Zimbabwe

ALEYNA: And how old were you when you came here?

MUCHE: Bout 2002, I was seven.

ALEYNA: So you went to school out here?

MUCHE: Yeah, Elm Park Primary.

 

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ALEYNA: Wait where are we?

SHINGI: We’re in Flatbush but we grew up round the east like Pakuranga

ALEYNA: So first memories of skating, how did it start?

MUCHE: Just seeing my mates back in intermediate and my friends would skate and I’d just watch clips of them doing like kick flips and shit skating and be like bro how do you do that.

SHINGI: I got me a little $10 skateboard from the Warehouse and shit, it could barely ride.

ALEYNA: So you loved it that much that  just put up with that? What was the first board you bought?

SHINGI: Yeah for a little bit and then I got like a proper skate board, I think my first one was a Flip, Geoff Rowley.

MUCHE: I think the first board I bought was a Zero cause I loved Chris Cole.

SHINGI: I was real poor and shit so I couldn’t afford to buy a board and shit for over $100, so I’d always cop second hand skateboards…once in a blue moon I’d buy a board.

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ALEYNA: So is this your stomping ground?

MUCHE: Yeah

 

SHINGI: Oi legit, we were probably the reason why they built this park…

ALEYNA: What’s that story?

MUCHE: Um so if you go back maybe a kilometre that way we used to be fucking little shits always just going there  skating up, the shop owners would complain and shit , we’d skate all the local schools, they’d always complain there was like 20 of us and we’d always just go and skate together so they got pretty pissed off about that after a while.

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SHINGI: We even did a petition and they put like 700k into it or something.

MUCHE:  There was like, One News or something came out here when it was still getting built and they got us all to come through and ask, ‘Oh what do you guys think about this park?’ But bro we needed this to be honest like where else were we gonna skate? You’re [the council] not providing facilities for the youth to go kick it at type thing.

SHINGI: And the public transport system is so trash.

MUCHE: It’s hard to get to other parks.

SHINGI: To get to skatepark would take you half a day.

MUCHE: But now it’s like legit, this place is probably a home for a lot of people who have grown up around here, it’s needed.

ALEYNA: So skating, as brothers that’s something that you’ve always done together?

MUCHE: Yeah and my other brother, he’s better than us, he’s fuckin good (laughs).

SHINGI: Yeah he’s fucking good aye, so good.

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ALEYNA: What is it you love about skating, is it like something you can do as a family, as brothers like isn’t some of this shit scary?

SHINGI: It is but it’s fun like ..the risk.

MUCHE: The way I see it it’s like confidence building , if I was gonna go do that 10 right, like that I’ve never done in my life but if I was going to go do it I would probably run up like five times and then come to a point where you’re like I’m actually going to do it this time and that’s when the adrenaline kicks in before you do it and then once you do it, it’s like ‘Oh my god it wasn’t that hard’ and then you go try it again you know but like getting over that mental barrier of  it’s ‘just a 10 stair’ or  ‘it’s just an olly’ type thing gets me, I dunno. Sometime you could be out there trying a trick for a whole fucking day and you’re not going to get it, but you’re still, every time you fall down and fuck yourself up you’re going to get back up and try again you know.

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SHINGI: Cause you want it that bad…

MUCHE: And then you get it one time and then that one time made up for the whole day’s worth of work  you know so yeah it’s a good feeling,

ALEYNA: So do you guys reckon  that define loving something or just your drive and character?

SHINGI: Definitely defines loving something.

MUCHE: Loving something because fuck, you got to put up with the bad times you know what I mean just for those small moments of hope but it’s worth it in the end.

SHINGI: It’s the feeling of achievement that’s so satisfying even if you do something one day you’ll be like fuck ok, if I can do that then the possibilities are just endless

MUCHE: It just makes you like, I’m going to take it to the next level.

ALEYNA: Do you help each other train or learn?

MUCHE: Game of Skate, we should play a gam of skate now…

SHINGI: It’s like what’s that game on the basketball court…Donkey.

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Review: Raiza Biza- Winter Solace

Music

Good music can remind you of a perfect moment— and a great song is seductive enough to leave you with that memory for life. In an interview with Jay-Z and Zane Lowe, for the BBC, Jay-Z said: I wouldn’t do an album just to mark a season. On the flip-side Oddisee did it. And when he did, he got his followers and the underground excited. Raiza Biza’s latest offering for a cold New Zealand winter, sounds like his Summer. EP in chill mode. It’s also his style honed in; as he is making improvements both sonically and creatively. From beginning to end, it’s a sexy, warm offering for shivery listeners. Hopefully this season you have a lover to appreciate this album with…or for.

Producers choiceVaughan, Thee Tony Douglas, Jay Knight, Iron Will, Crime Heat, Tausani, Myele Manzanza, Jordo Hornblow and Nu-Vintage all have beats featured and Raiza’s artistry on verse tie them all together superbly.

From the opening song you can tell ‘Winter Solace’ is the theme but it doesn’t deter an air of intelligence and personal honesty laced on-verse. Raiza reps for his crew Ammo Nation and being the A$AP or Kendrick of his team is a position he takes seriously. Also connected with Young Gifted and Broke, Biza strikes an ideal balance between his boys and his professional world. On ‘Winter Solace’ he talks about lovers, the cold, personal reflection and the reality of being a real person having to keep a 9-5 job whilst trying to pursue his music; though the age-old theme of a struggling artist is not tedious when Raiza uses it. There’s surely a song in there you’ll click with on this release and if you’re a listener who just likes the vibes then Raiza’s latest offering is definitely for you.

Shouting out love for his people in Wellington, Biza will be back down in the capital opening for Kev Brown Saturday, September 14th. Yes, Wellington loves Raiza back. As the winter has roped me into listening to 90’s R&B warmth like Raheem Devaughn, Ginuwine, John Legend and Musiq Soulchild; Winter Solace has the perfect vibe to reset me back to my first love: Hip Hop.

Check out: You Make Me, First Light

Download Winter Solace HERE.