Clarendon High School grade 11 pupil Sarah-Jayne Johnson, 17, has not let her dyslexia stop her from pursuing a successful modelling career.
Johnson said she first started modelling in order to improve her self-confidence.
“The first time I was on the ramp, I knew modelling was for me.
“[Just Models Modelling Academy owner] Davianne Blignaut inspired me and told me I could achieve anything I wanted to in life if I believed I could,” Johnson said.
At the time of writing, she had taken part in three competitions:
- PNA Ultimate Performer 2018, where she came first in the Modelling category;
- Miss Eastern Cape Beauty With a Purpose 2019, where she made First Princess, and;
- Miss Teenager SA 2020, where she has been chosen as a finalist.
She has also taken part in a number of shows such as the Hemingways Mall Bridal Fair, WSU Fashion Walk and Buyel’Ekhaya.
“I am involved in a number of outreach programmes and one day soon I would like to start my own foundation,” said Johnson.
“I am the brand ambassador for PNA Stationers EL and am also part of their Superhero Team. I do various outreach programmes with them such as going to the Choc Foundation, Canaan Care Centre, Norman Goosen Memorial Soup Kitchen, Guardians of Hope and various other organisations.”
Johnson said she is organising a “clean your closet” drive, a school shoes and shirt drive as well as a collection for Guardians of Hope.
Johnson was diagnosed with dyslexia when she was in Grade 6 after being tested by an educational psychologist.
“Being dyslexic for me means that my mind works faster than my mouth and I sometimes think too fast, which causes me to mumble and get lost in my thoughts.
“I know what I want say in my head, but it comes out differently when I say it.
“I also battle understanding what I read, as I need the words to be spoken out to me. My eyes don’t map the sentences and words out correctly,” she said.
“I have built my own coping mechanisms over the years, it’s about finding another way to learn. Sometimes it’s hard, but I just push myself to get through the battles.
“My mom helps me a lot with this. I write all my speeches, then my mom sits with me and reads through each sentence so I can hear it, then we work on it together so that it flows and makes sense.”
“None of this would have been possible without my mom. She has helped and guided me every step of the way.
“She supports me in ways I can’t even describe.”