IF there is one lesson we all should have learned in 2020, it's that nobody is perfect, and all that appears online and in the public space isn't always what is. As we shared and consumed more content on social media over the last few months, local public figures found it hard to keep their fingers off the record button as they tried to remain relevant in cyberspace. We watched the plug being pulled on power couples, we saw entanglements unravel before our eyes, and we did jury duty every night as court cases were tried on IG live.
But while many celebrities' and public figures' true colours have been revealed on social media, whether intentionally or not, there are still many more who manage to keep their façades intact for the public. It is only those closest to them, and those who have to interact with them with cameras off, who have seen them in their most natural state. Without naming names, these close contacts and associates of some of our most revered influencers and public figures tell what they are really like behind the scenes.
The dismissive media personality
“There is a popular media person who comes off as genuine and all that, but don't fall for the puppy dog eyes and sad stories. Maybe life dealt her the hand she got because of the way she was with people. Maybe if she treated people nicer, a different kind of omen would visit her. She is very dismissive, rude, cold and just oppressive on a personal level. One time she broke me down so much that I started doubting myself, but thank God I am strong and found the strength to leave the toxic place we both worked at.”
The potty-mouth politician
“I had a brief work relationship with a politician and well, I don't think it is much of a secret, but she uses a lot of colourful language. The biggest issue is not even that, though, it's that she is very obnoxious and treats subordinates poorly in general. When people go on and on about being glad to work with someone like her, I just roll my eyes and drop the fake smiles.”
One fib, two fibs
“I booked her at a hotel where an American actress was also staying. She asked me to take a picture of her with the actress, and I took the pic and headed back to the office. As I opened IG I saw that good sis had written a deep post about them meeting, when they had barely exchanged two words.”
A performer for Insta
“There's one woman who has a performative social media presence, and tells people that they can rise above anything. But good sis has never stepped outside of the soirée lifestyle, or contributed to any meaningful national discussions that empower women. It's all performative clothes and captions.”
There's a woman in a very respected profession who lives in my scheme, who tried to fight me over the holidays. She had invited herself into a discussion I was having with a few other people, and she barged in, and began shouting that because of her profession she knew more than everyone else even though nobody was talking to her. When I brushed her off and turned my back, I guess she got offended that I did not respect her 'significant' status in life (or the status she made up for herself in her head). She got heated, and out of the corner of my eye I saw this rotund woman barreling towards me, fists raised. I was shocked, because I'd only watched these things on Jerry Springer. She had to be held back by other people, and the whole time she was there telling them to let her go, as she wanted to beat the gyal. I was left wondering what happened to the woman who dressed up so nicely to go to work everyday, and who people were supposed to respect.”
“In real life, this one is not as glamorous as her Instagram page makes her seem. Were it not for make up and edited photos, she would not look that great in her posts.”
“This one is a real demon, but people wouldn't know because of her public persona, where she pretends to care about the less fortunate, especially women and girls who are marginalised. But she is horrible and unscrupulous, she name drops to puts fear into people, and will even go as far as to call your new job if you leave, to spread lies about you.”
The kids are not alright
“This woman purports to love kids, but she has zero respect for staff and will even dismiss kids who approach her for help, or even for an autograph. Once we were at an event involving some children who were supposed to be performing, and the children were nervous and kept stuttering and were not speaking fluently. She then turned to me, and said, 'I thought you said these kids were bright'.”
“This well-loved woman had just launched her business, and we were at an event with other business people, who had to join a line to hand in their documents. She decided she didn't want to stay in the line because she is who she is. When she was sent by a worker to join the line with an explanation for why she had to, she dismissed the worker and kept rolling her eyes...all because she had to stand in line like everyone else.”
Woman, not of God
This relative of mine calls herself a woman of God, and has a huge following of mostly poor congregants willing to give her their money because she claims to be a prophet. But we all know she's a fake, who is just using the church for financial benefit. She also lives with a man and isn't married, and has a couple kids in the country whom she has told no one about. But when she goes on the pulpit she's telling women to respect themselves, avoid fornication and remain chaste, when all the while she's the Jezebel.