When The Filter Fades By Janine Jellars


There’s a hierarchy to fame – from the Real Celebs who sell their skills as actors and singers, to the Professionally Pretty (the garnish to any occasion), the Hashtag Hustlers, who range from influencers to the social media savvy, to the Hopeless Hangers-On. Everyone has their place in the ecosystem, and knowing your place in that hierarchy is half the fame game won.

For three young women in Joburg, the new age of internet celebrity presents them with obstacles, opportunities, opulence and a chance at fame, fortune and fierce fashion.


Through sheer ambition and force of will, Lin has rebranded her entire existence. She’s shrugged off her past to fully embrace a new identity: Linfluencer, the high-end influencer whose Outfits Of The Day are obsessively followed by every budding fashionista with a blossoming social media addiction.


Then there’s Lebo, who has only ever known a life of fame – real fame – as the former child prodigy behind TV phenomenon Sedi Star. Everyone grew up watching her every move, but now, as she’s grown up, the work, roles and offers have evaporated. But her penchant for scandal, controversy and social media squabbles have kept her in the headlines.


And finally there’s South Africa’s reigning Queen of Gossip: Mbali. The entertainment site she runs with an iron fist is known for breaking the hottest news – and the odd celebrity career. With the Hashtag Hustle threatening her media empire, how will she continue to keep her readers enthralled?

As Lin, Lebo and Mbali jostle to take their places in the fame hierarchy, their ambitions, aspirations and agendas collide. Their wins and woes not only affect one another, but can mean that they either individually rise or collectively crumble. Will Lin’s past threaten her future? Will Lebo’s (self-)sabotage prevent her return to the top? Will Mbali’s reign as the Queen of Gossip continue – or reach a dead end? The choices they make can balance or break their entire ecosystem.

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