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Beauty & ambition

Beauty & ambition

Leandra Ungerer was involved in the world of modelling for most of her life before pursuing a career and settling down in Vryheid.

Leandra Ungerer is well acquainted with the world of modelling, but as the years went by, she swapped her crowns for a full time career in finance and a family. “Becoming a wife and a mother is the most fulfilling job I’ve ever had.”
She was born and raised in Newcastle, and it is there that the doors to beauty opened up to her. “During school holidays I would go to Cape Town, where a bunch of us would stay and do modelling work, audition for adverts and castings. The ‘house mother’ was also a model and knew the ins and outs of the modelling world. She would make sure we were fed and transported around. Those were fantastic years. The castings were a bit stressful, as you auditioned for roles with hundreds of other hopeful models. I was lucky enough to be chosen for a few national magazine shoots and also an MTV commercial. The only down side to the MTV commercial was that it was an international advert and was never aired in South Africa, so I never got to appreciate the final product. But it was a ton of fun to be involved in such a prestigious job.”
After completing school she set off for Cape Town where she stayed for three years. “I worked with the modelling agency I was involved with in my school years. I loved the independence. I did recruiting as well as administration work. Best of all is I got to be a ‘house mother’ to the young models when they came for school holidays. It was great to be on the other side of the equation.”

This Vryheid beauty describes herself as being a family orientated person, so life in the mother city got very lonely for her. “I’m very close to my family and it was painful for me to be away from them for such a long time. While I loved working at the modelling agency, I yearned to have my family closer to me.”
After three years, she decided to return to Newcastle. “It was good to be home and surrounded by the people I love, but I still needed to work.”
She was offered a position at a bank in Vryheid, which was still not Newcastle, but at least she was closer to home. “I worked at the bank for a couple of years before moving to a car dealership, where I work in finance.”
Her years working at the bank taught her valuable lessons on which she can continue building her career, but the bank gave her much more than that. “I met my husband while working at the bank. He is such an amazing person and I wouldn’t want to wake up next to anyone else for the rest of my life.”

people are always there for each other and ready to help

Vryheid has been good to this young mother. “In the nine years I have been here, I’ve married the man of my dreams, had two beautiful children and started building on a wonderful career.”
What she loves most about Vryheid is the people. “We have made great friends here. If there is one thing Vryheid is known for, it’s their community; people are always there for each other and ready to help.
When I look at the relationships my friends in the city have with their community, it really makes me grateful for what we have here.”

When weekend arrives, the Ungerer family loves to be outdoors. “We are outdoor people, we love our country, the sunshine, the landscapes and the friendly people.” And when they are outdoors, they enjoy nothing more than to sit around a fire and enjoy a braai with their friends. “We braai whatever we feel like, mostly mutton chops and wors or a juicy piece of steak. When we get together with friends, we all bring a salad. One of our friends makes the most delicious broccoli salad. But you will find braai broodtjies, potato salad, toss salad and something special for the children afterwards like roasted marshmallows. Braai is something for everyone to enjoy, so everyone should be included, from the grown-ups to the children.”
When they have to escape for a holiday away, they enjoy the seaside. “We just love camping, so we find the perfect camping site and set up somewhere the children can have a blast and we have a spectacular view. There is just nothing quite like finally sitting in your camp chair with a cold drink overlooking the beautiful ocean, while the children laugh and play around the camp site.”

 I look up to him and find inspiration in his strength

Leandra appreciates every day she gets to spend with her family. “We came very close to losing my father while I was at school. He has become my role model, the embodiment of strength and perseverance. He suffered a long and dangerous illness that he took years to recover from, but he never lost faith, he soldiered on no matter how hard it was. I look up to him and find inspiration in his strength. We also came very close to losing our own little girl, but we fought hard and kept our faith. This is why I appreciate every day we have together as a family. I see it this way; enjoy today, because tomorrow is promised to no one.”


Northern KZN & Midlands Get It July 2018

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