Even from such a young Director (29), Kyla already shows immense empathy in the work they do and is driven to shift the way we portray body types, race and gender in advertising. Their authentic take would be an asset to any brand wanting to connect with the real South Africa, specifically through representation. Growing up, Kyla never felt that the person they were or the people around them, was being represented back to them on screen. Kyla is now determined to find truth in their work from beauty and fashion to performance, music and characterisation.
Kyla credits a lot of their childhood to the Director they are today. Raised by mixed race parents in Cape Town, Kyla has always been curious about identity politics and how identity is portrayed in popular culture. Their father and mother, both working in the theatre and entertainment industry at the time, ignited a passion for storytelling in Kyla. Surrounded by a vibrant mix of diverse family and friends, Kyla’s home environment was always accepting and allowed them to develop a respect and empathy for human differences from a very young age.
IDIDTHAT: You’ve expressed how problematic representation in advertising is, so why get into it?
Kyla: Ha, yes to be completely honest I’ve always had some ethical issues with this industry, however my bleeding heart won’t pay the bills. Now that I am here I am hopeful that I will be able to affect some change to the industry.
IDIDTHAT: ‘Change the industry?’ Lay it on us! In what way?
Kyla: We need to start portraying real body types and show different races in different ways on screen more. I feel South Africa is also still very conservative when it comes to gender classification. Not a lot of people know about non-binary identity and I want to shift and change things like that by putting people like that in my work. I love pop culture from Europe and America, and of course I will always take references from there, but I want to try and help create our own standard of beauty here in South Africa.
IDIDTHAT: What ad do you think successfully challenges this ‘standard of beauty’ that we’ve traditionally been fed?
Kyla: I love Fausto Becatti’s Edgars Beauty campaign and I wish I did that ad. For me it was the best ad of 2019. We saw gender fluidity, real skin, real bodies. It was perfect to me.