Matie Voices

Janine Jellars

Alumna of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

“I’m a hobbyist and always have a side project or five on the go at any given time. I just love ‘creating’, even if I’m not getting paid to do it.”

Journalist, editor, author, content creator, social media influencer and entrepreneur—Janine Jellars slays each of the industries she takes on with flair.

“In a nutshell, I connect brands and consumers through the power of the internet,” Janine, who graduated cum laude from Stellenbosch University (SU) in 2004, explains.

“I consult with brands around how they can best target their ideal audience. My agency, TRUE Content, specialises in content and social media marketing.”

There have been many career highlights so far, including scooping major interviews and heading-up big global digital campaigns.

“I’ve done everything from editing seventeen magazine, to interviewing Michelle Obama and Rihanna, to launching a first-on-the-continent social media response centre for Coca-Cola.”

Janine describes social media as “a microcosm” of greater South African society.

“The accepted narrative—whether in traditional media, or heralded by traditional gatekeepers—is constantly being challenged. Younger South Africans are incredibly confident in stating their views and are rejecting the older generations’ attempts to placate them.

“There’s anger, debate, laughter, hope, community, and constant conversation. I truly feel like what we’re seeing on social media these days is both the best and the worst parts of our country.”

Elsewhere, she has also established herself as co-host of the popular podcast, Frank, as well as author of the book, The Natural Newbie Guide.

“I’m a hobbyist and always have a side project or five on the go at any given time. I just love ‘creating’, even if I’m not getting paid to do it. Frank, the podcast I executive produce and co-host, is a labour of love, a conversation between two feminist people with very different takes on the world. I think I’m proud that my creative partner, Tshego Senne, and I have managed to sustain the podcast for all these years.

“My book was borne out of the fact that natural hair is both a movement and a lifestyle. The Natural Newbie Guide is a one-stop guide for people interested in embracing their natural hair. It’s my way to consolidate some of my ‘hair knowledge’ and pass it along.”

Describing herself as someone who works hard, but also “hobbies hard”, away from business and being online, Janine likes to unplug by getting on a plane and travelling.

“Between passport stamps, I’m a voracious reader and I enjoy dining out.”

- By Steyn du Toit -