powercouple emile samson razia samson interviews

October 2016. Interview by Marelise Jacobs. Cover: Emile and Razia - Photograph supplied.

During the month of October Perkolate is focusing a little more on what it takes to make it in the business world. And what better place to start than South Africa's first Power Couple, Emile and Razia Samson. Not only are they successful professionals in the fashion industry and reality television stars, they excel as a family unit by living their values. They took some time off their busy schedules to talk to us about what makes them so successful as a couple.

Being a driven individual is one thing, being a driven couple makes it a whole new dynamic. Who is the main motivator between the two of you?

Emilse and Razia: We are equally motivating in different measures at any given time. This is what helps us to get along well with one another. When one of us are flat the other is there to help him up and vice versa.

“...This little sacrifice in our lives has helped us have more time to talk and instill values of togetherness...” - Emile and Razia Samson

What has changed most about yourselves since you first met until where you find yourselves today, individually and as a couple?

Emile: Yoh, this is a hectic question. Becoming less selfish is a big thing that has changed since I initially met Razia. She astounds me time after time with her ability to look beyond herself and her best interests in most situations. I admire this about her and over the years she’s rubbed off on me.

Razia:When we were dating it was just about Emile and I. Since then, being a wife and a mother has taught me life lessons which I would never have experienced had I not met Emile and had kids. Putting Emile and our daughters’ well-being and everyday needs above my own is a reality for me now. When you become a mother your perception of love and your ability to love changes completely.

Emile and Razia:We’ve always been very spontaneous people, even shortly into our relationship. When we met, Razia and I lived in different cities. This is why she had to return to Joburg after meeting and spending about four days with me in Cape Town. About one month and some change later, Razia surprised me at work.

The apex of it all was that she had decided to move to Cape Town so that we could banish the long-distance thing. This move of Razia has lit the spontaneity-thread in our relationship and it's most likely why we embarked on auditioning for Power Couple SA in 2015.

We have matured as a couple, we are much more considerate of how we react to different situations and we have learned how to just keep quiet especially in the heat of the moment when you just want to explode regarding certain normal day-to-day issues.

Emile, what drives your passion for fashion, where did it start?

Emile: Fashion is a concept that will always intrigue me. There is something about working in the fashion retail industry that is overtly dynamic.

I recall the first day I got on to ‘the floor’ at Levi’s in Cavendish Square, Claremont. It was as if I discovered a home away from home. The rustic wood incorporated in to the shop fitting, the tall columns of pristinely folded 501-01-14s, the newly launched Engineered Jeans, and the amazing music playing while you chat to shoppers, were things that sent my thinking to new levels.

The serious impression this experience made was probably because I grew up hearing my Mom and Aunts constantly talking about the “colours that are in now”. My grandmother was a seamstress in Stellenbosch, at a firm that produced the Paul Roos School Secondary School learners’ blazers. She also found a collaborative opportunity in combining her crocheting skills with her floral arrangement prowess – this beautifully artistic outpouring had her win countless competitions and awards.

Being in the fashion retail industry is rewarding and satisfying, and many more should look at it as an opportunity to shape an amazing career path. With passion and diligence, you will eventually find yourself making decisions that not only have a positive impact on your department’s outputs but the economy of the country that you’re based in. How you choose to tackle each day, and the attitude you have while you’re at it will be directly proportionate to how you enjoy your work life.

Razia, where did your love for fashion start, who influenced you most along the way and how does your modeling experience influence or help with your recruitment in the fashion industry?

Razia: My love for fashion started when I was very young. My late gran was a seamstress and my mother did her own share of sewing when I was much younger.

As a little girl, most of my Saturdays were spent in fabric shops looking at materials, pattern books, the assortment of buttons, zips and cotton. I would pick out my own pattern and fabric and my mom would sew the garment for me. I loved helping her pin the pattern onto the fabric. In high school I came up with my own designs and challenged my mom to sew them. We would often argue about it but she was definitely my biggest influence growing up. I would also spend hours in her stiletto’s, modelling up and down in her bedroom.

More than my years of modelling, my experience in working in fashion retail stores and later co-owning a boutique with Emile have empowered me in my daily tasks of recruitment in the fashion industry. I find that I have incredible insight into what the clients’ needs and preferences are.

My elaborate fashion retail background has enabled me to find the most suitable candidates every time. Culture-fit is crucial for the client which is always in the back of my mind when I am meeting with candidates and getting to know them better.

How does your success as a couple translate into the family unit? Are you a competitive family and what are the values you as a family live by?

Emile and Razia: Our daughters are really close to us. We’ve drastically minimized their TV exposure for about five years now and this has given us the opportunity to really spend time together at the end of each work- and school-day.

There’s an old school TV in the girls’ room which is used only to play DVDs. We don’t watch any of South Africa’s local network channels and we don’t do pay-TV neither.

This little sacrifice in our lives has helped us have more time to talk and instill values of togetherness and appreciation for one another. The biggest successes are the smallest things. Those moments when naturally you’re meant to be mad about something the kids did but you stay calm and carry on.

Our values are simple. Love each other, treat others the way that you would like to be treated, say sorry, do not fight with each other, do not go to bed if you are still angry, be kind and respect those around you – young and old.