#WIB-Q&A With International Model & Entrepreneur Ronette Marx

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1. Can you please tell us more about your business?

I am an international model, television personality and entrepreneur in the model and beauty industry. As an extremely ambitious individual, I always want to do more and be more. I never wanted just one basket of eggs! While my model agencies are in charge of managing my modelling schedule, I am in charge of building up the rest. I have been one of the partners of an events, staffing and promotion model agency called Models 4 Events, alongside owner Bertha Koster. 

This has been a passion project for years with my best friends and never felt like work. I am also the brand ambassador for the No 1 model search competition in the country, Opulent Models. A couple of years ago, through the inspiration of a friend of mine, I developed an interest and a passion for the Aesthetics industry. I was amazed at the transformations of simple treatments on my skin, and that was it! I was hooked. I started running a small aesthetic studio and was even honoured to have other actresses and celebrities come to me for treatments. We are now Skin Studio @ Coulee in Bryanston.

2. When, how and why did you start your business?

I was seen in a small town outside Bloemfontein at the age of 14 by a scout and signed with one of the biggest agencies in SA. At the age of 19 I signed with Body and Soul in Vienna, Austria, and walked many runways there. I loved Europe. I later got a 3-6 month paid model contract in India and in that period, I booked worked for the rest of the year! 3 years later, I was still there, working in the Bollywood scene. I will always think of Mumbai as my second home. I came back to do the Miss South Africa pageant in 2016, made the top 12 and met my now husband, race car driver Antonie Marx. I had to put my international modelling career on hold and quickly needed to become creative in finding new career paths.

This is when my friend Bertha, owner of Models 4 Events, asked me to join hands with them and open the Johannesburg branch. We are part of the most prestigious events and corporate conferences in the area today. The covid epidemic was extremely hard on me, personally. I was one of the unlucky ones who lost many, many loved ones. I needed a new dream, new fire, on top of all I was doing already. My friend Jean Mare is a brilliant somatologist and spa trainer. She often came to my house for treatments. She invited me to join an aesthetics training one day and I loved it so much. I am almost a qualified laser therapist and am now in the industry, and I love it!

3. What is your role in the business?

Over the years, in all the businesses I have been part of, I have always had the role as “business builder”. I have a passion for growth, spiritual, individual and professional growth. I always see a business as a person that needs to grow. I love networking and connecting with people and always have some crazy ideas that in the end, work well. I love the marketing side of things. How do we do things differently? How do we stand out? I am also a big risk taker.                              

4. Where did you study and what did you study?

I started studying BCOM Law at Unisa in my twenties, but quickly gave it up on my way to Bollywood. I did however, pick it up again about 2 years ago and will be graduating with a BCOM Law degree this month.  This was never to become a Lawyer, but to become the best businesswomen I can be. I needed to finish what I started, no matter what. When everything stopped in covid, it seemed like a great thing to do, to keep my momentum going.

After being inspired by aesthetics and deciding that laser was my field of interest, I immediately enrolled to become a laser therapist through a Belgium based college. I love the course. If I am going to be in the laser business, I need to know first hand how laser works. That is just how I am. My Christmas gift to myself this year is not one, but two qualifications. My grandfather studied until the age of 60. I have a feeling I will also continue studying in fields of interest!

5. How did you finance your business?

One step, one client at a time. I have not been so lucky to be able to start with investors and big loans. My dream was to get millions, open one or two laser clinics with tons of staff working for me. This doesn’t always work out for everyone. I had a beautiful premises at home and started there, one client at a time.  Later I had actresses and celebrities coming through. Start with your small business, get momentum going and once you have that, proof that your baby is doing well, the sky is the limit.

6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists.

Not one day in my life, is ever the same and this is exactly how I like to live it. A lot of things will pop up last minute especially in modelling. Castings get sent through the night before, or a couple of hours before. I must juggle many many things. It might seem strange, but I am also just your average mom! With the new premises, I will be taking my baby to school, head over to the skin studio @ coulee, focus on work and treatments, marketing and emails, juggle interviews, castings, shoots, my baby and my husband and his racing career. Most days it really is, keeping up with the Marx’s. Or trying to!

7. How do you balance your home life and your work life?

Becoming a mother, has made me admire women all over the world, again. The utter, utmost respect that I have for working moms, any mom with a career or the will to build one, can’t be measured. This has been one of my hardest things to work out in my new mommy role. How to balance it all? How to be there for everyone and not faint at the end of the day? How to not feel guilty for time away from your family? In my personal opinion, women have never been under more pressure than they are in this age. The world expects the perfect mom, wife, friend, influencer, have the perfect career, work from anywhere, make tons of money all while having the perfect body, haircut and looking gorgeous doing it!

For me personally, I make the balance a spiritual journey. Focus on your mental health and your wellbeing first. Put your oxygen mask on first. I have also had to force myself to prioritize. Before I had a baby I would work through the night, even with a big preggy belly I would work until 3am. Now, that important email, can wait 10 minutes, while I attend to my family. Put that phone down and give your full attention. I also had to learn to lean on others for support, something my pride never allowed me to do. I now happily phone my family for help, or message a friend when I need a bit of upliftment. Most of all, I turn to the big guy above for strength.  

8. What drives you and inspires you?

The word, NO. When people don’t believe in me or an idea I have. You won’t believe how many times I have been told no or encouraged to quit. “You are too old to model” – I am 35 and work my best at the moment.  “You are too old to do Miss SA at 26”-Today you can be 30 and enter, “You have to lose weight”-In my curvy days-when now curve modelling is an actual thing and my curves were celebrated in India. I can go on forever. I now dare people to doubt me, discourage me or look at me with a bit of doubt, that actually empowers me to break through and change it, not for them, but to prove it to myself. It is like I rebel against it and I absolutely love the fire it starts in my soul.

9. Where and when do you have your best ideas?

In two very different scenarios. The first is when I am super excited about something and invested in it with my whole heart, so much that I can’t stop thinking about it. I will then lie awake through the night with more and more ideas just bursting into my mind. Another is when I practice meditation. When I clear my mind. It might not happen when I meditate, but after the clutter is gone, the clarity creates a beautiful space for new ideas.

10. Where and how do you market/advertise your business for sales leads?

I love interactive community groups on social media platforms. Not just classified groups, but groups where we all actually talk and support each other. We have all lost touch with our communities through covid, and talking to others is not even important to most anymore. I love networking, word of mouth marketing and creating a client, friend, customer and connection for life.

11. What is next for your business?

Ultimate Growth! Assisting the brands I am affiliated with, with even more growth and networking opportunities as well as ideas and offering my support. They are already well-established businesses and expansion is the next step there. Opulent Models have already gone global with so many countries opening. For the Aesthetics brand, as mentioned before, the dream has always been to have a chain of clinics, with my personal stamp on it. As long as the modelling industry wants me, I will show up! I will be starting my international modelling career again in the next 2 years and work abroad again for various different model seasons. 

12. What advice would you give to female entrepreneurs hoping to start their own business?

Yes, you can!  Take that doubt and turn it into gold.  If you can do one small thing you doubted you could do, and actually do it, you will be unstoppable! The only person you need to prove anything to, is yourself.  You will then become addicted to turning doubt and fear into fire that feeds your goals! Run your own race, don’t look at how others do it, sadly sometimes you don’t even need their advice. Focus and focus, one small step at a time, and success will then be a natural result. Don’t be worried about competition and others already doing it. There is enough for everyone. You will have your group of followers, that love you and your brand, and they are all you need to focus on and market to. 

Short bio

Ronette Marx is an International Model, Television Presenter and Miss SA top 12 Finalist 2016). She was seen as a young farm girl in Bloemfontein by a “model scout” and started her professional modelling career at the young age of 14 in Cape Town with Storm Models.

After school, she modelled locally and then internationally, more specifically in India and Europe.

Ronette found her feet in Mumbai where she lived for about 3 years. Here she was present in several Bollywood Films and Music Videos, a model for several well-known campaigns and also a TV presenter for “THE SUPER TECHIES SHOW SEASON 3” which was recorded in Paris, France and Mumbai.

She returned to South Africa and was named part of Miss South Africa’s top 12 in 2016. The week after the pageant finale, she reunited with Antonie after years of meeting in school and fell in with the life of a racer.

Ronette is still represented by her modelling agency in Cape Town, The Circle Models, as well as by ICE Models in Johannesburg and Toabh in India.

She can be seen as the cover face of Leef Winter 2022 Magazine, the face of That’s It Boutique, Torga Optical, Milk and Honey clothing and many more. In India, she can still be seen today as the Dixcy Scott Slimz underwear girl with her pictures on merchandise and innerwear boxes in stores, online and on Amazon.

Ronette recently joined the Opulent Model Management team and model search competition as brand ambassador.  With her 20-year expertise she will be involved in starting and managing the careers of new faces looking to have a long and fruitful modelling career. 

She is married to National Racecar Driver Antonie Marx and mother to a one-year-old baby boy,  Alexei.

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