"If you base your self-worth off Instagram, you've failed life." There is widespread belief that with age comes wisdom - with the mistakes we make along the way, the choices and lessons that shape the people we become. But there is beauty in the honesty of youth, sharp and unfiltered, full of a different kind of emotional intelligence and observation, eyes not yet jaded by the trials of adulthood. Enter 17-year-old Thabani and Makhosi Mpofu - twins, models, students and big-picture thinkers from Canberra. "Your internet presence is kind of like a resume," explains Thabani when we meet the pair in the studio. "It lets people see who you are in a sense and what you do. At the same time it's not good to get too absorbed by it ... the internet is a platform to connect with people and showcase yourself and things you’re proud of, or find interesting, but I think so many people use it as a massive ego boost," he muses. "Which I think is frankly, mad stupid."
"We seem to come as a unit in many cases and that allows us to have a sort of “us against the world” mentality, at least in the modelling industry." - Thabani Mpofu
Born and raised in the ACT, the pair feel their personalities and upbringing were shaped by their city. "Canberra is a quiet city, but not nearly as boring as people make it out to be. There’s a lot of great minds here and frankly I think it’s one of the best cities in the world to grow up in," says Makhosi. "It's a really quiet yet beautiful place," agrees Thabani. "To find anything ‘cool’ in this city is quite a task, but when you do it makes it extra rewarding. The fact that we didn't have everything readily available to us made us develop wider and ‘cooler’ interests." Interests such as taking time behind the camera for Makhosi ("shooting videos and video art ... I also produce music which is something I’m trying to work on more") and adding to an ever growing tattoo menagerie for Thabani ("I'm a Hello Kitty fiend, so you can always find some memorabilia of that on me").
"I’m not interested in communicating with people that are caught up in themselves and their own personalities, although I have endless love for passionate, eccentric people." - Makhosi Mpofu
Capricorns by the stars (though the pair don't read too much into modern astrology), they both admit that 'hardworking' is a staple in their lexicons. We captured them for our recent Make History Men's issue, but with those striking cheekbones and staunch belief in personal authenticity, the pair's stock is going nowhere but skyward. "I feel like at this point Makhosi and I have definitely made a breakthrough of some kind but I have a dream of us doing so much more," admits Thabani. "I think my brother and I have a lot more to offer the industry and even taller heights to reach ... I don't think we've had our big break quite yet but it's on the horizon."
"I think modelling definitely gave me more drive in life to pursue my dreams. If a lame kid from Canberra like me can become a model, surely I can do other things I never thought possible." - Thabani Mpofu
PHOTOGRAPHY Sarah Adamson
FASHION Natalie Petrevski and Ellen Presbury
TALENT Thabani and Makhosi Mpofu @ IMG
HAIR Madison Voloshin @ Vivien’s Creative using R+Co
MAKEUP Corinna Wilmshurst using Giorgio Armani Beauty
STYLIST’S ASSISTANT Gigi Perry